NCAA proposal would amend targeting rule

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Football
NCAA Proposal Would Amend Controversial Targeting Rule
By Rob Ogden

The rule that had so many Ohio State players up in arms a year ago might be changing, but probably not to the extent in which they want.

The NCAA football rules committee has proposed a change to the targeting rule, which would eliminate the 15-yard penalty when the targeting call is overturned by video replay.

Last season, the first for the new rule, the team would receive a penalty whether or not the ejection was upheld.

The proposal needs approval from the playing rules oversight panel, which is scheduled to vote on the amendment March 6.

The small change wouldn't have helped former Ohio State defensive back Bradley Roby, who was ejected for targeting Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz last season.

Roby's hit on Fiedorowicz was reviewed, and the call was upheld, ejecting him from the game.

Bradley Roby hits Iowa's C. J. Fiedorowicz
Photo by Jim Davidson
Bradley Roby

Roby and coach Urban Meyer were both adamant that the rule needed altered. This probably wasn't what they had in mind, but it's a start.

"It was very tough, especially after I watched the replay," Roby said during the season. "I didn't think there was anything wrong with that hit. If that's a penalty, I just don't know how to play football."

Those who make the rules seem to be pretty pleased with the targeting call's impact, citing a decreased number of above-the-shoulder infractions in 2013 from 2012.

In all, FBS players were flagged for targeting 94 times this past season, with 32 of those calls being overturned by replay.

Under the proposed the rule change, the 15-yard penalty would not have been assessed in those 32 instances.

That's 480 yards of penalties.

 However if another penalty, such as roughing the quarterback, is called along with the targeting infraction, that penalty will be upheld regardless of whether or not the targeting call is overturned.

The targeting rule was one of the most controversial issues in college football all season.

"I think that the NCAA and everybody is going to want to re-look at that rule," Meyer said following the win over Iowa. "We are very concerned about player safety. We have gone to the Nth degree with adjusting practice. Any rule for the safety of players, no question we support it. However, that was a game changer. To take one of your better players out of the game, that impacted that game.

"I'm interested to see what's going to happen down the road."

Related Article: NCAA committee considers rule to slow down offenses.

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