… then it must be time for the NCAA to revisit the targeting rule.
College football targeting penalties may become more lenient through a proposed rule change that could result in fewer player ejections.
As targeting ejections have doubled over three years, the NCAA Football Rules Committee is looking at changing the replay standards so a targeting ejection only occurs if the penalty is confirmed. Currently, if replay doesn’t have enough evidence to confirm targeting but can’t rule it’s not targeting, the call on the field stands and the player gets ejected.
NCAA associate director Ty Halpin, the liaison for the rules committee, said ejecting a player is “a pretty expensive deal” if targeting isn’t certain. Halpin said the “vast majority” of targeting flags thrown on the field should be confirmed, but there’s a fairness issue to consider for players.
“We still want to the official to throw the flag there,” Halpin said. “But if replay says there’s a little bit of contact on the shoulder and it’s more because the player adjusted and it wasn’t a dangerous attempt by the player delivering the contact, then maybe that player deserves to stay in the game. It’s a reasonable thing to go with.”
Whatever, man. Just don’t pretend you won’t be doing more soul searching a year from now, no matter how you tweak things.
Of course, if you’re talking about changing penalty rules, you’ve got to bring our old friend Rogers Redding into the discussion. He’s certainly on top of things.
National officiating coordinator Rogers Redding said he is not alarmed by more targeting penalties. He attributed the rise to officials becoming more comfortable making the call, a less narrow definition of targeting, and new players coming in each year who aren’t accustomed to the penalty.
This is fine, in other words. And why shouldn’t it be?
The SEC had the most targeting ejections overall (26) and per game (0.27) and the fewest calls overturned among the Power Five. “I personally think it’s changing player behavior,” SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw said.
The American Athletic Conference, which will use collaborative replay for the first time in 2017, had the fewest targeting penalties per game (0.1). The AAC was the only conference with more targeting calls overturned by replay than upheld.
Why is there such a discrepancy by conference in targeting penalties?
“I’ve thought about this a lot,” Redding said. “We do see different styles of play in different conferences. Some are more wide open than others. I think in conferences that are dominated by teams that run wide-open spread, faster-pace offense, you’re more likely to see more plays run in a game. If there’s more plays run, there’s more opportunities for fouls. That may be one thing. We haven’t analyzed it carefully.”
Shit, why should you? It’s only your job.
Of course, given that it’s Redding saying that, you know there’s a punchline, and Jon Solomon delivers it.
That theory doesn’t appear to hold up. Offenses in the Big 12 and the AAC ran the most plays per game in 2016, yet those leagues finished in the bottom three with the Mountain West for targeting penalties per game.
Maybe the problem isn’t the rules, but the morons paid to enforce them. Just sayin’, NCAA.