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The 2019 SEC Football Media Days take place in Hoover, Alabama, on July 15-18, 2019. The event hosted all 14 SEC coaches along with several players from each team. (Photo/Daniela Rico)

At SEC Media Days, the head of the conference’s football officials took some time to speak about rule changes for the 2019-2020 season. 

Steve Shaw, coordinator of football officials, went through some of the greatest changes, and excerpts from his presentation were posted to the SEC Officiating Twitter page. 

The rules regarding the review of targeting calls has changed. This season, targeting calls made on the field will no longer “stand.” The call must be confirmed or overturned. 

To confirm a targeting call, all elements of a targeting foul must be confirmed. If all elements cannot be totally confirmed, the call is overturned. 

The rules of targeting are written separately for the foul’s two scenarios — a crown of the helmet tackle and a hit on a defenseless opponent. 

For a crown of the helmet call, “forcible contact with the crown of the helmet,” will be grounds for review, and the official only needs to spot one indicator of targeting to confirm the ruling. 

For a hit on a defenseless opponent, the receiver of the hit must be considered defenseless. The player must make clear contact with the head and neck area, which, by letter of the law, rules out hits made below the neck. 

And, an indicator of targeting must be present. 

The indicators of targeting were a launch, upward thrust, leading with a dangerous part of the body and lowering the head before attacking an opponent. 

Shaw made clear the law rests on the word “attacking.” The indicators of targeting serve as easy ways to determine whether a hitter is attacking their opponent. 

The launch and upward thrust will likely be seen against defenseless receivers. As players attempt to make big hits, they often leave their feet before making contact to the head and neck area. 

Leading with dangerous parts of the body and lowering the helmet will be often be seen when a normal tackle results in intentional contact to the head and neck area. 

Shaw said the new laws are intended to protect those being tackled as well as the players doing the tackling. And, if a single player receives three ejections for targeting over the course of the season, they must sit out the game after their third targeting ejection. 

“It’s not going to be everybody. But, we’re really trying to work on those players who need to work on their technique,” Shaw said. 

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