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Titans Wide of the Mark; NCAA to Look Other Way?

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It won’t spark a full-scale investigation, but Cal State Fullerton will play today’s game against Cal State Northridge in violation of an NCAA rule.

The infraction? Wide goal posts.

A rule that went into effect this season narrowed college goal posts from 23 feet 4 inches to 18-6, the NFL width. But Santa Ana Stadium, the Titans’ home field until their on-campus stadium is completed this winter, also is used for high school and community college games, which require the wider goal posts.

Fullerton wasn’t able to arrange with the City of Santa Ana to have new goal posts erected in Santa Ana Stadium, according to Steve DiTolla, Titan senior associate athletic director.

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“We’re caught between a rock and a hard place,” DiTolla said. “The city doesn’t want us to install the goal posts--they don’t want us to bring heavy equipment onto the field, and it might take a few hours to put the posts up. But the NCAA doesn’t want us to break the rules.”

Any switch also would have been difficult to complete in time for Rancho Santiago’s 7 p.m. game against San Diego Mesa, which follows Fullerton’s 1 p.m. game.

DiTolla said the school will report the violation to the NCAA. If there is a penalty, it would probably be minor.

David Berst, director of enforcement for the NCAA, said it would consider the circumstances before it levied any punishment.

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“It doesn’t sound like it’s in the same category as buying a kid a Trans Am, but it is a playing rule that has to be adhered to,” Berst said. “We’ll consider (the violation) in the context of what’s going on.”

Though Titan kicker Phil Nevin might object, DiTolla said he hopes to have the matter resolved by the Titans’ next home game, a Big West Conference game Oct. 12 against Nevada Las Vegas.

“We’re not the stadium’s primary tenant, and the city is not real pleased about this,” DiTolla said. “But we hope to work with them in an effort to comply with this strict NCAA rule.”


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