Aug 31, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears linebacker Chris McCain (40) and Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter (2) after the ball is released during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Cal player reinstated by Pac-12 after targeting penalty

One of the biggest talking points coming out of the first weekend of the 2013 college football season was undoubtedly the new penalties for targeting a defenseless player and the frequency in which those penalties have been called.

At least six players, including Texas A&M’s Deshazor Everett and Oregon’s Terrance Mitchell, were flagged for targeting, with five missing the remainder of their respective games due to the strict new rules.  Three of those violators were to be suspended for the first half of their next game because their infractions happened in the second half.  One of those players however managed to escape suspension due to an error from the official’s in reviewing the play as per required in the new NCAA rules.

The Pac-12 announced Monday night that Cal’s Chris McCain will be permitted to play “during the entirety” of Saturday’s game against Portland State.  McCain had been penalized for roughing the passer in the second half of the opener with Northwestern. CollegeFootballTalk reported on Tuesday. 

The defensive lineman was reinstated, though, due to what the conference described as “a failure in the replay process.”  Per the new targeting rules, all plays flagged as such are to be reviewed by the replay official; that did not occur, so obviously McCain’s suspension had to be voided by the Pac-12.

The Pac-12 explained the ruling as follows:

However, because of a technical failure and resulting breakdown in communication, the play in question was not actually reviewed after the replay official was made aware that McCain had been ejected for Targeting. Because the Targeting penalty was not reviewed at the time, the Pac-12 Conference has reviewed the play and determined that McCain should have been reinstated into the game. The review confirmed that the Roughing the Passer penalty was properly enforced.

Under NCAA Rules, ejections for Targeting that are confirmed by replay are not reviewable by the Conference or NCAA. However, this circumstance provided a very narrow exception because the ejection was not actually confirmed by replay. The Pac-12 has been in communication with the National Coordinator of Officiating and both parties are in agreement that under this limited exception, the Conference should reinstate McCain.

The Pac-12 noted in its release that the replay crew working the Cal-Northwestern game has been disciplined.

“Kudos to those guys for recognizing their was a mistake and correcting it,” Cal head coach Sonny Dykes said Monday. “ There’s a lot of conference offices that wouldn’t have had a enough guts to do what they did. So I applaud the Pac-12.”

The targeting penalties are going to be around all season and are a reality in our new concussion aware culture. Expect more of these type of stories every week in the NCAA this season.

Tags: NCAA NCAA Football NCAAF Pac-12

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