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It took the SEC a few days to suspend Ole Miss freshman defensive back Trae Elston for the Rebels' home game against No. 14 Texas because of a hit in Ole Miss' win over UTEP on Sept. 8.
After reviewing game tapes of Ole Miss' 28-10 win over UTEP, the conference deemed Elston's hit on wide receiver Jordan Leslie at the 3:18 mark in the fourth quarter to be "flagrant and dangerous." Elston led with his head and shoulder to hit Leslie near the goal line on an incomplete pass that sailed by both players. Just before UTEP quarterback Nick Lamaison's pass reached the goal line, Leslie pulled up as if to brace for Elston's hit. Leslie was on the ground for several minutes before getting up.
According to a statement from the SEC, Elston's hit was in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA rulebook. "No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder," the rule reads. Also, Rule 9-1-3 states, "No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet." The suspension is in accordance with the SEC Constitution, Article 4.4.2 (d), which states that a student-athlete may be suspended if it is determined that the student-athlete has committed a flagrant or unsportsmanlike act.
And that, all of my Tide apologists, is why Mr. Dial should be suspended for the national championship game. Why is it taking Mr. Slive and Co. so much time to do the right thing and announce their decision? Dial's hit was a flagrant and unsportsmanlike act. End of story. End of debate.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Bama’s Dial “Getting A lot Of Heat” Over Hit On UGA’s Murray, But Will He Get A Suspension?
All of the Tide apologists ignore a basic fact. This was an illegal hit, it changed the outcome of the game and was made in a violent manner with consequential intent to knock the quarterback out of the game. How else can you interpret what happened? If the SEC consistently interprets and applies its policy, Dial should be suspended for the next game he plays - that would be the national championship game, I believe. As I recall, he is a senior so this is the last chance for the league to discipline a player who flagrantly violated the rules. While we can't "divine" what was in Dial's mind when he lowered his helmet and "The Boom" on Murray, he was, as most Alabama apologists readily admit, making a football play. Anyone who has played football, especially on the defensive side of the ball, knows that your goal is to render the opposing player ineffective on that play and, if it happens, for the rest of the game.
That said, there should be no question that Dial gets suspended for the national championship game. The fact that the SEC has waited this long to announce it's decision leads conspiracy theorists to conclude that they are developing some creative rationale, just like the Cam Newton decision last year, to justify allowing Dial to play in the NC game. Dial was wrong, the play was brutal, there is no question from viewing the play that he intended to knock Murray out of the game and there should be no hesitation on the part of the SEC, and failing their action, the Alabama football program. Of course, football is more important that breathing in Tuscaloosa so the chances of that happening are about as good as the Congress agreeing on tax policy.
You can call it part of football all you want, but players and coachers in the SEC should know the rules. A safety for Ole Miss received a 1-game suspension from the SEC for a hit on a receiver in the chest that was not flagged in a non-conference game earlier this year. As Mr. Shaw has pointed out, this has been and should always be a point of emphasis for the officials. We all know what is going in the NFL right now with the lawsuits over concusssions and traumatic brain injuries. If you roll the tape you show above a few seconds longer, you'll see an SEC pinstriper come into view only a few feet to the right of Murray staring directly at this play. Now either that official is completely incompetent, or this gives rise to the conspiracy theorists who say that the SEC will do anything to ensure that the millions keep rolling in and that Alabama goes to the NC game. I'm not that venile or jaded, but something needs to be done about SEC officiating. For a conference that claims to be the best in college football, more time needs to be devoted to the officiating product that is out on the field.
Alabama apologists will say it was just a hit and that is football, but consider the circumstances in the game. If Alabama is penalized, they likely don't score the field goal. Assuming everything else happens as it did in that game the rest of the way, Georgia gets the ball back and drives down the field for a game-tying field goal, is not forced to score a touchdown and has a chance to win in overtime. This is clearly a case where a blown call - whether deliberate or not - affected the outcome of the game, potentially could have caused a career-ending injury and one where we are still waiting to learn whether the SEC will do the right thing and at least suspend the Alabama player for the game.
If you roll the tape in that game, Dial and his team mates were grinning ear to ear, slapping each other on the back and yucking it up on the sidelines afterwards for a clear helmet to helmet hit on a defenseless quarterback who was looking up field at the play. In most other circumstances, it happens on offense when at least the player who is on the receiving end can lower his head. Good thing that Murray spent some time in the weight room and had an extra good set of neck muscles. Otherwise, the violence of that hit might have caused some permanent damage. In this day and age, player safety and multi-million dollar personal injury lawsuits trump tired arguments about "it's just part of the game" and "winning at all costs." We'll see if Mr. Slive and Co. have the courage to do the right thing in this case.