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SEC Suspends UM’s Elston For Texas Game Due To Illegal Hit

Fresh off a surprising 2-0 start, Hugh Freeze and his Rebels got a bit of bad news from the SEC this morning.  The league has announced that freshman defensive back Trae Elston will be suspended for this weekend’s game against Texas due to an illegal hit he doled out in last week’s Ole Miss/UTEP game.

According to the league’s release:

 

“This action was the result of a flagrant and dangerous act which occurred at the 3:18 mark in the fourth quarter.  The action is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, ‘No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder,’ and Rule 9-1-3 which states, ‘No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet.’”

 

To be sure, many Rebel fans won’t like it, but we give the league a thumbs-up on this one.  When it comes to player safety, MrSEC.com is a big proponent of doing anything and everything to protect the athletes on the field.  (And we’ll make the point again later today.)  The video below shows that at least one UM fan was proud of the fact that Elston teed up a defenseless receiver.  More than likely, that same fan would have decried such a vicious hit had a UTEP player endangered a Rebel receiver in the exact same manner.

Take the rah-rah team stuff out of it and no player should be allowed to launch himself in the manner below at a defenseless foe.  And that has as much to do with the safety of the person launching himself as it does the person being targeted.

 

Trae Elston Huge Hit (LandShark) Ole Miss

 

UPDATE — As expected, I’ve already gotten six emails from angry Ole Miss fans.  All said Elston’s hit was legal.  Two actually said they’re tired of this pro-Mississippi State website.  Gotta love some folks.  Write something that doesn’t jive with their school and the writer must secretly “hate us” or “love our rivals.”  Yeesh.

This was not a legal hit.  Read the rule — already posted above — and look at the stills below.

 

“No player shall target and initiate contact…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elston could have seriously injured another player with that hit.  That doesn’t make him a bad guy, just means he made a bad play.

If there’s a fanbase in the country that should realize that athletes’ safety must come first, it’s that of Ole Miss.  Unbelievably, it seems a few folks in Oxford need to be reminded that the bronze bust players rub before taking the field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is that of former Rebel Chucky Mullins, paralyzed during a game in 1989.

Or maybe Mullins has become nothing more than a lucky charm for current Rebel players and fans.  I’m disgusted that in a situation like this — where a player is suspended for clearly violating a league rule — so many people will defend him and curse the decision simply because the color jersey he was wearing.

And the ol’ “Well, they didn’t suspend this guy” argument that’s now popping up in our comment boxes doesn’t hold water, either.  The league needs to be consistent in its rulings, no doubt.  I agree completely.

But if I get a ticket for driving 90 miles per hour, it’d be hard for me to use the “but that guy was also driving 90″ defense.  A) Because I was indeed driving 90 miles per hour and B) because the police officer would have clocked me, not him.  Fair?  Maybe not when compared to other driver.  But when held to the actual legal standard, absolutely fair.

 


38 comments
Josh
Josh like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 I'm sorry John but you have taken a stance that the majority across the nation has not taken on this one. I have seen still shot after still shot after still shot and if you look at it when contact was made Trey had his shoulder in the chest and his head was turned away from the reciever so he wouldn't make contact. Now after he hit the guy, the recievers head snaped forward and made contact with Elston's helmet but in no way whatsoever did Elston lead with his head, he never lunged at the player and there was no attempt to do anything but prevent a completion that wouldn've gone for a touchdown!

 Now for you to use Chucky Mullins in your article as some sore of moral compass and make OLE MISS fans look pathetic for not supporting your view is completely irresponsible and shows a complete lack of integriity on your part. Chucky was injured because he led with his head and NO we have not forgotten him but that has absolutely nothing to do with this case and you are a jerk for mentioning it.

MiloMoon
MiloMoon

I love the people asking why the other plays did not result in a suspension. That is the decision of the league office, not a impartial website. I felt the hit should have resulted in a penalty, but anyone watching the NFL right now knows that officials blow calls, and I believe that they missed calling a penalty there. Full game suspension - I don't know. I am not the one making the decisions. However I look at the video and see the breakdowns and it is clear that there is helmet to helmet contact, which is what ALL levels of football are trying to stop. So if this suspension keeps another event like Tulane this past weekend from happening, then it is worth it.  

Andy
Andy like.author.displayName 1 Like

As a Vanderbilt fan, I hate to see them start suspending players for making clean, legal hits.  As everyone knows, we're also one of the schools that the SEC office has the guts to suspend players from.  We obviously got lucky against South Carolina (much worse hit in my opinion) not to have a suspension, but then again the Tulane game happend this week so that always brings out the opportunity for a knee jerk reaction.  The only thing that makes this hit look bad is the fact that the receiver had alligator arms.  In my viewing of the hit, he clearly leads with the shoulder and hits him in the chest. 

