According to The Telegraph out of Georgia, the SEC has decided not to suspend Alabama's Quinton Dial after the ferocious hit the senior defensive lineman put on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. He will in fact be able to play in the national championship against Notre Dame without suffering any consequences.
Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News was one of the first to report the decision:
SEC office statement after review of SEC Ch Game: Ala and UGa will handle any action internally. Means no BCS suspension for Quinton Dial.— Kevin Scarbinsky (@KevinScarbinsky) December 14, 2012
Shame on the SEC.
For the folks out there who are unfamiliar with the hit, below is a video of the cheap shot. Before watching it, make sure there are no kids in the room that strive to play the game of football.
Murray had just thrown an interception and was more of a spectator on the play than anything. He wasn't involved in a play that was pretty much over before he was knocked into a different zip code. Dial saw his chance to take out a quarterback that wasn't paying attention and simply unloaded on him.
You can see in the video where he squares him up and then drives all of his force into the head and neck area. This wasn't a case of Dial taking out a potential tackler, this was somebody singling out the smallest guy on the field and getting in a cheap shot. Defensive players love to get their hands on quarterbacks, and Dial saw an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
Not only was there no flag on the play, but now there is no suspension.
Should Quinton Dial have been suspended?
The game of football is a sport that is drastically changing before our eyes. In the NFL, we see players fined weekly for hits near the head area and cheap shots on "defenseless players." I don't know what your definition of defenseless would be, but I would think Murray slow-motioning toward the sidelines would fall under the definition.
Grown men are being penalized and considered dirty when hits like this take place on the field. The ongoing research into concussions is one of the main reasons for trying to implement player safety and removing these plays from the game.
If guys that are paid to play this game are being penalized, why was there nothing done after the hit on Murray?
After all, these college kids are the future of the next level. If they don't learn at a young age that there are consequences for their actions, it becomes difficult to break the cycle. If Dial was on one of the 32 NFL teams, he would have at least received a hefty fine and possibly a suspension.
Stewart Mandel of SI.com makes the same point—Dial would have been forced to give up a large sum of money if he played professionally.
At the college level, Dial is a free man and will be able to participate in the biggest game of the year.
It's a poor decision by the SEC, as this just goes to show that the game itself is more important than player safety and doing what is right.