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SEC to NCAA: Would you please consider altering the targeting rules?

Georgia v Vanderbilt Getty Images

When the SEC wants something to be changed in the college football landscape, the odds are pretty good changes will be made. After witnessing just how controversial the new targeting rules have impacted the game this season, the SEC is ready to ask the NCAA to take a hard look at how the targeting rules are executed and enforced.

Steve Shaw, coordinator of officials for the SEC, said the league plans to bring the issue to the NCAA’s rules committee in the offseason. The hope of the conference is t have the 15-yard penalty taken back if an ejection is overturned. As it stands now, players are automatically ejected once flagged for targeting and his team is penalized 15 yards. A video review can overturn the player’s ejection but even if it does the team remains penalized 15 yards. The SEC wants those yards to be taken back as well, which makes perfect sense. Why penalize a team for a foul that has been wiped off the board?

“Even our commissioner has serious reservations about the penalty philosophy around targeting fouls when they’re overturned,” Shaw said on the SEC teleconference referring to Mike Slive, according to Athens Banner-Herald. “He and I have talked. He’s challenged me, and together we’re going to work with the rules committee to revisit the penalty if a disqualification is overturned for targeting.”

Slive is not alone of course. Every time there is a targeting penalty in any college football game, social media ignites. It then blows up once a review upholds a poorly called penalty, such as the one that ejected Georgia defensive lineman Ray Drew this past weekend against Vanderbilt.

Odds are the SEC is not the only conference with leadership questioning the targeting rules. There was certainly inconsistent views on the rules during the preseason media days, so it should come as no surprise we are in the situation we are right now. What the game needs is some uniformity in addressing and enforcing the rule, but eliminating the penalty yards when it is determined a player did not commit a penalty seems like a simple fix.

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22 Responses to “SEC to NCAA: Would you please consider altering the targeting rules?”
  1. houndofthebaskervols says: Oct 23, 2013 6:05 PM

    These rules are ridiculous, and even worse the talking heads referring to these players like they are criminals!

  2. ravensfan8780 says: Oct 23, 2013 6:16 PM

    It will get changed when it effects the National Championship game

  3. idolized1 says: Oct 23, 2013 6:40 PM

    For the sake of the game, I really hope they change them.

    You can only “evolve” Football so much before it quits being Football.

    At some point you just have to let the guys play.

  4. rolltide510 says: Oct 23, 2013 6:54 PM

    A lot of officials (and fans) don’t seem to understand that every time two football helmets touch its not targeting. You can easily lead with your shoulder and end up with incidental helmet to helmet contact.

    They should educate refs on this by making them watch film of Brandon Meriweather. That should clear things up.

  5. thegamecocker says: Oct 23, 2013 6:55 PM

    It takes the intimidation factor OUT of the sport. It’s a rediculous rule that has adversely impacted the game. The sport is physical to begin with so if you keep this rule and take away the physicality, go all the way to bright and just play “FLAG FOOTBALL”!

  6. Deb says: Oct 23, 2013 7:28 PM

    This insanity is petering down from the NFL where you have a corporate guy–Goodell–making decisions based on corporate reasoning:

    1. Let’s protect ourselves from lawsuits.
    2. Let’s protect our public image–even if the measures we take to protect our public image don’t actually improve player safety.
    3. Let’s neuter defenses to ensure higher scoring, which brings in more Fantasy players and casual fans that don’t understand the game but will increase overall viewership, thus driving up advertising and merchandising revenues.

    If you’re going to change the rules, conduct some studies showing the changes actually reduce the number and severity of head injuries. Otherwise, you are screwing up the game for no reason. As others have said, it is impossible to play TACKLE FOOTBALL without making contact.

  7. imaduffer says: Oct 23, 2013 7:31 PM

    I mean really who cares. There are plenty of extra football players standing on the sideline with their finger in their nose or they are scratching their ass.

  8. normtide says: Oct 23, 2013 7:56 PM

    I always thought the rule was wrong. Not the ejection part, if it is clearly targeting. Love that they review it. But, not taking away the penalty yards if it is over turned is ridiculous. Targeting is really hard to call on the field, the game is so fast. Maybe it should be a suspension handed by the leagues, after reviewing plays during the week.

    Deb, the NFL should learn from NASCAR. They changed who they are to cast a wider net, and it is clearly backfired. The fad following left after they alienated their core fan base. They also need to learn from the Arena League. Pure offense is not the type of football that lasts. But, what will hurt the NFL is the new practice restrictions. The play has gotten so sloppy.

  9. Deb says: Oct 23, 2013 8:55 PM

    @normtide …

    Oh, boy, do I agree. Goodell drives me up a wall. The guy is running a classic corporate playbook–and he’s good at it. The league is making a lot of money. But they’re just neutering the sport, not improving player safety. So they’re making the NFL harder to distinguish from Arena ball and CFL … and ultimately soccer … without giving parents more incentive to let their kids play. Eventually, this will backfire. Maybe not in the next 20 years, but eventually.

