NCAA may take harder line than NFL on hits to the head

Getty Images

In recent years, the NFL has been, depending on your perspective, either at the forefront of protecting players from head injuries, or at the forefront of softening the physical nature of the game of football. But this season, college football may go further than the NFL ever has when it comes to taking hits to the head out of the game.

The NCAA has already approved a new rule for 2013 that mandates an ejection for any player who targets a defenseless opponent with a hit above the shoulders, but until the college football season starts, it’s tough to say just how strictly college football officials will enforce that rule. Tom Dienhart of Big Ten Network, however, is at a gathering of college football officials today, and he reports that they’re being instructed to take the new rule very, very seriously.

In fact, Dienhart’s takeaway from everything he heard about the new rule is, “get ready for ejections.”

The Big Ten’s marching orders for its officials on players who hit defenseless opponents in the head is, “When in doubt, throw him out.” The Big Ten (like the NFL) reviews questionable hits on the Monday after games and can suspend players, but the conference doesn’t want to deal with it on Mondays. The conference wants officials to deal with it on Saturdays, by ejecting players from games.

NFL officials also have the authority to eject players for hits to the helmet of defenseless opponents, but most of the time it’s just a 15-yard penalty and a fine from the league office after the fact. But if the new college rule leads to a perception that the NCAA is taking hits to the head more seriously than the NFL is, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL respond by matching the NCAA’s approach. It’s only a college rule for now, but NFL fans may need to get ready for ejections, too.

25 responses to “NCAA may take harder line than NFL on hits to the head

  1. then o linemen who cut block d linemen in the knees need ejected too. and wr ‘s who take out Eric Berry’s knees need ejected too……Stevie Johnson……..

  2. they are setting themselves up for game to be rigged/fixed…both the nfl and the NCaa.

  3. If a player I’m counting on in fantasy football gets ejected I’m organizing a protest.

  4. the other thing is none of the people making rules understand what makes the game great.
    If they think nobody getting hurt is going to sell they have another thing coming…check nascar….nobody watches to see cars go in circles.

  5. So what happens if / when a “defenseless” player, in the midst of a play, before getting hit, lowers his head to brace for the contact and the player laying the hit, who has aimed for mid chest, suddenly hits the guys head, does that constitute an ejection?

    Someone, please, start asking these people that are implementing these rules the questions that need to be asked. Please.

    Just do two things, stop with the rules trying to make one of the most violent sports on the planet “safer” or just stop playing the game.

    Enough is Enough.

  6. Safety should be of priority and I don’t believe hits to the head are good for the game by any means, but at this rate we may be watching a completely different game of football in 10 years.

    Might as well call it foo-foo ball.

  7. lets make the make game so nobody ever gets hurt….I offended at the idocy of the media who buy and sell this garbage and the rule makers who come up with it.

  8. The NCAA is doing this is because they know they’re next in line for massive concussion litigation. Depending upon the outcome of the lawsuits against the NFL for concussions it’s HIGHLY likely you’ll see lawyers aggressively target EVERY organized football league from the college level on down to high school and youth football. There will potentially be lots of money to be made

  9. I think that the NCAA should be the league that reforms for safety, rather than the NFL trying to switch the playing styles that have already been imprinted in the players minds.
    College players don’t get paid (ok yeah some of them do, besides the point) and some of their career are derailed before they get a chance. Plus, learning these rules earlier would help the transition in the NFL.

  10. The NCAA is getting ready for future lawsuits over concussions. If the lawsuits fail against the NFL there’s no way they can win against the NCAA as they have stricter rules.

  11. well that’s no surprise the ncaa is the nazi party of football – I guess this will be disallowed for an actual historical reference/analogy – wouldn’t want anyone to read actual names of actual entities would we?

  12. Unpopular opinion but I like it. Removing the unsafe layer reduces the risk, I’d like to see unsafe play issued a first warning, then get the player out of there after further offenses, much like soccer.

  13. Bernard pollard, please continue to smash these lady boys that tip toe across the middle. I pay for Sunday ticket just to see you do your thang…

  14. Just wait until they take blindside hits on the QB out of football. QBs with no fear of a blindside hit will turn football into a video game on the rookie setting…

  15. Well, might be time to find another favorite sport. Since Goodell has taken over, I’ve enjoyed the NFL less and less each year. In recent seasons, I’ve preferred college football due to A) hits being more pure and allowed and B) games not taking forever due to unimaginable amounts of flags. Looks like now I don’t even have this recourse.

  16. This is all the football world needs — the NCAA self-anointing itself even more authority and self-righteously throwing its weight around even more.

    And leading it all is Mark Emmert — the fattest pig at the trough. Look up “height of hypocrisy” and you see the pic of his self-satisfied mug staring back at you.

  17. This is what needs to be done. Years ago a player would never head hunt, but as the game has regressed into “laying people out”, this respect went out the widow. Just as the NBA went to “don’t touch me” in the paint, the NFL and College Football went the opposite direction and turned into “if I lay someone out, I will get noticed as a punisher”. This needs to get reeled back in.

  18. Well it may be time to start watching tennis or maybe bowling cuz football is getting to the point not it’s not worth the time. Simple solution is give each player a form to sign accepting all risks and rewards of playing the game. If you choose to play enjoy the cash and quit sniveling about the consequences.. Funny you never see Earl Campbell belly aching or filing lawsuits. Maybe us fans ought to sue the NFL for charging full price for powder puff football

  19. “Nobody watches to see the cars go in circles” lmao…I do when I’m trying to put a piece of clear paper on the tv and draw perfect circles

  20. I believe this new rule will cut down on the “dirty” football hits some players are doing. You know, the cheap shots we all get tired of seeing. It should help all the players be better sportsman during the game. I do not like to see players getting hurt for some cheap shot artist, who then will be tossed from the rest of the game.

  21. Way to go! The NCAA is doing the right thing. I can’t wait for the NFL to get smart too. Get rid of all the non-football playing assassins.

  22. There needs to be a replay official in a booth upstairs and reviewing any play like this. If a safety hits a WR in an area that is legal, and the official’s angle makes it appear illegal to the official causing the safety to get ejected there will be plenty of coverage and controversy.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.