UCLA's Rick Neuheisel may not have USC's Pete Carroll on his side, but the kids are fine
Rick Neuheisel just pulled a Lane Kiffin.
The UCLA coach told boosters that he had proposed an amendment to Pac-10 rules so that his kids could join him on the sideline during football games, only to have it opposed by USC Coach Pete Carroll. Portions of his speech were released on UCLA's YouTube account.
But it turns out that Neuheisel's kids -- or anybody under the age of 18 -- can already be on the sideline provided they are performing a game-related task.
After telling the crowd that they would leave "ticked off at Pete Carroll, ticked off at all that is SC," Neuheisel described how Carroll was the lone dissenter in a 9-1 vote by the league's coaches. He apparently forgot to mention that the Pac-10 athletic directors immediately shot down the proposal, 8-2, with only UCLA and Arizona in favor of the change.
League officials were primarily concerned about increased liability, and also wary that a change might lead to efforts by administrators or even donors to try to get sideline passes for their children, too. As proposed, the new rule would have allowed any coach's child to get a pass. Such a change could have added as many as two dozen kids on some sidelines.
Remember what happened to Dusty Baker's son during the 2002 World Series?
Neuheisel spent much of his speech kidding about kids, but he did appear to misinterpret the existing rule. Pac-10 bylaws already provided for the exception he wanted, stating, "no person under the age of 18 shall be allowed on the sideline or in the team area during the game unless he or she is performing an assigned game-related task."
Anybody given a pass to work the sideline counts against the school's allotment. Last year schools were capped at 40, hypothetically forcing a choice between a coach's kid and a trainer. But the Pac-10 bumped the allotment to 60 for the upcoming season.
In other words, when you see a lanky kid with a mop of blond hair on the Bruins sideline next season filling water cups, carrying cords, or helping trainers ... yup, probably a Neuheisel. The only job specifically prohibited for those under 18 is serving as a ball boy. That front-line task is reserved for adults because of the dangers associated with being so close to the field.
UPDATE: Carroll told Times staff writer Gary Klein this afternoon, "I think it's a good rule. I like the way the rule is written. I see no reason to comment further."
-- Adam Rose