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Local Sports

Column: New rules are taking the fun out of football

When it comes to how you act in athletic competition, I am old school.

I dislike a lot of showboating. I think you can go overboard with how you celebrate.

Maybe I would be considered to be against fun. I can deal with that.

When I watched Akrum Wadley get flagged for “excessive celebration” against North Texas last weekend, I expected to see some kind of replay that shows Wadley showing up his competition.

There was no such video. There was no showing up of anyone.

Wadley took a few high steps into the end zone. He didn’t look back at his opponent like Saquon Barkley did to the Iowa defense last year. Wadley has done that a few times in his career. Saturday was first time he was flagged. He even told reporters Tuesday that he’s never even been warned by an official.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said it has become a point of emphasis this year for the officials. And he’s right about Wadley being too good to have to do that kind of stuff.

But why is something so harmless so wrong?

If you do something great and then boast in the face of your competition, you should get flagged.

The penalty against Wadley is essentially taking the fun out of football.

The National Football League hasn’t done well in the public relations department lately, but it even loosened the reins on celebration penalties. They don’t let players use props, but they allow them to have a little fun.

It’s just better for the game.

Another hot topic this week involves ticket sales and sold out stadiums.

Iowa still hasn’t sold out its night game with Penn State this weekend.

Should it be? Probably. But I get it. There are a lot factors that are making fans think twice about spending all day inside or around athletic stadiums.

This particular game may be puzzling to some. I know both teams are undefeated and that Penn State is ranked fifth. But the in-home experience is growing by the day. And the $95 ticket price is not affordable for everyone.

I haven’t verified this yet, but I read on social media Wednesday that Iowa City hotels were making patrons pay for two nights this weekend if they decided to spend the night and not make the drive home at midnight.

If that’s the case, a family of four is looking at $400 for tickets, $200 for two nights in a hotel room and food and drinks for the day. Add in the cost for gas to get there and it’s a quite expensive activity.

I have seen several games at Kinnick, both as a fan in the stands or as a photographer on the sidelines. The experience is great.

But I also wouldn’t be able to justify spending $700 for one day in Iowa City if I had to pay for all those things I mentioned.

I don’t know what the real reason for fans not wanting to be in the stadium Saturday night is. I am sure there are different reasons for each fan.

I do know that I won’t ever bash on a fan base for not selling out a stadium for every game.

Iowa State has sold out a lot of games in recent years, but the Cyclones also don’t have to get to 70,000 to sell out Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa will have at least 66,000 fans in attendance this weekend. Iowa State can’t get that much into its stadium so that argument is not valid.

If you go to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, I hope you have a blast, cheer loud and the Hawks win. If you don’t, I won’t think you’re less of a fan.

Contact Troy Hyde

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