User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
NCAA wants to crack down on head hits

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

The difference between a legal hit and an illegal one in football is often determined by inches and seconds.

Advertisement
A proposed rule change by the NCAA could make those inches and seconds even more important in college football.

A player who delivers a hit to the head of a defenseless opponent could be kicked out of the game next season under an NCAA proposal that took a step forward Wednesday.

Consider this another high-profile step in the universal effort to make football less dangerous and cut down the risk of head injuries. The future of football became a hot topic again in the lead up to the Super Bowl when President Barack Obama said if he had a son ``he'd think long and hard'' before letting him play the game. He also voiced concern about whether the NCAA was doing enough to help college players deal with long-term health issues that come from playing football.

The NFL has been cracking down on helmet hits in recent seasons, handing out more frequent fines and even suspensions. But those penalties are determined days later, after the play has been reviewed.

Under the NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal, video replay will be used to determine the ejection part of the penalty, but that call will be made immediately.

And that's troubling to some coaches.

New Temple coach Matt Rhule, who spent the past last year as an assistant with the New York Giants, said it might be asking too much of replay officials to conduct a thorough review of a complex play that could result in a player losing the right to participate.

``That seems a high price to pay for something that we're not sure of,'' Rhule said in a telephone interview Wednesday night.

The rules committee said it had unanimously approved strengthening of the penalty for intentional above-the-shoulder hits. The 15-yard penalty will now have an ejection tacked on, assuming the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves the plan next month.

``Clearly if the guy's head is down and he's launching into a receiver with the top of his head, that should be a penalty,'' Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. ``You hate for somebody to get penalized for just a good hard hit.''

Player safety was the theme of the committee's three-day meeting in Indianapolis, with the ejection for targeting the most noticeable change fans will notice in 2013 across all NCAA divisions. The committee also tweaked the rule on below-the-waist blocks.

Chairman and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said the committee wanted to address clear instances where a defender is leading with the crown of his head to hit a defenseless player above the shoulders.

``It's a real problem in the sport,'' he said, ``and we need to eliminate it.''

Last season, Calhoun said, 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 caused him to miss significant playing time.

``It's not a gigantic number,'' Calhoun said of the 99. ``Ultimately, our goal is zero. Is that realistic? I don't know if zero is. But I know any time you involve an ejection, we're going to see that number go down drastically immediately.''

If the penalty occurs in the first half, the player would be ejected for the remainder of the game. If the penalty occurs in the second half or overtime, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game.

The rule would allow for the ejection portion of the penalty to be reviewed through video replay. The replay official must have conclusive evidence that the penalized player didn't intentionally target a defenseless player in order to overturn the call on the field. Calhoun said the 15-yard portion of the penalty would not be reviewable.

Rhule was a college assistant from 1998-2011 before spending 2012 working for Tom Coughlin with the Giants. He returned to Temple, where he worked under Al Golden for five years, to lead the program in December.

He'd like to see college football take the NFL's approach. Throw a flag during the game, but when it comes to sitting a player down, let that decision be made later by an impartial panel, away from the pressures of a game.

The NFL also allows players to appeal suspensions and fine.

Ravens star safety Ed Reed was suspended for a game by the NFL this season for repeated hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. On appeal, that was overturned.

``We should always err on the side of safety,'' he said. ``But what is the mechanism for after the fact, if a penalty happens in the first half, and a young man sits out and his team loses? Then they go back and look at it and they determine it wasn't an illegal hit. There was no intent to target the head. What are they then going to do?''

Rhule said suspending a player after a thorough review accomplishes the same thing as ejecting him, but removes the uncertainty that comes with a difficult call.

``I would love to see have the same punishment,'' Rhule said, ``but after the fact.''

---

AP Sports Writer Eric Olson contributed to this report.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Lawrence: 2014 MWC Preview
Edwards: Top 20 QB Changes
News: LVH posts Conference Odds
FSU, Miami picked to win ACC divisions
Texas QB Ash cleared to practice
Gophers All-American McNamara dies
Big 12 assigns 1st female official
Petrino back for Louisville's ACC debut
A&M DL Stansbury leaves; DB Davis arrested
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1921
Joe Nelson + 1446
Bruce Marshall + 1350
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 200
The SportsBoss + 200
Michael Black + 100
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
Doc's Sports 57 %
Joe Williams 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1312
Brian Edwards + 580
James Manos + 443
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1283
Jimmy Boyd + 966
James Manos + 756
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1100
Doc's Sports + 1090
Joe Nelson + 940
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!