I have to admit I nearly shed some tears watching #27 Terrance Mitchell be ejected from the game a few moments ago in the Ducks’ season opener. I assume many of you just shouted, “What? What just happened? What did he do?. Don’t worry, I got you covered.
There are a whole lot of ins and outs, but basically, the NCAA enacted a new rule this season which calls for a player ejection for “Targeting” at defenseless player who initiates above-the-shoulder contact with a defenseless player with the crown of his helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder. The penalty also results in a 15 yrd. loss. As an added bonus, if the player is ejected in the second half of the game or during Overtime, he must then miss the first half of the following game. I’ve heard the rule discussed through the off season while covering fall camp, but quite honestly I didn’t realize the implications until now. Apparently we should all get used to watching players ejected from the game, and listening to some foul words from the crowd.
In an effort to keep players safer on the field, the rule basically gives the most dangerous type of contact the maximum penalty. Everyone seems to acknowledge there will be many instances where the penalty may not be obvious but called anyway. It’s also widely understood it may take a long time for players to adjust as many have been ingrained to put their head down and hit/tackle. The consensus is that the rule needs to be there regardless as player safety should be the main focus. That being said, watching a key player ejected in a game with National Championship or Bowl game implications will be a tough pill to swallow.