Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The NCAA just can’t seem to get this targeting rule nailed down. Last week, the NCAA announced some tweaks to the most subjective and inconsistently-thrown flag in the game.
First, let’s see what has been changed with the terms of rule. Blindside blocks, for one. Not only will they be penalized, but the vicious crack-back is about to be a thing of the past, and can itself constitute the targeting of a defenseless player. Additionally, there is progressive punishment for infractions.
And, finally, there is a poison pill in here that is getting too little attention — the requirement that all aspects of the targeting call be confirmed: no longer can a targeting call simply be upheld. The replay and field officials must make a determination that every element of the rule is met. If it’s not, the penalty is waived.
Yet, this is going to be exceptionally difficult to prove. And, that difficulty goes to the heart of what’s wrong with a rule that has been modified four times in its seven-year existence.