Illinois football coach Tim Beckman apologized for using chewing tobacco during Saturday's game at the University of Wisconsin, a minor NCAA violation.
"That’s a bad habit of mine. I apologize for that," Beckman said. "I guess it’s the stress. But there is no excuse for that. It will be stopped."
In a video captured by ABC TV cameras and distributed by TheBigLead.com, Beckman reaches into a small cylinder and puts a not-so-little pinch between his cheek and gum.
Big deal, you say? It is to the NCAA, which has cracked down on the practice in recent years.
In fact, according to Rule 1, Section 4, Article 14, using tobacco products of any kind during a game is a dead-ball violation worthy of immediate disqualification.
Even though Beckman's tobacco use occurred before the opening kickoff, it still is subject to the rule. The NCAA's prohibition covers the span "from the time the officials assume jurisdiction until the referee declares the game over," with the starting point being the commencement of organized warmups.
According to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio State assistant coach Mike Vrabel was spotted using tobacco on the sidelines during the 2011 season by a Columbus-area health teacher, and the Buckeyes reported it as a secondary violation.
USA Today reported that in March, the NCAA reprimanded two football coaches and the athletic director at Shepherd University, a Division II program in Charleston, W. Va., for using smokeless tobacco during a playoff game against Delta State in December.
Asked if he expects to be fined by the Big Ten, Beckman said, "I have no idea to be honest with you but it shouldn’t have been done. I take full responsibility for a habit that I’ve (developed) and I apologize for that."
Here is the verbatim language from the NCAA regarding tobacco use.
NCAA 2012-13 Division I Manual:
11.1.5 use of tobacco Products. The use of tobacco products is prohibited by all game personnel (e.g., coaches, trainers, managers and game officials) in all sports during practice and competition. Uniform penalties (as determined by the applicable rules-making committees and sports committees with rules-making responsibilities) shall be established for such use. (Adopted: 1/11/94 effective 8/1/94, Revised: 1/10/95, 1/14/97 effective 8/1/97)
Football rules 2011-12
Rule 1, Section 4, Article 14: Players, squad members and game personnel (e.g., coaches, athletics trainers, managers and game officials) are prohibited from using tobacco products from the time the officials assume jurisdiction until the referee declares the game over.
PENALTY—Disqualification. On-the-field infractions are treated as deadball fouls with penalty enforcement at the succeeding spot [S47].