Officials told when in doubt, penalize and suspend

From the world of Twitter came this from Jon Solomon on Sunday afternoon:

This is part of an AL.com series on college football officiating and how officials are being instructed to handle targeting and head-to-head contact. When in doubt throw the flag.

It’s become a big topic as the conferences and the NCAA work to reduce concussions. Ole Miss safety Trae Elston, a freshman last year, was one of the first to catch this wave when he was suspended for the Texas game last year after his hit against a UTEP receiver the previous week.

The irony in the new rule is that had it been in place last year, Elston would have been suspended for the first half of the Texas game, not the entire game.

Here’s my blog post shortly after the Elston suspension was announced.

Elston’s hit fell within a range of gray area that allowed for his suspension as the league enforced its policy. The initial contact was below the helmet, and Elston’s momentum carried him higher into the hit.

Dial’s hit — You can see it here — was clearly an effort to target Georgia’s starting quarterback. Elston — Here it is — was at least trying to make a play.

If the rule of thumb is “When in doubt penalize and eject” it would seem that we can expect an increase in the number of ejections.

Safety is the top priority. It’s easy to talk about safety and more difficult to achieve it in a naturally aggressive sport whose participants are from the beginning of tackle football praised for inflicting pain and punishment.

The quest for safety needs to include equal application of the rules.

There was enough in Elston’s hit for debate. There should have been no debate about Dial’s hit, and nothing happened.

Sounds like there will be even greater awareness of these big hits and as with anything new, a gray area to work through and certain “case hits” and suspensions along the way as officials settle into the new normal.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football
  • JB

    Trae Elston may have been a bit pumped up and over zealous and I believe he made the hit as expected of him No one wants a DB that is afraid to hit. That gains the respect of opposing team before they make a play into his area, knowing that they will get plastered if the make the catch.

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