Jadeveon Clowney took home an ESPY award last week for his monstrous hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl. But if he does it again in 2013, the South Carolina defensive end could be sent home with an ejection.
While speaking with reporters at the Big 12 Media Days, former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said that he would be forced to eject Clowney under the new NCAA rule regarding targeting, as Steven Godfrey of SB Nation tweeted:
Just talked to @MikePereira at B12 Media Days, played him the Clowney hit. Under "When in doubt" he would've ejected him.— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) July 22, 2013
Earlier on Monday, Heath Cline of 107.5 The Game quoted an ACC official in saying that he, too, would have ejected Clowney for the hit:
ACC officiating supervisor just casually mentioned he would've ejected Clowney for Michigan hit, which was actually a clean hit. Good lord.— Heath Cline (@heathradio) July 22, 2013
The new NCAA rule, designed to reduce concussion-causing hits, requires officials to eject players for targeting the head of opponents.
Jason Kirk of SB Nation provided a transcript of Godfrey's conversation with Pereira, who now works as a rules analyst for FOX Sports:
Each conference has talked to their officials and the philosophy is when in doubt, throw.
They're trying to change the philosophy, and I'm OK with that to a degree, but it gets dangerous when you start talking about automatic ejections. Very marginal hits are going to lead to ejections that not only affect that game but the following game.
Godfrey and Pereira also analyzed the play in question, leading Pereira to conclude that Clowney more than likely would have been ejected for the hit:
Remember what you're dealing with in targeting. It's the crown of the head. Not simply the helmet, but the crown of your head [points to top of his head]. Not the forehead. You're looking for a guy hitting who is looking at the ground.
If I'm an official, based on 'when in doubt,' he's out. He's ejected. And when that goes to replay there's no way they overturn it. There's a great potential that hit causes an ejection this year.
While Clowney's infamous hit is in the past, the story regarding hits like it will be ongoing.
It is vital for the NCAA to prevent concussions and injuries on the field if at all possible. However, this new rule could end up changing the way the game is played in the process.
Clowney's hit was not only one of the most exciting plays of the college football season, but fans voted it the best play of the year across all sports at the 2013 ESPYs.
Fans will not be happy if this type of electrifying hit is taken out of the game.