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Officiating video highlights safety, sportsmanship

7/24/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

CHICAGO -- Before the coaches started their interviews on the dais, the Big Ten played a 15-minute Points of Emphasis video to highlight elements that college football officials will follow this season.

Officials will focus on two areas this fall -- player safety and sportsmanship. The video showed examples of plays that demonstrate the fouls that will be called.

Regarding player safety, officials will focus on protecting defenseless players who are targeted above their shoulders or above the crown of their helmets. Fouls will result in a 15-yard penalty and possible ejection.

A new rule prohibits horse-collar tackles, grabbing the back or side collar of the jersey to bring down a player. Horse-collar tackles will be called only when defenders use them to immediately bring down ball carriers.

The player safety examples shown included:

  • A massive hit by Michigan State's Nehemiah Warrick to the helmet of Wisconsin wide receiver Kyle Jefferson in last year's game

  • A Bowling Green punt returner getting steamrolled by a Tulsa gunner

  • Minnesota safety Dominic Jones crushing Ohio State's Santonio Holmes in a helmet-to-helmet hit.

The unsportsmanlike conduct portion covered the fairly obvious displays -- taunting, high-stepping, end zone celebrations. These were some of the examples.

  • A Southern Miss defender spiking the ball after an interception

  • An Alabama player somersaulting into the end zone against Colorado

  • A player leaping into the stands and taking off his helmet after a touchdown, which can result in two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

  • USC's Desmond Reed somersaulting into the end zone against Illinois in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Reed's teammate, Fred Davis, also drew a flag for taunting after a touchdown.