College Football Coach Rankles Bettors with Point Spread Tweet After 4th Quarter Safety

Posted on: November 8, 2017, 05:48h. 

Last updated on: November 8, 2017, 11:22h.

Florida Atlantic University football coach Lane Kiffin said he was only joking when he tweeted about not covering the point spread in Friday’s game against Marshall, but the NCAA wasn’t laughing. Gambling is one subject that the governing body of college athletics doesn’t find funny.

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin
Florida Atlantic Coach Lane Kiffin got himself into a bit of trouble ny tweeting about the point spread after a recent game that his Owls didn’t cover. (Image: AP)

The 42-year-old coach, who is in his first year at the helm of FAU, is not facing any disciplinary action over his remark, but many people are saying he should.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the association was “aware of the tweet, but the school is in the best position to provide any comment.”

An official at Conference USA told ESPN that it would defer any disciplinary action to the university as well.

The FAU Owls were a 6 ½-point favorite and had a 30-23 lead over Marshall in the waning minute of the fourth quarter. They were backed up to near their own goal line, and with 14 seconds remaining Kiffin decided to concede a safety rather than risk a blocked punt and possible touchdown that could have tied the game.

After the 5-point victory, Kiffin tweeted: “Didn’t want to cover because of too much rat poison.”

Rat poison is a reference to Alabama coach Nick Saban, who used the term as a substitute for media praise, which he warns his players could prove harmful. The tweet also included a video of the play in question.

Quick Backpeddling

Soon after the post was visible on Twitter, some of the coaches nearly 270,000 followers voiced their displeasure.

“Not sure what was dumber taking the safety or actually tweeting this,” poker pro Jason Mercier tweeted.

Another follower accused the coach of an NCAA rules violation: “Wait Lane Kiffin just admitted he didn’t want to cover the spread. This is wrong on so many levels.”

Kiffin insisted that he tweeted in jest, and there was nothing more to it.

“I had no idea that safety changed the spread or who wins and who loses,” he said. “When someone sent me that, I thought it was pretty funny that people would think a coach would ever do that, so I retweeted it.”

Repeat Twitter Offender

Kiffin’s social media behavior has gotten him in trouble before. In late October he tweeted to the University of Louisville quarterback, suggesting he should transfer to FAU. When people began pointing out that such an attempt to recruit players is a violation of NCAA rules, Kiffen again pulled the “just kidding” card.

Neither of these tweets resulted in any sanction or censure from the university, and the longtime head coach (he previously led USC, Tennessee, and in the NFL’s Oakland Raiders) said he will continue to use his Twitter account as he sees fit.

“I’m not big on scaling back,” he said. “Someone sends something to me, I think about five seconds before I type something and resend it. It’s probably not good.”

Kiffin deleted the tweet to the Louisville quarterback. He did not delete the tweet about theoretically shaving points, and has since been retweeting articles about the hubbub.