NGSC Sports

Targeting the game of college football

Last year, many of us watched the Outback Bowl between South Carolina and Michigan. we saw one of the biggest hits in recent memory when Jadeveon Clowney exploded on Vincent Smith. It happened so fast and so hard, the NCAA is now targeting the game of football. The rules for it will not change, but the penalties for committing it sure will.

By definition, targeting is when a player takes aim at an opponent, especially at the neck or head, with apparent intent of doing more than a legal tackle or block. So if this rule is broken the player will now face immediate ejection. Of course, the 15-yard penalty will be enforced as well along with losing that player. This is all in the name of protecting the players from unnecessary harm. To some, it is another way to soften the brutal game we know as football.

The issue that I have with this rule is how it will change the game. Players are moving at speeds that a lot of us cannot understand. They are playing on instincts and I wonder how many of these penalties will be truly enforced. I wonder how will the call be made? What is the fine line between not calling it and calling it? Most important of all, which referee will be the first to call it and affect the outcome of a big BCS game.? These are some of the many questions this decision brings about. I am all for safety in the game, but I am not for changing the game in the name of safety. I, like many of us, grew up knowing the brutality of this sport. It is not for the faint of heart or weak of mind. It requires the human body to absorb the type of punishment most of us will never know.

One of the problems I have about the rule is it will be reviewed, to determine if it was actually targeting. Then if it was not, the ejection can be overturned. The problem with all of that is the 15-yard penalty will still be enforced. What is wrong with this picture? How do you call a penalty, reverse it and then mark it off? This is the world of the ever changing NCAA football minds.

I understand that player safety is so important, but are we going to keep changing the rules until we have a version of touch football? Are we going to have to change the way we teach football from the kids to the pros? Again, a bunch of questions form one rule enforcement and change.


What I hope for than anything else is that my game of football does not change too much. Keep the player as safe as they can be. Make sure that the refs are as well prepared as they can be to make these calls. Also, be sure that when the game is on the line, the call is made as correctly as it can be made.  If it is not and it drastically affects the outcome of a huge game, the howls of fans will be heard form coast to football coast.

Targeting, is it actually targeting the safety of the player, or is it targeting the game of college football? Stay tuned and we shall find out this upcoming season.

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