Last month, it was reported that the SEC would leave Quinton Dial’s punishment up to the Alabama Crimson Tide when it came to how his hit on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray would be handled. As expected, Alabama will not be suspended or discipline one of their best defensive players for the National Championship game this Monday against the Notre Dame Irish.
The hit on a defenseless Murray is still debated today, with Alabama fans claiming it was a clean and legal hit, and others saying that the hit was uncalled for, as the play was happening downfield.
What defendants of Dial point out, is that Murray had just thrown an interception, and was therefore a potential tackler on the play. All Dial was doing as throwing a block, thus taking Murray out of the play as a defender.
However, those bothered by the hit note that Dial’s helmet makes contact with that of Murray’s and that the viciousness of the hit was uncalled for given where Murray was in relation to the ball carrier. Upon a frame by frame replay, it’s clear that Dial lowers his head and leads with his crown when going in to hit Murray even as much as Alabama fans don’t want to believe it.
Clear contact is made between Dial’s helmet and Murray’s helmet, there is no logical or intellectual way of denying it.
Nevertheless, there was no way that Alabama was suspending Dial for the hit when they didn’t have to. That doesn’t mean the hit was legal, it just means that Alabama is taking advantage of a situation they’d be moral to oblige.
If Dial was not leading with his head, he could have lowered his body more than he did. Instead, he seems to have deliberately lead with the crown of his helmet, which is a hit the NCAA has made an example of numerous times this season.
But the SEC is it’s own government and because it’s the NCAA’s biggest football conference, it wasn’t going to be bossed around. Dial’s hit was malicious, but Alabama can’t be told what to do and the NCAA’s limp power is on full display when it comes to the discipline of Dial.