DALLAS -- Walt Anderson said this morning that big hits are a part of football and should be celebrated. Then he spent a half hour explaining why some of those hits will now be cause for ejection.
There's a fine line there, the Big 12's supervisor of officials said during the league's football media days. What constitutes crossing it, however, is likely to be a point of contention throughout the coming college football season.
"You're going to have big hits in football and there's nothing wrong with that. We need to be celebrating big hits,'' Anderson said. "But what we don't want to celebrate, and we've got to get out of, is this culture of the targeting actions where really we're celebrating an illegal act and a potentially very dangerous act.''
Beginning this season, college football officials can eject a player for targeting, which is an illegal hit. Last year the act carried just a 15-yard penalty, which still stands.
There is a safety valve, though. The ejection part of the call is reviewable by the replay official. He can't overturn the penalty but he can overturn the ejection.
Anderson said officials will call targeting most often in four cases: hits on receivers, roughing the passer, hits on ball carriers and blind-side blocks. Aspects of a potential targeting call will include launching off the ground at a player, thrusting toward him, striking with the head or arms and using the crown of the helmet.
In other words, it's more complicated than simply helmet-to-helmet contact.
"There's a lot of helmet-to-helmet contact in a football game. As a matter of fact, in most of the helmet-to-helmet contact in a football game, the vast majority of that is perfectly legal. It's not a foul, shouldn't be called,'' Anderson said. "It's the intentional helmet-to-helmet contacts or other body parts to the helmet that we're working to try to eliminate.''