October 23rd, 2013 11:00 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Austyn Carta Samuels, Georgia, NCAA, SEC, Steve Shaw, Vandy
Those who watched Saturday’s Georgia/Vanderbilt game likely walked away scratching their heads over the NCAA’s new targeting rule. Twice the officials on hand seemed to be off-base with regards to the spirit of the rule.
At the very least.
Example One: Bulldog linebacker Ramik Wilson made a clean shoulder-to-chest hit on Vandy receiver Jonathan Krause yet was flagged for 15 yards and ejected for targeting. The booth official “un-ejected” Wilson upon replay review, but 15 yards were still marched off against the Dawgs:
Example Two: Georgia defensive end Ray Drew was flagged for targeting and ejected for what appears to be an accidental helmet bump of VU quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels’ facemask:
Ask a dozen refs if “intent” has anything to do with the NCAA’s new targeting rule and you’ll get a dozen answers. The fact of the matter seems pretty simple from this front… if the rule is to be called “targeting,” intent has to be present. You don’t accidentally “target” someone.
But then again, we said all summer that this rule would be a no-win scenario for officials, coaches and players, none of whom seem to view the rule in the same way. And you can toss in the booth officials as well, as they’ve overturned too many ejections to count.
Quite naturally, Georgia’s Mark Richt and AD Greg McGarity have spoken with SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw and “other league administrators” about the two targeting calls that went against them in Saturday’s 31-27 loss. McGarity told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chip Towers (one of the SEC’s best reporters, by the way) that UGA follows “protocol” and “conversations that the AD or coach have with the league office are confidential and always verbal.”
Towers points out that SEC officials have their work reviewed on a regular basis. If the SEC and Shaw come to believe the officials in Nashville last weekend erred, those men could face disciplinary action. They could be suspended. They could be let go at the end of the season. Or they could be passed over when it comes to bowl assignments.
Unfortunately, most officials would probably tell you that they didn’t want the targeting rule changed in the first place. It’s just another bang-bang judgement call for refs to make, only this one has greater consequences thanks to the ejection portion of the rule.
The idea behind the rule — no head-hunting, player safety — is a sound one. The wording of the rule is lacking. The execution has been worse.
We suggest now — as we did last summer — that the NCAA adopt two separate rules to cover this helmet-to-helmet issue.
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