NCAA May Start Ejecting Players for Above-the-Shoulder Hits

Rogers Redding, secretary-editor of the NCAA football rules committee and national coordinator of officials, said last week that his committee has introduced a plan to reduce helmet-to-helmet hits.

The proposed rule calls for the ejection of a player, who purposefully targets a defenseless player with a blow to the head. If the hit occurs in the first half, the player will be ejected for the game. If it occurs in the second half, the player will be ejected for that half and the first half of the next game.

Unlike the NFL, which can fine players, the NCAA’s only tool “is playing time,” Redding told the media. “The committee said we’ve got to get this play out of the game.”

Redding elaborated. “We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do. The game is under attack. There’s a lot of concern, legitimately, about concussions.”

The challenge will be drawing a line in terms of who was responsible for the location of the hit, i.e. did the offensive player lower his head? Video replay may be used in some instances to determine intent.

Regardless, causing the defensive player to think twice is the objective.

“We’ve got to get the players simply not to go high,” Redding said. “If they do, they run the risk of getting thrown out of the game.”

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