Hey remember when Mike Pereira said that he was going to be making those "O" celebrations by Oregon Ducks fans illegal yesterday night? Just kidding, says the Pac-12 officiating coordinator! He revised his opinions in a Fox Sports column.
I reached this conclusion after talking with the Pac-12’s coordinator of officiating, Tony Corrente, and the NCAA’s national coordinator of officiating, Rogers Redding. Both told me that the Ducks’ "O" is legal. Plus, if the Ducks flashing the "O" sign were deemed to be illegal, then the same would have to be said for the University of Texas and many other teams with similar school salutes.
That being said, if the salute is directed at an opponent in a taunting gesture, it would be deemed to be a foul.
Pereira might just have been confused about the way things work in college football. In the NFL, no one should celebrate, ever. Self-expression is regularly denied and celebrations are pretty much taboo in the pro football world. However, most of the college celebrations are an extension of the school and the colors they play for, and the Oregon "O" is as emblematic as the hook of the Horns, the "go forward' motion of the Trojans, the chomp of the Gators, and so on.
It's likely that the encroachment on college football celebrations will continue though, as the NCAA governing body needs something they can regulate outside of boosters, shady recruiting practices, and their own playoff system.