Big Ten responds to Penn State-Michigan targeting ejection
During Saturday’s Penn State at Michigan football game, a Penn State defensive player was ejected for targeting with 14:55 remaining in the second quarter. We do not find fault with the flag that was thrown by the on-field officials as they are instructed to prioritize player safety when making calls.
Targeting occurs when a player takes aim at an opponent, whether the crown of the helmet is used to make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent, or whether there is forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent that goes beyond making a legal tackle, a legal block, or playing the ball. In this particular play, the defender was making a legitimate attempt to get to the ball and, upon full review, the call of Targeting should have been reversed by the Replay Official.
Prior to the 2016 season, the NCAA granted additional authority to Replay Officials when reviewing on-field targeting calls by changing the standard of review. As a result, the Replay Official now has the authority to re-officiate and review all aspects of the on-field targeting call and in the absence of specific indicators identified by NCAA targeting standards, the Replay Official can reverse the on-field call. Additionally, Replay Officials have the ability, and responsibility, to independently review potential targeting plays that are egregious and not seen, or called, on the field.
Protecting the health and safety of our students will continue to be our highest priority.