Targeting targeting

The NCAA is literally proposing to double down on the current targeting rule.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee met this week in Indianapolis and recommended two adjustments to its targeting rules to strengthen one of the most important calls of the game.

The committee, chaired by Stanford coach David Shaw, proposed a progressive penalty for those student-athletes who receive a second targeting foul in the same season. In addition to being disqualified from that game, the player would be suspended for the team’s next contest.

The second adjustment to the targeting rule deals with the instant replay review. Instant replay officials will be directed to examine all aspects of the play and confirm the foul when all elements of targeting are present. If any element of targeting cannot be confirmed, then the replay official will overturn the targeting foul. There will not be an option for letting the call on the field stand during a targeting review.

“The targeting rule has been effective in changing player behavior,” said Steve Shaw, NCAA secretary-rules editor. “The progressive penalty is to ensure that a player re-evaluates his technique, with coaching staff support, after he receives a targeting foul. Additionally, the instant replay review changes will ensure that when a player is disqualified, it is clearly warranted.”  [Emphasis added.]

I’ve got no problem with that if you’ve got a kid out there head hunting, but upping the ante when the hit’s inadvertent seems a tad harsh.  I’m not sure if the purpose of the instant replay review is to discern intent in order to ameliorate that, but if so, good luck with reading kids’ minds on the field all the way from the replay booth.


Filed under The NCAA

14 responses to “Targeting targeting

  1. paul

    “There will not be an option for letting the call on the field stand during a targeting review.” So this means that if the replay officials can’t get a good shot of the foul, the call on the field is overturned. You can’t let a call stand if you cannot conclusively confirm it. Even in high profile games with lots of cameras it is sometimes difficult to see precisely what happened. So, in lower tier games where there are maybe four or five cameras there won’t be any targeting calls other than the most egregious. The law of unintended consequences. Or maybe not.


  2. 209

    Leave the rule just as it is now..


  3. No one questions the need to reduce dangerous hits when other alternatives are possible, so the rule can be good, and perhaps has been to an extent. But I think it got off to a terrible start with players, coaches, and fans with the term “targeting”. It implied there was intent by the defensive player, when rarely there was. “Dangerous hit” would have been better because it didn’t make the player sound like some criminal stalking a defenseless player with intent to maim.

    I would prefer they only issue a penalty when the hit is either deemed intentional, or occurred when the defensive player had adequate time to hit a player in a safer way. The slam/bam, last second hit should be avoided when possible, but not penalized, imo. As an athlete, you know the difference, and yes, the refs should as well. Will there be times it would be controversial, or just a flat out bad call? Absolutely, what is different from where we are now?

    The penalty should be reviewed, and the player suspended. But it was just an incident that occurred in a nano second at game speed, just issue a warning and play on. You could make warnings cumulative and then suspend players who are involved in so many as to indicate they are not trying to operate within the spirit of the rule, and make it for multiple games, say 2 or 3. For those saying you cannot declare what intent is, I say you usually can; and if it occurs to you that frequently, tough, you had your chance to learn to avoid those dangerous hits,

    The idea of punishing someone who repeats an act that was unavoidable, is silly. How can you learn to not do what you didn’t really do in the first place? Clean the rule up and more people will support a tough punishment. And while we are at it, get rid of the “love taps” now being considered Personal Fouls. I see them on QBs when a finger grazes their helmet. Makes a mockery of the foul. Football is a contact game, distinguish between hit and incidental contact. Same with shoulder to shoulder contact on what is now ruled “targeting” in some cases. Protect the head, forget the shoulder pads bumping.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CB

    The targeting rules have already proven to be anti competitive time and again. A 15 yard penalty should be administered for all targeting plays, but the player should only be ejected if they accumulate a second targeting penalty in the same contest or if the hit is deemed blatantly deliberate. Inadvertent targeting and ejections have no place next to each other in the rule book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent post … there was never a need for all of this. Officials could call unnecessary roughness at any time and have the ability to disqualify a player for an intentional dangerous play.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. AN

    They should pay kids more who don’t target on purpose I guess.


  6. John Denver is full of shit...

    I was thinking 5, but now I’m thinkink 4.
    4yrs our game is over.


  7. Is this really a problem? I thought the rule itself was already really effective at reducing these types of hits?


  8. Russ

    Rest assured, McGarity has several staffers reviewing tape of last season’s underclassmen to see if we need to self-report any transgressions.

    I like the replay instructions. Hopefully it will take a few of the inadvertent calls away, but we’ll see.


  9. NashvilleWest

    Wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that David Shaw has had his defenses training to do “rugby tackling” for a couple of years now…


  10. Faulkner

    Are they going to penalize offensive players when they lower their head when they are about to get tackled?


  11. Go Dawgs!

    The targeting rule as it is right now is far superior to what they’re doing in the NFL and should be the model for all football leagues.

    Leave it alone.