A new rule being proposed by the NCAA could strengthen penalties imposed on players for above the shoulder hits.
According to FOX Sports, the NCAA Football Rules Committee, which met this week in Indianapolis, unanimously voted to increase the penalty for “high-hits” to include an automatic ejection in addition to a 15-yard penalty.
The committee noted that the goal of the proposed change is to stop tackling techniques that lead to concussions and other head and neck injuries.
“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the chairman of the committee. “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.”
Calhoun went on to say that in 2012 there were 99 targeting penalties called in the Football Bowl Subdivision that, under the proposed rule, would have called for an ejection.
He said the player on the receiving end of the hit in many cases sustained a concussion or other type of injury that forced him to miss significant playing time.
Sports Illustrated notes that the new rule would allow for the ejection portion of the penalty to be reviewed through video replay.
“The general consensus is that the officials on the field make this call properly the vast majority of the time and know what the committee is looking for with this foul,” said Rogers Redding, secretary-editor of the rules committee and national coordinator of officials for College Football Officiating, LLC.
“This move is being made to directly change player behavior and impact player safety.”
The proposal still awaits approval by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6.
If approved, the rule changes would go into effect for the 2013 season.
Readers: Do you agree with the NCAA’s proposal to immediately eject players that deliver above the shoulder hits on defenseless opponents? Do you the the new high-hit rule will make a difference in college football?