You might remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the NCAA Football Rules Committee was pondering yet another tweak to the targeting rules. Just because I mocked the seemingly annual ritual of doing so doesn’t mean there wasn’t a certain logic behind the effort.
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.”
Then again, when has it ever been said of the NCAA that it does reasonable well? And, sure enough, the Rules Committee’s latest announcement omits any mention of changes to the targeting protocol.
Why so, you may ask, in the face of much chatter about why a modification would have been sensible? Tony Barnhart, whose water carrying for the powers be does have its occasional usefulness, is more than happy to tell you.
“There are two sides of this argument,” said Rogers Redding, the NCAA’s national officiating coordinator. “The coaches say don’t kick a kid out of the game if you don’t have video confirmation. But the commissioners can say that we’re backing away from away from a rule that has made the game safer.“The game is under such attack right now. It’s going to be an interesting decision. I think there might be a third argument that says we should just leave it alone and let it soak for another year.”
… Players, coaches and fans – all have an agenda. Players want to play, coaches want to coach them and fans want their team to have their best players on the field. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But the people who run college football – the commissioners and other stakeholders – have a different perspective. They must look out for what is good for the game. And limiting the ever-expanding liability issue is an important part of protecting the game.
Ah, the good of the game. The noblesse oblige of the Delanys and Sankeys never ceases to humble. Tell us more, Mr. CV.
I had a conversation with a commissioner several years ago about this subject. I pressed him on the targeting rule and why ejections needed to be a part of it. His response: “Someday I’m going to be sitting in a court of law and will be questioned by a plaintiff’s attorney. He’s going to ask me if I did everything I could to make the game as safe as it could possibly be. The answer to that question had damned well better be ‘yes.’ “
If this aspect of the targeting rule isn’t changed, that will be the reason.“For the commissioners, nothing right now is more important than player safety,” Shaw said. “If we’re going to err, we’re going to err on the side of player safety.”