TremontReb
TremontReb

MrSec, your comment about getting caught driving 90 while another driver doesn't is about as dumb a comparision as i've ever heard.  The SEC does have tapes of ALL SEC games doesn't it?  Only got time to review one?  wonder if it had been Bama or LSU that had a big game coming up next would it have been the same call by the BOSS?  I think everyone knows the answer to that one....

MichaelCulver
MichaelCulver

I agree, throwing Chucky Mullins in there shows a complete lack of tact and class.  You should apologize to the Rebel Faithful on that one.  Hotty Toddy!

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MichaelCulver 

 

If a Rebel receiver had had another player's helmet belt him under his facemask and in the neck -- as the video and photos show -- you'd be outraged.

 

And the Chucky Mullins reference is dead-on.  You folks leaving comments and sending me obscene emails care more about whether a kid with seven tackles on the season is suspended for a nonconference game than you do the health and well-being of the athletes out their risking their necks for your entertainment.

 

I stand by every word I've written and I'm disgusted that so many people can't just admit that they'd feel 100% differently if the colors of the jerseys in that video were changed.

 

John

JayWhite
JayWhite

 @John at MrSEC  

 

"If a Rebel receiver had had another player's helmet belt him under his facemask and in the neck -- as the video and photos show -- you'd be outraged." How can you make such an assumption. You are assuming that everyone that disagrees with you is an Ole Miss fan. They aren't. I'm a member of the sports media in Mississippi and a Southern Miss fan. Also, if you'll note your own freeze-frame (the last one) the Ole Miss player's SHOULDER is buried in the UTEP guy's CHEST.

 

"And the Chucky Mullins reference is dead-on." You couldn't be more wrong. Furthermore, to use Mullins as some sort of moral-high-groud prop for your opinion piece and question whether it still means anything to that fan base only proves to me that you really don't know anything about that fan base.

 

"the health and well-being of the athletes out their risking their necks for your entertainment." Oh, sweet Lord. Are you serious? Risking their necks for our entertainment? That's why they're all playing college football-to entertain the fans. Spare me.

SEC Fan44
SEC Fan44

 @John at MrSEC  @MichaelCulver no one should be obscene or name call- but you thinking people who disagree with you automatically care more about the kid playing rather than safety is dead wrong - and you're just using that as a red herring argument. Lots of fans from ALL SEC schools disagree with you

Clearly Not Clear
Clearly Not Clear

I have seen Ole Miss players get hit like that more times than I can count and sure there is a momentary bit of outrage there, but when you step back and look at the replay for each of those times and see that it is a clean hit then you realize that's just football.  The problem you seem to be having here is that you are suggesting Elston drills this guy in the head and neck with his helmet and suggesting that the video and frames show that when they clearly do not.  The guy gets hit below his neck in an area known as the chest and that is a good hit and is just football. I would completely agree with you if this hit is about 6 inches higher.

 

Be disgusted all you want, your entitled to that opinion.  Why not be even more disgusted with the SEC Office for their loose enforcement of this.  Go ahead and call Mike Slive out, if you dare,  like you are calling Ole Miss fans out.  A major part of the outrage from the Ole Miss faithful on this is with how the SEC has handled this.

 

I don't think you can comprehend the Chucky Mullins reference from an Ole Miss fan perspective.  Yes, it is a good example of what can happen in a situation like this, but the way in which you phrased and directed it toward Ole Miss fans was in poor taste.  A lot of us were there that day and will never forget what happened that day and the rest of Chucky's life before he passed.  He's much more than just a lucky charm. 

Clearly Not Clear
Clearly Not Clear like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yeah he really launched himself with both feet on the ground and where in the hell do you see the guy getting hit in the neck or head in any of those frames.  You say he clearly violated a league rule, but is it really that clear, I mean the conference's own officials saw it as a clean hit.  Elston lowers his shoulder right into the middle of this guys chest, which is how the guy got the wind knocked out of him and was on the ground for a bit. The brunt of this blow was not even delivered by the helmet in this play. 

 

The Chucky Mullins bit you threw in there was very petty.  I don't think anyone in the Ole Miss family needs a reminder of what happened to Chucky and for you to even suggest that he is nothing more than a "lucky charm" is very shameful.

SEC Fan44
SEC Fan44

I agree with this. He didnt launch himself, didnt lead with his head, knocked the wind out of the receiver. What was he supposed to do? let him score?  No room for Chucky reference in making an argument. 

