Report: Change to college football's targeting rule may be coming in offseason
One of the most controversial rules in all of sports may go under further examination during the offseason.
Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated is reporting that college football’s targeting rule, which has come under harsh scrutiny during the early portion of the 2021 season, may be revisited at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
Currently, the biggest gripe associated with the targeting rule is the player ejection aspect, especially when a hit is inadvertent. Too many times this season, a player has been tossed from a game — or forced to miss a portion of the next one — because of hit that was deemed as targeting.
Among high-ranking college football leaders, there is movement afoot to at least consider an adjustment to the targeting foul’s most harsh individual punishment—the ejection. In fact, the NCAA’s own coordinator of officials, Steve Shaw, and a handful of conference commissioners as well as athletic administrators and coaches, expect the rule to be examined this offseason. By the time the 2022 season kicks off, the hope is that the policy looks different.
There is, however, a problem. At this point, a proposal does not exist to modify the rule that has universal agreement among the sport’s various bodies.
“I have not seen a sophisticated plan and structure,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says. “I will be the first to say I’m open to alternative approaches, but they have to be grounded in eliminating these hits. The ejection and suspension from the next half of a game is a fairly blunt instrument, but it makes the point to change behavior.”
Coaches across the country have been upset with the targeting ejection rule. There’s a thought that implementing a level system — much like college basketball’s Flagrant 1 vs. Flagrant 2 foul — would be a much better method to handle targeting.
Most can agree that taking vicious hits out of the game and creating a safer environment is a top priority. Ejecting players from the game, when there are only 12 on the schedule, seems to be a bit extreme.