Josh Kendall

SEC coaches behaving badly will get quick 15-yard flag now

A “heightened” emphasis on the rule barring college football coaches from coming onto the field to dispute an official’s call could have a major impact on the Southeastern Conference this year.

Any coach who steps past the white paint on the sideline to dispute a call will automatically be flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the league’s officials won’t be playing any favorites, Steve Shaw, the SEC’s coordinator of football officials, said Thursday at the SEC’s spring meetings.

“If a celebrity coach comes out, and we don’t flag him, it all falls apart,” Shaw said. “Some coaches may need a personal ‘get back coach.’ ”

The head coaches in the SEC “wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t intense guys,” but that won’t be an excuse for violating the rule any longer, Shaw said.

“We had a lot of discussion with our coaches, but they get it,” Shaw said.

Two unsportsmanlike flags will get a coach ejected from the game.

“My hopes is this changes the behavior,” Shaw said.