The NCAA wants its coaches to be better behaved on benches this season. Unsportsmanlike action (i.e. cussing) will result in a technical without warning. The rule has always been in place, but it's been "interpreted in various ways" and this is supposed to streamline any decision making refs have to do.
Needless to say, it hasn't sat well with the game's more vocal coaches.
UConn's Jim Calhoun, one of the more colorful sideline coaches, told reporters at Big East media day "90 percent of what I say during a game is to my players."
Furthermore, he doesn't want the game to lose any of its spontaneity because coaches are concerned about how their actions may be interpreted.
(The NCAA also wants to cut down on excessively using gestures. Objectionable conduct is actually quite a long list, according to the NCAA: Disrespectfully addressing an official; attempting to influence an official's decision; using profanity or language that is abusive, vulgar or obscene; taunting or baiting an opponent; objecting to an official's decision by rising from the bench or excessively using gestures that either demonstrate officiating signals or displeasure with officiating; inciting undesirable crowd reactions; and entering the playing court unless done with permission of an official to attend to an injured player. It's important to note that a coach could always receive a "T" for this stuff, but there's going to be less tolerance for it from now on.)
Bob Huggins and Tom Crean also voiced their concerns, and Cincinnati's Mick Cronin said his assistant coaches would be busy grabbing him to prevent any technicals.
Crean says one of the "great things about this league is the personality of the coaches." That isn't limited to the Big East, either. The ACC has two of the most animated coaches (to put it mildly) in Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Maryland's Gary Williams and the Big Ten's Tom Izzo and Indiana's Kelvin Sampson can both be seen stalking the sideline.
And of course, there's Bob Knight.
Krzyzewski says the rule is probably overblown because most coaches don't go crazy on the sideline. Williams wants to know why it'll be enforced this season when "there was no outcry last year that coaches were out of control."
All of which are valid points.
As fewer and fewer college basketball stars stay in college for three or four seasons, the game is dominated by its high-profile coaches more than ever before. Putting limits on those coaches -- whether it's limiting what they can say or how they interact with their players on the court -- can hurt the game because it's dictating how one directs and instructs its team during the game.
After all, not every coach is the same. For every mild-mannered coach who doesn't routinely use four-letter words, there is one who does. And it's wrong to dictate how that coach goes about coaching his team.
Instead, the rule puts an emphasis on referees. And as any NBA fan can tell you, it's always a bad sign when the refs become a focal point of the game or determine the outcome (poor officiating is bad enough without having to police the sideline.)
For more, check out ESPN's Jay Bilas' blog on the subject, which goes over the rule in more detail.
And if you want to read the perfect lede on bench decorum, read this editorial from the Iowa State Daily. We've all been there, Andy. &*%$^!# hackers!