A new rule in college football has become the target of critics in the past few weeks.
This year, the NCAA enacted a rule that addresses targeting—it allows for an automatic ejection of a player who targets and makes contact with a defenseless opponent above the shoulders. The ability to eject the offending player was added to the existing penalty of 15 yards.
NCAA officials say the new rule addresses concerns about player safety, and it allows for an ejection to be overturned if video replay shows conclusive evidence that the player-to-player contact was not the effect of targeting. The 15-yard penalty, however, remains in place even if an ejection is overturned.
Football fans in Georgia have felt the sting of the new rule this season, as UGA defensive lineman Ray Drew was ejected in the Bulldogs’ game against Vanderbilt. The Huffington Post reported that Drew’s ejection stood even after a review showed what appeared to be minimal helmet-to-helmet contact.
The new rule also potentially impacts teams beyond the games in which an ejection occurs. If a player is ejected during the first half of the game, his ejection only spans through the remainder of that game. A second-half ejection, though, keeps that player from returning to the field through the first half of his team’s next game.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the NCAA rules committee will meet this offseason to discuss the possibility of taking away the 15-yard penalty when ejections are overturned.