Ole Miss beat writer Parrish Alford explores the legacy of consistency Mike Slive has left SEC officials on enforcement of the new targeting rules. He, like me, is puzzled by Slive’s response to two plays from last season:
Elston’s hit fell within a range of gray area that allowed for his suspension as the league enforced its policy. The initial contact was below the helmet, and Elston’s momentum carried him higher into the hit.
If the rule of thumb is “When in doubt penalize and eject” it would seem that we can expect an increase in the number of ejections.
Safety is the top priority. It’s easy to talk about safety and more difficult to achieve it in a naturally aggressive sport whose participants are from the beginning of tackle football praise for inflicting pain and punishment.
The quest for safety needs to include equal application of the rules.
There was enough in Elston’s hit for debate. There should have been no debate about Dial’s hit, and nothing happened.
I questioned Slive’s decision to suspend Elston. But once he went there – “the result of a flagrant and dangerous act” – he left himself open to exactly the kind of skepticism he received after he did nothing about Dial. And now he’s dumping the problem on officials who will have to react in the heat of the moment?
I don’t see this ending well.