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.