Coaches who come out on field to yell at official will now be penalized

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday July 11, 2017

A coach who goes out on to the field to argue a call will be immediately hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty this season. That is, if the officials follow through with their latest warning.

The behavior of coaches on the sideline has become a greater focus in recent years. Last year, a new rule stated two unsportsmanlike penalties would get a coach ejected. But it had never happened before and still hasn’t — and coaches are still screaming at officials.

So SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw admitted Monday that officials aren’t as tough on coaches as they should be, and they hope the new rule will help that.

The coaches, they’re the face of our game. They are iconic in our game. So officials probably haven’t done as good of a job as they should have done of keeping the sideline clear,” Shaw said. “We’ve had coaches come out on the field and protest. Somebody said to me, ‘You take a lot more from a coach than you ever would from a player. That’s very true.”

Shaw said this rule change drew more feedback from coaches than any other change this offseason. It’s a nationwide rule, not just the SEC.

Coaches have been informed and educated about it. Football is an intense game with intense people, and a lot rides on every play. But the officials hope to keep the top from flying off.

The goal is not to flag coaches. The goal is to change coaching behavior,” Shaw said. “If they stay in the white boundary, they’ll be given all the latitude they’ve gotten over the years.

“But if they come out on the field of play, then it’s going to be an unsportsmanlike conduct foul. This has the total support of the rules committee. It has the total support of the competition committee, and it’s a national component, and we’re going to adhere to it.”

Will an official really throw a flag the first time Nick Saban comes on the field to yell at him? We shall see. The job of the get-back coach will be even more important. 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to