You may have heard that the SEC did pass one very sensible rule yesterday requiring the placement of a conference-selected observer in each press box watching for players who seem to have suffered head injuries. Andy Staples has some of the details:
“It will be someone that the conference puts there, not the institution,” Slive said. “It will give us another check if, on the field, a team doesn’t see that a player sustained a head injury.” Those observers, who will either be physicians or certified athletic trainers, will have open lines of communication to the teams’ sidelines. They’ll also have the ability to alert the officiating crew. If the player with the apparent head injury looks like he’s staying on the field for the next play, the observer can use the replay official’s equipment to alert the referee, who will then stop play until the player is taken off the field to be evaluated. Even if the player is OK, he must miss the next play or his coach must call timeout to get him back on the field.
None of the coaches objected. (Given the safety bullshit Saban and Bielema argued last year in proposing the 10-second substitution rule, it would have been hypocritical to the max for them to have uttered a peep about this now.) Some of that may have been due to Slive’s sales pitch.
It may be a sign of how critical this issue is to the future of the game that SEC coaches—the freakiest of control freaks—offered no resistance to the policy. “None of our coaches had a problem with that,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. It probably helped that when presenting the policy, SEC officials showed footage of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris taking a vicious shot to the head against Minnesota last season and staying in the game. Morris was in obvious distress, but he waved off help from the sideline. Later, then-Michigan coach Brady Hoke would say no one on the sideline or in the coaches’ booth realized Morris might have suffered a head injury.
Helluva legacy you’ve left, Brady.