Two cheers for the NCAA. First, they have outlawed eye black messages or symbols in college football starting next fall.

The change says players are “not allowed to have any symbols or messages on their eye black….”

While this outlaws all such actions, the change is primarily the result of former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s predilection to paint references to the biblical Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians in white ink on his eye black.

Some are saying the big, bad NCAA is prohibiting players from saying “Hi Mom” in the eye black. Yes they are, and they must.

To be constitutionally correct, all such messages have to be eliminated so the NCAA cannot be charged with free speech discrimination.

Moms can blame Tebow for not getting their due.

The NCAA acted none too soon.

Despite some political attempts to pretend separation of church and state hasn’t been part of this country’s history from day one, this whole “God is on my side” display on the fields of sports is obnoxious.

Coaches and school presidents should have put an end to this long ago. They didn’t do so individually, so the NCAA has done so collectively.

The second cheer is for a new ruling, effective in 2011, that says when any player “makes a taunting gesture to an opponent on the way to scoring a touchdown, the flag would nullify the score and penalize the offending team from the spot of the foul.”

Again, coaches and presidents should have ended the high-stepping, finger-pointing, football-spinning foolishness years ago. But hey, what coach or president is going to call in that star receiver and tell him he has to act with some decency on the field?

The NCAA action, by negating a score, hits the coaches right in the solar plexus. There is no better way to garner the attention of a coach, looking to justify his millions in salary or trying to get his first million, than by taking a TD away.

Coaches may not have cared about the taunting, and may even have fostered it, but when that TD stands to be lost, rest assured the players will have the old head coach down their throats early in spring practice.

The anti-taunting action is an attempt to bring some sort of sportsmanship back to the game.

That is no easy task in this day of foul-mouthed athletes on the field and “win at any cost” coaches, willing to overlook anything done by their star players.

The problem is not new, but exacerbated by the constant barrage of TV replays that feature all too often the very taunting now outlawed.

Good for the NCAA for acting and may they not wither in such surveillance.