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Wazzu safety suspended half-game for late hit

Washington State BYU Football AP

Earlier today, the SEC announced it was suspending Ole Miss defensive back Trae Elston for this Saturday’s game against Texas for a “flagrant and dangerous act” for what the conference claimed was targeting the head area of a defenseless UTEP player.

This afternoon, the Pac-12 issued a similar punishment for Washington State’s Deone Bucannon. The safety will be suspended for the first half of Wazzu’s game at UNLV on Friday for a late hit on Eastern Washington receiver Greg Herd during Week 2.

Here’s the statement from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:

“While Mr. Bucannon was penalized on the field, I have deemed it necessary to add a half-game suspension,” said Scott. “This disciplinary action was part of our weekly review of all targeting and unnecessary roughness hits.” 

“In order to appropriately protect our student-athletes, it is imperative that we monitor and when needed, act in situations where a blow to the head of a defenseless player was flagrant and/or unwarranted, especially in situations where the hit occurred well after the play was over” added Scott. 

When there is a foul called for initiating contact on the head/neck area of a defenseless opponent that does not result in a player disqualification, NCAA Football Rules specifically call for a video review by the Conference office for possible additional sanctions before the next scheduled game.

Unlike Elston’s hit, Bucannon was flagged. You can view the collision HERE as well as what Bucannon had to say about it, both courtesy of

“My momentum was going that way and he was right there,” Bucannon said. “I wasn’t sure if he caught the ball or not. I tried to pull up a little bit, but I ended up hitting him high.”

“That’s still my fault and I should be more focused on the field and I should abide by the rules.”

If we’re going with personal opinion, this suspension seems more merited than the one Elston received from the SEC. I get that the game moves fast, but not only did Bucannon target Herd up high, he did so when it was clear that Herd would not be pulling in an overthrown pass. Herd even slowed up a bit and it certainly didn’t look like Bucannon responded in kind. If anything, he did the opposite.

Intentional or not, you can’t have that kind of hit. Not when more emphasis is placed on player safety the way that it is. The Pac-12 made the right call here.

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4 Responses to “Wazzu safety suspended half-game for late hit”
  1. southernpatriots says: Sep 11, 2012 10:07 PM

    “Intentional or not, you can’t have that kind of hit. Not when more emphasis is placed on player safety the way that it is. The Pac-12 made the right call here.” Well said, JT! Deone Buccanon acknowledged responsibility for what he did.

    The more I have considered Trae Elston’s hit on the UTEP player, I do not see the intent, nor the violation, however I do believe I understand the motivation of Slive. Maybe, just maybe, Slive is sending a message to defensive backs and others that such hits may look impressive to the fans, but will not be tolerated within the rules, even if the play is not penalized by the referees on the field of play.

    Just a reminder to all: The family of Devon Walker requests continuing prayer for Devon. Latest report: Devon is in good spirits and humor, went through a 3 hour surgery and is able to make slight movements in his shoulders.

    We all have seen hits from time to time that make us cringe and wince. Some of these hits could easily inflict injury which may cause a player to lose a year or be affected the rest of his life. Erring on that side of caution needs to be understood by all true fans of the game. True fans do not want to see any player injured. We join together forgetting rivalries and loyalties when a player is injured.

  2. olympiacham says: Sep 12, 2012 1:14 AM

    Absolutely too short for the suspension on the Wazzu player.

  3. afirst916 says: Sep 12, 2012 2:05 AM

    First off – It’s about time kids started getting suspended for these hits, it happens more often than people notice.

    That being said, the NCAA needs to hand down suspensions to make sure that they are consistent. The hit that got the Ole Miss player suspended for 1 game was NOTHING compared to this. This looked like it was out of malice. Nonetheless I commend conferences for taking steps to stop shit like this.

  4. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Sep 12, 2012 11:34 AM

    Now I understand why both the SEC and PAC -12 commissioners leveled the suspension on late hits or illegal hits or hits perceived illegal…, they are covering their asses!!! After what had happened to Devon Walker over the weekend, God Bless him and his family and quick recovery.
    Just like Goddelle in the NFL when concussion lawsuits springing up everywhere, did Goddelle made a PR move and made New Orleans Saints as the sacrificial lamb.

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