MichaelCulver
MichaelCulver

Slive had a knee-jerk reaction due to the fact that the Tulane hit was earlier in the day.  This is a crock, the hit in the USC/Vandy game was much, much worse and no suspension there.  Legal hit here, don't care what you say, not leading with the head.  Hit is legal.  

JayWhite
JayWhite like.author.displayName 1 Like

Those freeze frames clearly show that the Elston kid put his shoulder squarely in the guys chest. There should be no suspension. Thanks to the author for taking the time to lay all of this out. Oh, and the kid no more initiated contact than a forward pass is an attempt at initiating offense. Or in other words, He was playing defense. If he's not there, UTEP scores a touchdown.

Tracer Round
Tracer Round

After looking at the video several times, it is clear that the player LEAD with his shoulder and hit the UTEP player's chest. It was then that the side of the Ole Miss player's helmet slid up and there was helmet to helmet contact. The still pictures you show I believe are deceiving. To these eyes it looked like the SEC got it wrong and the officials got it right. Interesting that there are so many different opinions looking at the same video. Wonder if they are going to suspend the officiating crew, as they did not consider it an illegal hit. Heard they did not throw a flag. That would be interesting if they did.

MoKelly1
MoKelly1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Tracer Round I tend to agree with your viewpoint. It looks like that to me. And, aren't players told to tackle with shoulders?

whatanidiot
whatanidiot

John at MrSEC you are a literal idiot just because you break down pictures that make it look like you know what your talking about doesnt mean you do at all. You are obviously a butt pirate that is anti Ole Miss like the majority of the country, if this hit had been a player from Alabama Arkansas LSU Georgia or even that joke of a school Auburn then you and the rest of the people in sports nation would be talking about how its not fair that he didnt get SEC defensive player of the week. Im glad that I stumbled upon this website so that I know never to listen to an idiot such as yourself. May god have mercy on your simple mind and I apologize to all the poor people that see your website and think "Hey this guy might know what he's talking about" Oh and one more thing why arent you getting on the SEC officials for not throwing a flag if this hit was SO blatantly illegal. Please riddle me that SEC football guru?

 

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

whatanidiot...

 

Thanks for writing this.  I'm sure the folks at the University of Mississippi are very proud that you represent them.

 

John

guest
guest

I think the SEC opened a can of worms. I do not disagree with the ruling, I too am for safety of the players. However, the Vanderbilt/Gamecock hit the first week is just as aggressive and head hunting a hit as this. Why are some kids suspended and others aren't? Is the SEC going to start suspending offensive lineman who clip on the back side of the play? Just as dangerous hit, but not nearly as televised as the head trama situations.

 

As for the rebel fans calling this a legal hit... You must have never played football. Not once in all my years of playing, did my coach teach me to bring my crossed arms to my chest and make my body as tight (missle-like) as I can to hit a defenseless receiver.

SEC Fan44
SEC Fan44

Uneven application of a very subjective rule.  He wan't even flagged for the LEGAL hit. Shoulder to chest hit.    I'm all for safety, but this was legal- and OM fans can be mad at the uneven application. Pennington's arguments don't hold water. 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @SEC Fan44 

 

"Uneven application of a very subjective rule."

 

I agree completely.  Unfortunately, the same can be said for many football rules, many basketball rules, and even many of our nation's laws.  That doesn't mean the laws should be thrown out.

 

As I've stated repeatedly over the past half-decade, I'll always come down on the side of safety.  I'm in no way ashamed of that fact, either.

 

I was at the Ohio State-Penn State game in 2000 when Adam Taliaferro was paralyzed on the field in front of me.  I am a New England Patriots fan and remember when Darryl Stingley was paralyzed.  In the end, it's just a game.  And if you think a player suiting up for one Saturday's game is more important than leagues ATTEMPTING to make the game safer, then you and I will always stand on opposite sides of this issue.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John 

SEC Fan44
SEC Fan44

 @John at MrSEC  @SEC Fan44

 again I also want to err on the sde of safety- the uproar is that NO OTHER SEC HIT has resulted in suspensions this year- have they? There were worse hits.  See the links provided below.  If they had been suspended also- no uproar here. Safety first- fairness also- . Your  Frame by frame pictures prove nothing exept WR was hit in the chest- by Elston's shoulder.  Enjoy your site.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @SEC Fan44 

 

Interesting.  I see a helmet hitting a guy right in the neck.  You see a shoulder hitting a chest.  Different views... which shows just how subjective this rule is.

 

As for the videos below, I think the Vandy/Carolina hit -- which was this year -- could've easily resulted in a suspension.  I think those other videos were all going back to other seasons.

