This will be my last post on the subject of the targeting rule, but Steve Shaw has a valid point that’s worth noting. For all the focus on the linguistics that the SEC office did in its comment about the Drew penalty and that I’ve done in my posts about targeting, from the perspective of his guys, Shaw’s hit on the most significant wording in the rule.
Shaw said “whether I like it or not,” the rulebook states when in question, it’s a foul.
“We can’t guess,” he said. “We cant think it might have been. We’ve got to see it, know it’s a foul before we put the marker on the ground, but these things happen in a split second and so when in question, the book says put the marker on the ground.”
“Rule 9-1-4. No player shall target and initiate CONTACT TO THE HEAD OR NECK areas of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow OR SHOULDER. By rule, when in question, it is a foul.” [Emphasis added.]
“Also note that a replay official must have indisputable video evidence that there was no such contact to overturn the call on the field.”
The NCAA codified “when in doubt”. No wonder Shaw sounds frustrated. His crews aren’t supposed to exercise judgment because the NCAA wants the flags thrown. They just get the crap that follows from the inevitably questionable results.
If they’re really going to revisit the rule in the offseason, maybe that’s the language that needs to go.