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WSU sports: let’s get specific

Rules can be funny.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Southern at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

So much to be excited about this week, Coug Fans. My football articles are coming to an end, and while that isn’t exciting persay, it’s given me an opportunity to become an expert in the many other sports Washington State University offers.

For a personal anecdote, I was raised mainly on football. I know that game rather well, and all the strange ins and outs around it. But there are still some things that puzzle me- there are things that puzzle me about many sports, actually. I have compiled a list of the weird fouls or rules in various sports and I would love to discuss them with you.

We’ll begin with football, naturally.

If a home jersey is worn without permission, that can constitute a loss of 15 yards. This is done to make sure no teams wear the same color to the same game. It makes sense to penalize a team for wearing the wrong color, but it’s not something that would occur to me. When two people came to prom wearing the same dress, no one took 15 yards from the second girl- she just got dirty looks for the rest of the night. That isn’t the practical response on the field and people get dirty looks anyway.

One cannot execute the “horse collar tackle” unless you want to lose 15 yards. I looked up videos of this tackle method and I understand why it’s not okay, but it did make me chuckle. Grabbing the back of a jersey at the neck seems dangerous, but when the knees would buckle it did remind me of my time playing soccer, and nothing was off the table in Co-Ed recreational games.

You are disqualified if you use tobacco. I like this rule! Smoking kills. Not sure how heavy this is enforced, but if you’re an athlete you might not want to light one up anyway. Coughing is distracting to everyone around you.


In 2006/2007, a rule was added that a player cannot call a timeout while airborn. What fascinates me most about this is that it was made into a rule in the first place. How many timeouts were issued while someone was dunking on someone else? Fascinating.

In 2011, the line for women’s 3-point arc was finally moved to match the men’s 3-point arc. That alone almost makes me forget about equal pay. Almost.

In 1976 the dunk was made legal again, and what a world we would live in without it. It was also permitted to do during warm ups in 2015. Nice.


When the pitcher tries to get sneaky and intentionally pull one over on the hitter or runner, it’s called a “Balk” and I had never heard that word before. And it is legal to fake a throw to second base. Crazy!

One suggested rule I found was to “keep game momentum” or “keep the game moving” which I found humorous because baseball is So Long. But fun! But So Long.

The color of the base of the bat must directly contrast the ball. Smart thinking.


I’ll say it, I love volleyball. I went to see my friend play in a tournament a few weeks ago and it was exhilarating. Volleyball players are so strong. That is an important fact.

First of all, there is no body, ball, or player position that is by definition illegal. It’s all up to outside factors.

You can’t touch the ball twice. Makes sense to keep things fair and not super easy, but it blows my mind that people can handle that kind of trust in others. I guess that’s what “teammate” means.

If the ball rips through the net, they call the whole thing and fix it, and start the rally over. It’s important to factor those things in.

If the ball hits the net so hard that it hits another player, or causes the antenna to hit a player, no foul is administered. Not sure why people don’t take evil advantage of that! My goodness.


If one team goes for a corner kick, and the ball bounces off the goal post and the same player kicks it in, it doesn’t count as a goal.

Substitutions during the final five minutes of the second period stop the clock.

Not a rule but the NCAA Soccer handbook cites an example of a distraction as “a dog” and I thought that was amusing.

So there you have it- some weird rules! Now we’re all experts and ready for other seasons of sports to come and go.


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