By Meliyah Venerable / Delta Sports Editor
According to the NCAA Rulebook, ” ‘Targeting’ means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball.” In College football, a called targeting penalty results in a 15-yard penalty, and the player charged is ejected from the game.
But what happens when there is accidental targeting that gets called? Where there was no way to prevent head-to-head contact. For instance, when a defensive player is in mid-tackle and the quarterback dives. There is no way to prevent collision and the player is removed for playing defense or being “aggressive”.
When you are in a goalline situation, the player mentality becomes do or die. You have the offensive side doing whatever it takes to score, and the defensive side doing whatever they can to keep them from scoring. When a skill player has the ball and takes that dive to reach the endzone, it is that defensive player’s job to make that tackle.
Tackling correctly or legally requires the player to drop their shoulder, and drive through the midsection of the body. But when you have that offensive player that leaves the upright position with their feet off of the ground, how does one tackle them in the “correct” place if you are both dropping your head, or even if you are in mid tackle position.
There are no doubt situations when players are in fact playing dirty and tackling with the intention of injury. Those players do deserve the ejection from the game. But when there is no way to prevent head-to-head contact it is unfair for players to receive ejections.
I believe the way to fix this issue is to review every called targeting situation. Watch to see if there is intent behind the tackle, or if it is in fact nonintentional. If the defensive player is just making the tackle, and he has no way to prevent the illegal contact he should not be ejected. Instead, the team should just be charged with the 15-yard penalty and give the player a warning.