"Minding my business riding on the bus back to Clemson and got flagged for a sideline infraction."
Chandler Catanzaro's humorous day-after tweet raises the question: what is a 'sideline infraction' anyway?
The Clemson bench was flagged twice for the violation Friday night by the Orange Bowl's crew of officials from the American (former Big East) Conference, costing the Tigers 10 hard-earned yards and evoking widespread bewilderment.
The answer is found in the NCAA college football rulebook, Rule 9-1-6, which, in 2008, changed the 'sideline warning' into a 'sideline interference' foul.
The rule says:
"While the ball is in play, coaches, substitutes and authorized attendants in the team area may not be between the sideline and coaching line or on the field of play."
The penalty - basically a ban on coaches and non-participating players coming onto the field of play - is administered as a dead-ball foul. The first and second infractions draw a penalty of 'delay of game for sideline interference, five yards from the succeeding spot.'
Subsequent violations draw a 15-yard penalty for 'unsportsmanlike conduct for sideline interference.'
Prior to the implementation of the rule, coaches got two free sideline warnings.
The rule went into effect as part of a set of revisions that also included the horsecollar tackle rule, the elimination of the five-yard unintentional facemask foul, the redefinition of chop blocks, and the so-called Belichick Rule prohibiting the audio or video recording of an opponent's signals.
So now you know.