Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Quinton Dial might have been ejected from the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs, if a proposed change to NCAA rules had been in effect.
The proposed change is designed to protect players by recommending ejection – as well as a 15-yard penalty – for any player targeting and making contact with “defenseless players above the shoulders.”
From a release by NCAA.org:
“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” said Troy Calhoun, chair of the committee and head coach at the United States Air Force Academy. “We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport.”
Some fans called for suspension for Dial after his hit on Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray. The SEC reviewed video of the incident, and declined to suspend Dial for the BCS Championship game against Notre Dame.
The rule, if passed, would be reviewable on the spot by instant replay. In reviewing a disputed call, the replay official “must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field.”
In a case like the Dial hit, would the review have resulted in ejection? We may know if a similar situation occurs next season.
As the NCAA struggles with maintaining the integrity of the game while working to minimize the type of traumatic injuries that have been emphasized in recent reports, there’s a fine line between truly emphasizing sportsmanship, and reactionary changes that make the game more of a touch football contest.