This much we know. No Kent Austin on the sidelines for the Stampeders game in Hamilton. The volatile TiCats boss will make his presence known from the spotters’ booth at Tim Horton’s Stadium.
The Canadian Football League penalty levied on Austin is somewhat confusing. But the confusion is not in the league office. The confusion is in the initial penalty levied. Austin was assessed an objectionable conduct penalty and ten yards was tacked on.
However, immediately below that section of the rule book, is the relavent section. That states that “…..physical abuse of an official in any manner whatsoever….”, shall result in a twenty-five yard penalty and disqualification of the offending party.
By assessing the least serious penalty possible, the game officials painted the CFL into a tough corner. If the on-field official, at the time of incident, assessed a ten-yard penalty, it is difficult for the league to go back in and levy another penalty.
The Ticats should have been assessed a 25-yard penalty and Austin should have been tossed. That’s not my opinion. That’s in the rulebook.
This exact scenario played out in 1999, when then-Stampede boss Wally Buono made contact with an official. The te am was assessed a twenty-five yard penalty and Buono was given the privilege of watching the game from outside the team dressing room. The team was also subsequently fined.
The Ticats/Austin suspension is being heralded as ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘precedent-setting’.
Actually it is neither. It represents a huge break for the TiCats who have their coach, in some capacity for two games. Austin should have been suspended for this game, and not allowed on-premises an hour before kickoff and an hour post-kickoff. Instead, he is upstars to direct his club allows him to keep his hand on the team.
And maybe this keep him from having another embarrassing sideline blow up.