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Big Ten’s stance on targeting? ‘When in doubt, throw him out’

New Big Ten Logo I

The NCAA made it known it was serious about reducing — or, attempting to reduce — head injuries when the Playing Rules Oversight Panel ruled in March that any player flagged for targeting a defenseless player would be automatically ejected from the game.

That rule will apply nationwide beginning this season, and the Big Ten conference is apparently taking it to heart. Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network attended a gathering for conference officials on Saturday and noted that the Big Ten’s front office is telling officials to always err on the side of calling the foul.

Targeting penalties will be subject to immediate video review as well as additional review on Mondays, but it seems the only way a player flagged for targeting can avoid ejection and/or suspension is if there’s conclusive video evidence to the contrary.

That could be tough to prove. The new Big Ten stance, as Dienhart reports, is “When in doubt, throw him out.

The decision to eject players for targeting applies to all leagues, the Big Ten just plans on going by an interpretation of the rule that has basically no wiggle room (Dienhart relays that fans should “get ready for ejections” this fall).

Targeting is a judgement call, and the speed of the game makes any judgement call difficult. Now that call carries stiffer consequences. In the Big Ten’s case, it also leans toward throwing the flag not necessarily because it’s the right call, but because the official feels it’s close enough to merit the penalty. To overturn it, the video crew needs to be 100 percent certain the call on the field was wrong.

Good luck with all that.

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14 Responses to “Big Ten’s stance on targeting? ‘When in doubt, throw him out’”
  1. clevelandschronic2 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:05 PM

    Well lets just all be thankful that the refs never make mistakes, lmao. Yeah i dont see no problem with this.

  2. Anoesis says: Jul 13, 2013 10:17 PM

    Isn’t that the modus operandi in MLB?

  3. mrlaloosh says: Jul 13, 2013 10:28 PM

    Be prepared for 5 hour football games.

  4. mtheparrothead says: Jul 13, 2013 11:27 PM

    Looks like no gambling on college football this year.

  5. polegojim says: Jul 14, 2013 8:28 AM

    I’m all for protecting player health… and against targeting… but seems like ‘The speed of the game’ has been forgotten.

    I believe they’ve gotten the appeal process backwards… should be suspension IF upon review, flagrant targeting is conclusive… right now, it’s guilty til proven innocent. Isn’t that backwards of just about every justice principle?

    Unless it’s totally flagrant, I’d hate to see a game decided by a questionable ejection.

  6. indywvu says: Jul 14, 2013 9:04 AM

    If players understood the fundamentals of the game and knew how to form tackle instead of headhunting, this wouldn’t be a problem.

    I’m not one that wants them to “sissyfy” the game, but I don’t want to see a player killed on the field.

  7. film381z says: Jul 14, 2013 12:24 PM

    TOTALLY FOOLISH! Don’t get me wrong, I definitely am on the side of the best safety but in football that is not possible because it would be either to NOT PLAY the game or wrapping each player in bubble wrap all around their body to protect them better… I realize and am not insensitive to the problems and the health/safety concerns for players and especially what we used to call “Spearing”, but with such fast action with huge sized players, today’s game is going to have some safety problems that will never be completely resolved and this is one because with all the speed and player size head hits are just going to happen… otherwise there would be no need for helmets at all… Accidents will happen…now when it comes to plain, outright aiming at the head I agree, throw the bum out of the game and even make him set out one or two more… No two ways about it but when it is a close call or there is a hit where one can see plainly that after the hitter is committed to where to hit, the ball carrier’s body changes and then there is a head hit, I say, that is a FOOTBALL PLAY…period…and in the case of ambiguity, then give the doubt to the hitter… Football is getting far to regulated and has far to many new rules that just are down right KNEEJERK reactions and common sense must prevail before the game is no longer a true football game… shoot, if there becomes to many more rules then we just as well should buy electronic games and play those instead.
    Again, I want the best safety for the players, hands down but I also want the game to prevail…
    The one rule tossed around that many think is stupid is go to a “SHOULDER TACKLE” ONLY… using FORM TACKLE TOTALLY and no more flying hits and piling on… Personally I think that would be best for all …

  8. film381z says: Jul 14, 2013 12:32 PM


    He only blows smoke to cloud how bad he is at his job

    Before he is out of his job here, he will have solidly set in the steps, and will have things aimed right at ruining college football overall. He already has started that by being the first to creating “super conferences) and making screwy bowl agreements and such…

    He cares NOTHING about tradition, which has been the basis of COLLEGE SPORTS and is make it now a lower level professional thing.

  9. irv835 says: Jul 14, 2013 1:17 PM

    So, now the block by skinny little WR Kenny Bell in the B1G Championships game, which was only flagged because it was such a great hit, would not only be needlessly flagged but would also result in an ejection.

    Quoting the announcers…
    That’s the best block we’ve seen this year!
    That’s football!
    I’m having troubles absorbing that one.

  10. amosalanzostagg says: Jul 14, 2013 4:35 PM

    So a one point game 21-20 Michigan Ohio State with less than a minute remaining and Ohio State fields a punt and returns it for a touchdown. But wait, a block
    like the one executed above not only negates the TD,
    but results in a ejection?

    Might as well put tu-tu’s on the players. It takes football out of football.

  11. okgeye says: Jul 14, 2013 6:47 PM

    We Americans love our American Football.

    American Football is a contact sport.
    American Football is a contact sport.
    American Football is a contact sport.

    Now we want our Blockers to hesitate their blocks? 2nd guess how they should block?

    Great..might as well make it Flag Football.

    We’re about to kill the ‘American’ in American Football.

    Might as well go try to embrace Soccer.

    Oh man…am I excited!!!

  12. beedubyatoo says: Jul 15, 2013 9:44 AM

    Sorry, Irv. The video clearly shows that the hit was head-to-head. The only hard hit by Nebraska defenders the entire game.

    If the call had not been made and the TD counted, the score at that time would have been 49-17. You know what the final score was so I’ll spare you that detail.

  13. dotbo says: Jul 15, 2013 7:27 PM

    The hit by Bell should not have been a penalty. The rule is against hit *above* the shoulders. Kenny Bell struck the opponent at shoulder level and below. It was not helmet to helmet. The guy ended up whiplashing his head, and hitting his head on the turf. Either of those impacts would explain the concussive effects he obviously suffered. It was a legal hit.

    There’s nothing much *above* the shoulders except the head and neck. Bell’s helmet doesn’t contact the opponent’s. It’s easy to see that in slow motion.

  14. irv835 says: Jul 15, 2013 7:28 PM

    Yep, Wisconsin won big. I’m not sure that’s what I commented on, though. Also, Bell was not a “defender.”

    Yep, the video showed their helmets touch each other…after Bell drilled the defender in the middle of his chest with his shoulder so dang hard that the defender’s helmet came forward and hit Bell’s helmet.

    That’s the best block we’ve seen this year!
    That’s football!
    I’m having troubles absorbing that one.

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