  10. thraiderskin says: Oct 23, 2013 10:18 PM

    I’m not a fan of the “evolution” of the rules, but the NFL has little choice. This is the result of unmitigated litigation. We are a society of “finger pointers” and “get rich” punishments. This is what we will have to deal with for the foreseeable future and I don’t blame the NFL one bit for this reaction, they’re just doing what society deems appropriate.

  11. greggatx says: Oct 23, 2013 11:05 PM

    The NCAA always bows to the sec. So the rule is probably history.
    First the sec thought it was good. Now they don’t! Apparently it is interfering with the domination of college football.

    I personally think it’s a good rule to protect a defenseless player from possible life long injury. I don’t think every incident is purposeful.

  12. mogogo1 says: Oct 23, 2013 11:31 PM

    I’ve seen more than one where the helmet wasn’t even touched, including one this past weekend where the ejection was upheld despite the replay clearly showing a text book shoulder pad to chest hit. Won’t it be fun when the national title game gets decided by a clean tackle resulting in a non-reviewable 15 yard penalty.

  13. greggatx says: Oct 24, 2013 1:03 AM

    It is not the rule that is the controversy, it is the refs. Players need to be protected from serious injuries. There is more to life than football.

  14. pricecube says: Oct 24, 2013 1:11 AM


  15. globeflyer says: Oct 24, 2013 8:28 AM

    If the 15-yard penalty is not removed (after the ejection is deemed incorrect), then you will see massive protests from teams and fans. It’s a joke. (Well, maybe not MASSIVE, but you get my point!)

  16. tgaustin says: Oct 24, 2013 10:20 AM

    Curious to what the responses would be if this was the Big XII making this statement?? “Stupid Texas and DeLoss running the conference as always”!

    Problem is, kids can’t tackle anymore. Plain and simple…seen it too much with this Longhorn team over the past few seasons. Prob. best for the $EC to just shut up on this one…and the players should realize that once/if they make the jump to the NFL, they won’t have to worry about the ejection but the loss of $$ instead.

    It is what it is for all conferences…learn how to tackle the right way and this will never be a problem. If you think your team lost a game because of a targeting call, then your team has much, much more bigger problems at hand.

  17. mogogo1 says: Oct 24, 2013 11:05 AM

    greggatx says:

    It is not the rule that is the controversy, it is the refs.

    The rule itself is a huge part of the problem. It’s ridiculous that the 15-yard penalty isn’t waived when replay clearly shows there was no blow to the head. That’s basically the equivalent of having a review over whether the QB fumbled or was in the act of throwing, deciding it was an incomplete pass, but telling the offense it’ll still be 3rd and 25 because that’s where the non-fumble was recovered.

  18. longborer69 says: Oct 24, 2013 11:24 AM

    NCAA. Smart Decisions.

    These two things encounter each other only sporadically and accidentally.

  19. Deb says: Oct 24, 2013 11:54 AM

    @thraiderskin …

    For decades, the league raked in millions while paying players a pittance, shooting them up to get them on the field with no consideration for the risks of playing injured, lying to them about the dangers of head injuries, throwing them out of the game when they were no longer useful, and providing them NO post-career medical care or pensions. They used and abused athletes and for that they deserved to pay dearly.

    More recently, the league made little effort to research and incorporate better helmet and equipment designs that might mitigate long-term player injuries. The league capitalized on the violent nature of the game, marketing the most brutal hits in its advertising campaigns. The league even stopped contributing to research on spinal injuries.

    And then Congress started showing an interest in head injuries. Players started suing. The public started becoming concerned about the safety of the sport. Oops.

    Did Goodell start conducting genuine research to learn what modifications might make the game safer? NO. He started targeting “bad” players with big fines for hits that are often legal. He made a show of fixing a problem rather than actually addressing a problem. It’s all smoke and mirrors to pacify Congress and the public … and to keep the revenues flowing.

    I have no problem with making changes that make a difference. I don’t like people blowing smoke up my backside.

  20. normtide says: Oct 24, 2013 12:08 PM

    Everyone hates Goodell, but he is a front man. Hate your team owner, because he is party to the group actually calling the shots.

  21. Deb says: Oct 24, 2013 2:57 PM

    Aw, norm. I can’t hate the Rooneys! Don’t always agree with them, but for the most part, they’re good people! Least rich owners in the NFL :)

  22. clemsonstillsucks says: Oct 29, 2013 12:40 PM

    Anyone who has watched or participated in enough football knows when a hit is clean or malicious.

    I tend to agree that it is an officiating oriented issue, and how the ref squads interpret the targeting rule. I also agree that tackling is becoming a post art, and more and more of these kids are looking to make that “highlight reel” knockout hit for Sportscenter, as well as the pro scouts.

    There is a difference in making a statement “I wouldn’t do that again or there’s more where that came from” hit and trying to purposely injure another player, particularly if they’re defenseless.

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