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Just Six Players Ejected From Opening Week Games, But It’s Way Too Soon To Declare New Rule A Success

the-bootCollege football’s new targeting rule — and the ejection penalty that accompanies it — was enforced (it appears) just six times during the opening week of the college football season.  According to former SEC head of officials and current NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding, that shows that there has been no year-to-year uptick in the number of targeting calls made.

So far so good.  But while some suggest that “it doesn’t look like the worries about the new rule are merited,” we feel it’s still a bit early for a victory dance.  Many schools spent Week One feasting on cupcakes.  Once the meat of the new season arrives and more in-conference battles commence, that’s when the rule will really be scrutinized.  When a player from one team is ejected, you can expect that team’s fanbase to pepper the media and messageboards with video clips and photos of plays for which they feel their opponent should have been flagged.

Of the six players tossed last week, only one came from the SEC — Texas A&M’s Deshazor Everett.  The cornerback was ejected and his team penalized 15 yards for this hit:


Texas A&M's Deshazor Everett ejected for targeting, new NCAA rule


The player who was hit on that play — Rice tight end Klein Kubiak — tweeted after the game that it was a “solid physical football hit.”  Some will view that hit as being clean (as Kubiak does).  Others will view it as straight-up targeting.  And that’s the problem with the rule.  Even when looking at a replay, the definition of the targeting rule is so broad that there’s really no way to tell if a play is or isn’t ejection-worthy.

Only six heave-hos in Week One is a good thing.  But we suspect this rule will still turn into a bad thing — despite the good intentions behind it — sooner rather than later.

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SEC Officials To Test Wireless Communications In 2012

Get ready for a new look at some SEC football games this fall — refs wearing small mics and earpieces.  The NCAA football rules committee has approved a waiver that will allow the SEC to test wireless communications technology during some league games.

SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw told The Birmingham News:


“We see great promise in this.  One of the questions is could this be a distraction to the crew?  We’re going to learn if it is.  If it’s a distraction, we’re not going to use it.  My goal is to have a better product of officiating on the field, and I think this is a tool that will help us get there.”


The upsides: Officials may have an easier time explaining penalties to coaches without huddling.  Ditto the ability to enforce penalties without huddling.  With less on-field gatherings, the game could move just a wee bit quicker.

Potential downsides: Raucous SEC stadiums could become too loud for officials to even hear what’s being said into their earpieces.  According to former SEC head of officials and current national supervisor of officials, Rogers Redding, “One of the challenges would be a big part of officiating is concentration, and you wouldn’t want a lot of chit-chat.”

The league has nine officiating crews and two of those units will be outfitted with the earpieces and tiny mics on their collars.  There will be no Broadway-style mics.

For those wondering, the SEC also said that officials in the instant replay booth will be able to hear the conversation on the field, but they will not be able to chime in.  According to Shaw, “We’d never have a situation where the replay guy looked at pass interference and said, ‘You need to pick up that flag.”

Will the new technology work?  Not enough to make many, many, many SEC fans stop complaining about the league’s officials.  That’s just part of fandom.  And there’s not a conference out there whose fans don’t honestly believe they have the worst refs in the world.

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Shaw Replaces Redding As Coordinator Of SEC Officials

Yesterday, Rogers Redding was named college football’s national coordinator by the board of managers for the College Football Officiating, LLC.

Redding’s move from the SEC’s top cop to his new position left a vacancy in Birmingham.  And that vacancy has now been filled.

Steve Shaw was announced today as the SEC new coordinator of officials.  Shaw is an SEC officiating vet with more than 15 years of service.

“Steve is considered one of the finest officials in the nation,” commissioner Mike Slive said in a release.  “We are pleased to have someone of Steve’s extensive experience and knowledge to coordinate the conference’s football officiating.  His appointment to succeed Rogers was done with the unanimous support of the conference’s athletics directors.”

Shaw was initially noticed years ago by longtime SEC official Dick Burleson while officiating Burleson’s grandson’s pee-wee game.  “He was officiating like it was the Super Bowl.”

We wish Shaw the best in his new position.  He’s gone from a thankless job to a really thankless job.  Now he’ll answer for everyone’s bang-bang judgement calls.

Personally, I’d rather give up my spleen.

That said, here’s everything some of you conspiracy theorists will want to know about Shaw — he’s a Bama grad. 

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