Let’s just call this the “Lynn Bowden Rule”.
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a few different rule changes earlier on Tuesday that will take effect starting with the next college football season. Among those rule changes are allowing ejected players to remain on the sideline, a guideline that will help officials to finish video reviews in under two minutes, and giving officials jurisdiction of games 90 minutes before kickoff as opposed to 60 minutes.
That last point is the one we want to focus on. As you might recall, Bowden threw – and landed – a punch at a defensive back from Virginia Tech before kickoff of the 2019 Belk Bowl. Luckily for Bowden, the confrontation happened outside of the official’s 60-minute range of control. Had this new rule been implemented last season, Bowden would have likely been ejected, as the hit would have fallen in the 90-minute frame.
Here is what the NCAA said in its press release about the rule change:
Concerned about negative interactions between teams before officials are required to be on the field, the panel approved a rule that game officials’ jurisdiction of the contest begins 90 minutes before kickoff, instead of the current 60 minutes. Another part of the proposal calls for a coach to be on the field during pregame warmups when players are present, and all players are to be identified by number.
Bowden apologized for the hit, although the punch did add to the historic lore of the all-time Kentucky great. I don’t think there’s any denying that Bowden probably should have been tossed from the game, along with the others involved – he just got lucky with the rule, which seems to be why they’re changing it.
In the end, Bowden still gets the last laugh. Virginia Tech was poking the bear all week leading up to that game and he made them pay on the field. He ultimately didn’t get ejected, ran all over the Hokies (and even threw the ball a bit), got the win, and forced a rule change all in one game. He’s special for just so many reasons. This is one of the most impressive.