If it’s the offseason…

… 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.



Filed under The NCAA

13 responses to “If it’s the offseason…

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    How thin can they split a hair?


  2. Can they just get rid of the ejection and call unnecessary roughness? The 15-yard penalty and the automatic first down are penalty enough for the team. An unnecessary roughness penalty on the offense could be 15 yards from the spot and loss of down. It can’t be reviewed, and coaches on both sides of the ball would be motivated to teach good heads up football.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uglydawg

      Great suggestion ee. It’s just too logical to be considered. It would also speed up the game.


    • CB

      Agreed, and eject them for their second offense if one occurs, or perhaps they have to sit a half if they are called for 4-5 targeting penalties in a season. The ejections are ridiculous because often times targeting results from positioning that can’t be easily avoided. The ejections are just an example of the NCAA’s CYA attempt after neglecting to take head injuries seriously for decades. They’ll do whatever they think will avoid a lawsuit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Otto

    The Big12 also doesn’t play defense.


  4. Granthams replacement

    The rule needs to be changed so the ref call it correctly and the coaches/players can avoid illegal contact. The rule should be no contact with the crown of the helmet only the face mask. Defenders must attempt to tackle by wrapping their arms around the ballcarrier (vs tucking the arm). Leave in the no head/neck contact on a defenseless player part. By defining the type of specific contact it will be easier to teach and apply.


  5. Austin

    Any tackle where the player does not attempt to wrap up should be a targeting penalty. There that makes it easy, and it teaches players to actually tackle. Reduces injuries, teaches technique, and takes guessing out.


  6. The ejection portion was a mess and needed the correction.

    But then again the whole thing has been a mess.


  7. Penn Wagers

    You need me on that wall

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Huntindawg

    “Maybe the problem isn’t the rules, but the morons paid to enforce them. Just sayin’, NCAA.”

    There is an interesting question. The plays per game was actually a pretty good theory, until you actually looked at the stats. I don’t necessarily buy the theory that SEC refs are worse than the refs in all the other conferences. Maybe you can blow that up with actual information and evidence too.

    Another hypotheses might be that the typical SEC defensive back is bigger, way faster, and stronger than the typical DB from, for example, the ACC. Likewise with SEC wide receivers. So hits in the defensive backfield happen with a higher closing speed, less chance for adjustment by the DB just before the hit, and more chances for inadvertent helmet to helmet contact.


  9. Mayor

    Personally I think that if a game official throws a flag for targeting and replay shows that he was wrong and the call gets reversed HE should be ejected from the game.