Comparisons were under way Tuesday between the Trae Elston hit against UTEP that drew a 1-game suspension from the SEC for the freshman Ole Miss defensive back and the hit by the Alabama defender — the body slam — against the Missouri running back late in a blowout for the Tide over the weekend.
See for yourself.
CBSSports.com sums up the event here — including video. The Tuscaloosa News has the SEC response here. There’s much more at the link, but here’s the main part: “The NCAA Football playing rules call for mandatory conference review following specific fouls. The SEC has been diligent in reviewing plays that by rule involve the initiation of contact and targeting defenseless opponents to the head and neck area. The conference maintains constant communication with head coaches on matters of penalty violations during the season. In the first instance discipline for violations involving non-NCAA-required automatic conference review are to be handled by the institution subject to the approval of the league office.”
You can visit the law office of your choice to help sift through that, but by issuing that response the SEC says, I suppose, that it’s comfortable with the idea that the running back was not defenseless, the contact did not involve the head and neck area and that it is confident in the institution to handle the matter.
Strong commentary from the CBS guys in the booth and more video here: LINK
Here’s the video of the Trae Elston hit. South Carolina DB D.J. Swearinger has also been suspended this season.
I am reminded of an Andy Griffith episode here in which Andy discusses with Barney the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.
Seems like intent should be considered somewhere. I don’t think the Alabama player — LaMichael Fanning — had intent to harm. The intent was to show off. But it was a decision made with disregard for the safety of the Missouri player, Russell Hansbrough.
Contact with the head was not initiated at the beginning of the play. Contacted with the head occurred, though, when Hansbrough was bounced on the turf.
The SEC is right to make player safety a top priority. When you get into player suspensions, comparisons are inevitable, and the right answer might not always be black and white.