This morning , the SEC announced that it was levying a one game suspension on Ole Miss freshman safety Trae Elston for the hit you see above. They relied on the NCAA rules preventing “targeting”, as explained in this tidy little press release from the offices of Mike Slive. Essentially a player cannot target and then hit an opponent in the head or neck with his head, neck, forearm, or shoulder. The SEC made such a judgement on the Elston hit (which was not flagged when it happened), while other hits, like this one and this one, were not deemed in violation of NCAA rules and thus not worthy of suspension. While those hits seem at the least on par with the Elston hit, and, at least in the case of the Vandy/SC play, worse, I’m sure that the SEC has a reasonable explanation and delineation between each of the plays that they have no intention of sharing with you…but to help you better understand the rules, below are a few examples of past collisions that fell within the rules, as well as the SEC’s explanations for why the hit was completely legal and not the type of malicious targeting act perpetrated by Elston.
SEC explanation: Completely legal hit in our eyes. Mr. Burfict’s propensity for, let’s just say, less than sporting play should not be a determining factor on this hit. While Mr. Burfict did in fact fling his body head first into the quarterback, you can plainly see that the helmet came to rest in the chest area, not the head or neck. Plus, we are not even sure if Idaho State is actually an accredited university.
SEC explanation: Mr. Show was clearly the aggressor in this situation and Mr. Flair was left with no recourse but the above action to defend himself from permanent and potentially debilitating injury. Also, please note the positioning of the referee in the play. We at the SEC feel he was in the best position, rather than the league office, to make a determination as to any flagrant contact that may have occurred. Also, as Mr. Flair is from Charlotte, we feel that this is an ACC matter and better served to be under their jurisdiction.
SEC explanation: We think it is pretty plain to see that the ball was not targeting the bird at the time of the collision. The ball was traversing through the air with the intent to hit the glove, which is a completely legal play within the rules of the game. The bird interceded unbeknownst to the ball and therefore, any injury sustained by the bird is of the birds own volition.
SEC explanation: It’s pretty easy to see, especially in the slow motion replay, that the antelope hit the biker with it’s hooves. There is no provision in the rules stating that hooves or hoof-like appendages cannot be used in making a tackle. Other naturally occurring appendages that can be used include: fins, horns, trunks, tusks, talons, and wings. Giraffe neck-to-head collisions, however, are illegal.
SEC explanation: The train plays for Alabama.