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Pac-12 turning into a mini NFL: No Fun League

LUKE FALK will no longer be able to salute his deceased former coach and mentor on game days following a Pac-12 rules change that prohibits players from writing on wristbands or towels. And the guys who get elaborate with their eye black applications? Forget it. No more than a standard strip or there will be hell to pay.

Yes, in a league whose television revenue is quickly being left in the dust by other Power 5 conferences, the heavy hitters in management really know how to zero in on the pressing matters.

Chantel Jennings of interviewed the Pac-12's vice president of officiating, David Coleman, to learn what rules changes the conference's athletic directors and coaches have adopted in their meetings this week in Phoenix. And what she learned is that they're trying to be more like the NFL -- as in the No Fun League.

"Some people might remember how at certain schools the eye black was getting pretty dramatic over the past few seasons," Jennings writes. "That will no longer be the case. The rule -- which was introduced a few years ago and allows for just the eye black stripe or a small amount of eye-black paint on the cheeks -- is now going to be heavily enforced in the Pac-12 ... The ban on writing on gear will also extend to towels, tape, wristbands and the like."

So just to be clear on this: A conference that makes a fool of itself by messing up the satellite camp issue is more concerned about eye black use and whether Johnny writes heart you mom on a towel. To read Jennings' full story, which outlines four rules changes for 2016, click here.

For Washington State fans, the outlawing of words on wristbands may strike a chord. As wrote about in this story from last fall, star Cougar quarterback Luke Falk never goes into battle without BRAD etched in Magic Marker on his left wristband.

That's in honor of Brad Barton, Falk's basketball coach back in Utah who was "so full of energy, so brimming with inspiration and can-do attitude, his players would run through the proverbial wall for him."

Brad died at age 31 following a diabetic seizure.

"One of the greatest mentors Luke has ever had -- a life-influencing presence," Luke's mom, Analee, told CF.C last fall.

Added Mike Falk, Luke's dad, "Brad was a true builder. He loved building the confidence of his players. The guy had spirit -- and a work ethic that I see with Luke."

But apparently not enough spirit or work ethic for a room full of grumpy old men to actually focus on real issues -- like the ongoing national joke that is Pac-12 officiating.

"There was no real negative feedback (on officiating)," Coleman told Jennings.

OK then.

With everything perfect in the conference's land of whistles, I guess that means the bosses can afford to focus on minutia and fret over how creative Parker Henry and Robert Barber may get with a little face paint on Saturdays.


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