In mid-February, there was buzz that the NCAA was considering a tweak to the targeting rules in college football. While the controversial violation would not have been going away by any stretch of the imagination, there was apparent momentum in making it a more palatable and more consistent call throughout the country. However, in true NCAA fashion, the rule changes did not come to be.
South Dakota coach Bob Nielson, who happens to be the chairman of the rules committee, told the Associated Press that “the rule is doing” what the NCAA wanted it to do.
“We came to the conclusion our rule is doing what we wanted it to do and that’s changing player behavior and that the work we did a year ago giving the replay official the opportunity to review the play in its totality is getting us to where we want to be in that rule, and felt that another year of experience with that same rule was the right direction to go to continue to put the emphasis on the fact that targeting is not something we want in the game.
The discussion surrounding the rule centered on the possibility of having two different levels of the violation, with only one of which including an ejection for the player committing the penalty. That would theoretically present more wiggle room for interpretation in order to avoid silly ejections, but the committed voted such a provision down and status quo will continue.
While the NCAA did make a move to make jumping over the line of scrimmage to block kicks illegal, that was certainly a down-ballot item and now, we wait yet again for competent targeting legislation.