Along with FCS teams pwning FBS squads at an unprecedented rate, the new penalties for targeting were among the most hotly debated topics of conversation this first weekend of the 2013 season.
At least six players, including Texas A&M’s Deshazor Everett and Oregon’s Terrance Mitchell, were flagged for targeting, with five missing the remainder of their respective games due to the new, stricter penalties. Three of those, because the penalty occurred in the second half, were to be suspended for the first half of their respective school’s next game. Of those three, though, one has seen that stiff penalty nullified due to a technicality.
The Pac-12 announced Monday night that Cal’s Chris McCain will be permitted to play “during the entirety” of Saturday’s game against Portland State. McCain had been penalized for roughing the passer in the second half of the opener with Northwestern.
The defensive lineman was reinstated, though, due to what the conference described as “a failure in the replay process.” Per the new targeting rules, all plays flagged as such are to be reviewed by the replay official; that did not occur, triggering an exception that will allow McCain to play against the FCS foe.
The Pac-12 explained the breakdown thusly:
However, because of a technical failure and resulting breakdown in communication, the play in question was not actually reviewed after the replay official was made aware that McCain had been ejected for Targeting. Because the Targeting penalty was not reviewed at the time, the Pac-12 Conference has reviewed the play and determined that McCain should have been reinstated into the game. The review confirmed that the Roughing the Passer penalty was properly enforced.
Under NCAA Rules, ejections for Targeting that are confirmed by replay are not reviewable by the Conference or NCAA. However, this circumstance provided a very narrow exception because the ejection was not actually confirmed by replay. The Pac-12 has been in communication with the National Coordinator of Officiating and both parties are in agreement that under this limited exception, the Conference should reinstate McCain.
The Pac-12 noted in its release that the replay crew working the Cal-Northwestern game has been disciplined.
“Kudos to those guys for recognizing their was a mistake and correcting it,” Cal head coach Sonny Dykes said Monday. “ There’s a lot of conference offices that wouldn’t have had a enough guts to do what they did. So I applaud the Pac-12.”