Players who target defenseless opponents could find themselves out of the game.
NCAA Football Rules Committee, which met this week, unanimously voted to increase the on-field penalty for players who target other players. Not only will the play incur a 15-yard penalty, it will also result in the automatic ejection of the offending player.
“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, chair of the committee, said. “We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport.”
The panel will meet on March 6 to review the proposal.
According to the new rule, if the penalty happens in the first half of the game, the player is ejected. If it happens in the second half or overtime, the player is ejected and must sit out the first half of the next game.
But the rule for targeting is not absolute and the Committee realizes mistakes can be made. That’s why all ejections per this rule are reviewable via video replay. However, there must be conclusive evidence for the player not to be ejected.
This is just another attempt to make the college game safer. We saw a lot of dangerous hits last season (such as the one above that resulted in a suspension by the SEC) that could have resulted in serious injuries. If the new harsher punishments can prevent players from carelessly targeting opponents, then fans of the game should be all for it.