Sports Opinion: The NCAA should rethink the targeting rule in college football

From Issue 5

As many of you know, concussions are a serious topic in all leagues of football. As a result of the serious head injuries, the NFL and NCAA came to an agreement of creating a penalty, called targeting. Targeting is a penalty designed to protect the safety and health of the athletes. Targeting is referred to as aiming or leading with the crown of his own helmet against the helmet of an opposing player. Targeting can also be seen as the contact towards the head or neck area of a defenseless opposing player.

In the NFL, the targeting penalty results in a 15 yard penalty and a fine to the player ranging from how severe the hit is. This differs from the NCAA greatly. If a targeting penalty is called in a college football game, the play will be reviewed and if confirmed, there will be a 15 yard penalty and the ejection of the player for four whole quarters. That being said, if a player is to get ejected due to targeting in the middle of one game, the penalty will also be in action during the next game until the player misses four quarters.

Targeting has caused a huge question in college football players and fans today, whether it is fair or not. The rule seems to be a bit unfair. For example, plays during a football game happen in just few seconds. The average time between when a ball is thrown or handed off to first contact is less than 5 seconds. To make a big play on a ball, you can not think about how to hit, you simply just react. The rule of targeting seems to take away the quick reaction from many players because they are simply scared to get ejected. Also in contact sports, playing scared usually results in more injuries.

I agree with the 15 yard penalty, but ejected the player from the game seems a little absurd. A key player for the defense can be ejected from the game by just playing full speed and flying to the football, which most players are coached to do. Although there are some points to which the ejection rule of targeting seems legit and fair. These points lay under the category of the “defenseless player”. When a player is defenseless and is struck in the head and neck area, the ejection of the player is necessary. Targeting in college football has caused a dispute, the rule should be altered and not as harsh towards the players. Athletes are not out there playing the game to physically hit someone in the head to injure their opponent, it simply just happens, it’s football. If you are an athlete playing the game of football you should be aware of the injuries that can happen before you step on to the field.

The new rule of targeting seems to take away the physical and tough game of football. Many players in the NFL and NCAA have come out publicly to announce their disagreement with the rule. I believe if the rule was altered in the NCAA to: the first foul for targeting resulting in 15 yards and a warning, and the second time for the same player resulting in 15 yards again and an ejection. The players deserve more than one chance before getting ejected, simply because they are just playing as hard as they can to help their team win. The rule seems to almost take the sport football out of football and needs to be altered.