FORT WORTH —
FORT WORTH — Of the seemingly endless number of topics discussed at the annual Texas High School Coaches Association “Coaching School” meetings this week, perhaps none is as significant as a new safety measure for football that the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has taken a firm stance on.
Targeting, defined as when a player hits an opponent high in the chest, using the crown of his helmet, or tackling made by helmet-to-helmet contact, will now carry a 15-yard penalty against the offending team, and will also result in the culprit being ejected for the remainder of the game.
The UIL often mirrors the NCAA in drafting and implementing various rules, but in this case the UIL's version is slightly different than that of the NCAA.
Whereas the NCAA mandate calls for a player that is flagged in the second half of a game for targeting to be ejected from the remainder of the game and forces the guilty player to miss the first half of the team's next game as well, the UIL rule simple states that the offending player be ejected from the game — no additional penalty will be included.
“The targeting foul will still be called the same way its called,”UIL athletic director Mark Cousins said in a media release. “But we are going to litigate the penalties.”
And while the new rule could put the game officials in the spotlight in some cases since there is no video replays used at the high school level in Texas, the UIL's stance seems to be if an error is made it is to be made on the side of caution.
Some college coaches, including Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has gone on record expressing a concern about the rule being correctly enforced due to the ramifications on the game of having players ejected.
Currently NCAA Division II and Division II schools are already operating under essentially the same targeting rule as the UIL has adapted.
“Coaching School” is scheduled to wrap up today at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
NOTE: Attempts to reach Jacksonville head coach Chris Taber and Rusk head coach Ted Patton for comment on this topic Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.