 

To me, this is akin to someone saying, "They called this play interference, but what about this play in another game back in 2008?"  You can argue that the league isn't consistent, but that doesn't change the facts of the case at hand.  They saw -- as I did -- a player launch himself into another defenseless player and his helmet struck that other player in the neck.  The fact that the UTEP receiver remained on the ground afterwards and the Ole Miss players celebrated near him probably raised the hackles of league officials, too.  Matter of fact, I'd bet that if the Carolina player nailed by a Vandy defender had been slow to get up, there would have been a greater likelihood of a suspension in that case, too.

 

Again, the league isn't perfect.  But I really do disagree with those who feel Elston's hit was not dangerous and not illegal.  I think the league made the right call.

 

I know not everyone will agree.

 

Glad you like the site, thanks for reading it.  It's appreciated.

John

JeremyNabors
JeremyNabors

You still didn't answer why the other players were not suspended for a whole game in my links below. And the hit was legal. If you look at the play, he hit below the shoulders which is LEGAL.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @JeremyNabors 

 

The hit was not legal and we show shot by shot why it was not.  While the league should be consistent in its rulings, this is a subjective thing -- like pass interference or holding.

 

This site's been around for five years and anyone who's read it consistently knows that if it's a question of player safety, I'd prefer the league err on the side of caution.  And each and every time I write that, many fans of the suspended player's school claim the play was completely legal and I -- and the league -- just hate their team.

 

I hate seeing kids get their necks broken is what I hate.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

JeremyNabors
JeremyNabors like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @John at MrSEC And you still didn't answer why the other players I listed were not suspended. You are still wrong that the hit was illegal. He led with his shoulder and hit the receiver below the shoulders... Completely legal... just as your pictures show.

JeremyNabors
JeremyNabors

 @John at MrSEC If the WR was hit in the neck at that speed, he would have been holding his neck after the play. Instead, he was shown having the wind knocked out of him.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @JeremyNabors 

 

His helmet is clearly hitting the receiver in the neck.  Please take off the red and blue glasses and have another look.

 

What angers me is that if a Mississippi State player had made this same play against an Ole Miss receiver you'd be the one calling for the suspension.  And I would still be saying the same thing... which gives me just a bit more credibility via objectivity.

 

Now, you wrote: "You still didn't answer why the other players I listed were not suspended."

 

No, I didn't.  One, I don't work for the league office.  Two -- and let's make this very clear -- I don't have to answer to you at all.  Three, I did say the league SHOULD be consistent in its rulings and that this is a very subjective rule.  I don't disagree on that fact.

 

But when the league does sit someone for launching his helmet into another player's throat, I'm going to defend them on it.

 

Just my take,

John

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

Good point in that there was no flag on the play. Seems somewhat strange a player can be suspended for a play that didn't even result in a penalty during the game. I didn;t see the play other than the attached clip, and that was sort of hard to tell if the player intentionally targeted the head area or just made a hard football play.

 

Who makes the suspension of a player call in NC AA football -- the Conference the player belongs to, the Conference the player played against or the NCAA? Seems somewhat a conflict-of-interest if the suspension is the call of the players Conference when the game is between two different Conferences.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MoKelly1 

 

As noted above, the Southeastern Conference suspended the Elston.  The league office reviews film each week and suspensions -- in various leagues -- come down after the fact, regardless of whether or not an official on the field tossed a flag or not.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

 @John at MrSEC Thanks for the information. I imagine it cannot be easy for the SEC Office to make this call as (a) they are suspending an SEC player for making a hit on a non-SEC player and (b) they are prohibiting an SEC player from participating in a future game vs. a non-SEC team. So, for both (a) and (b) they are hurting an SEC player/team in favor of non-SEC team. I just have never heard of this happeneing in other Conferences. It probably does happen but I just have been unaware.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MoKelly1 

 

Wow, the Big XII must've really been a bummer of a place.  

 

The SEC hands out suspensions for dirty hits each year and it has nothing to do with what team the player being hit suits up for.  It's a question of safety.  The league office -- while it may not be perfect in its application of the rule -- is clearly trying to make the game safer for athletes.  All athletes.  Not just SEC athletes.

 

Thanks as always,

John

MattPerkins_
MattPerkins_

As an Ole Miss fan, I don't disagree with the decision. I disagree with the arbitrary enforcement of the rule.  There were several hits on defenseless receivers in weeks one and two that did not receive suspensions.  All I want is consistency from the league office.  

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MattPerkins_ 

 

I think that's a very fair, very accurate assessment of the situation.  

 

John

JeremyNabors
JeremyNabors

That was a completely legal hit. Why should he be suspended for a whole game? SUSPENDED FOR A GAME?!! This is a very dangerous precedent. Had he have just been flagged during the game, then nothing more would have happened. But even then, it was a legal hit and not even worthy of a flag.

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