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Post Bama’s Dial won’t be suspended…and that’s OK

Friday December 14, 2012

The SEC announced today that “Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial won’t be suspended for his disputed hit on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the SEC title game on Dec. 1.”

I’m not exactly sure what a “disputed hit” is. There was nothing disputed about the excessive shot Dial put on Murray. SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw admitted that “we missed the call.” There’s no question that the hit broke the NCAA rule that “No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent.” The SEC didn’t say today that the hit was clean and legal; they just ruled that it didn’t merit a suspension.

A suspension isn’t a do-over. I know a lot of Georgia fans feel that no suspension means that Dial got away with the hit…and he did, then and now. Review by the league office isn’t a way to make up for penalties that should have been called. If that were the case, half the conference would have been suspended by the league office at one time or another. If Dial’s hit were flagrant enough to merit a suspension – penalty or not – then the league should have taken action. I’m not so sure it wasn’t anything beyond your garden variety cheap shot though. Georgia was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty against Alabama’s quarterback during the game, and Alec Ogletree won’t be suspended either.

We can debate whether the hit on Murray rose to the level of the hits that got Trae Elston and D.J. Swearinger suspended earlier in the year. The consistency in judgement calls like this is a whole other topic.

The league also said that “all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two institutions,” meaning that the likelihood of Dial missing the BCS Championship game is zero.

4 Responses to 'Bama’s Dial won’t be suspended…and that’s OK'

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  • This was an illegal hit, it changed the outcome of the game and was made in a violent manner with consequential intent to knock the quarterback out of the game. How else can you interpret what happened? If the SEC onsistently interpreted and applied its policy, Dial should have been suspended for the next game he played – that would be the national championship game. As I recall, he is a senior so this was the last chance for the league to discipline a player who flagrantly violated the rules. While we can’t “divine” what was in Dial’s mind when he lowered his helmet and “The Boom” on Murray, he was, as most Alabama apologists readily admit, making a football play. Anyone who has played football, especially on the defensive side of the ball, knows that your goal is to render the opposing player ineffective on that play and, if it happens, for the rest of the game.

    That said, there should be no question that Dial gets suspended for the national championship game. The fact that the SEC waited so long to announce that it was doing nothing only emboldens conspiracy theorists who claim there is one set of rules for Alabama and another set for the rest of the league. Dial was wrong, the play was brutal, there is no question from viewing the play that he intended to knock Murray out of the game. And there should have been no hesitation on the part of the SEC, and failing their action, the Alabama football program, to suspend him. Of course, football is more important that breathing in Tuscaloosa so the chances of that happening were about as good as Obama and the Republicans agreeing on tax policy.

    This is clearly a case where a blown call – whether deliberate or not – affected the outcome of the game, potentially could have caused a career-ending injury and one where there was blatant favoritism shown toward Alabama by the SEC.

    In this day and age, player safety and multi-million dollar personal injury lawsuits for traumatic brain injury trump tired arguments about “it’s just part of the game” and “winning at all costs.” Actions speak louder than words and the SEC took a step backwards today in their self-professed campaign to protect players. We’ll see if there are long-term repurcussions.

    If the SEC consistently applies today’s interpretation to their policy next year, any SEC quarterback who throws an interception and is still on the field during a return should be worried about keeping their head attached to their body. Unless they play for Alabama.

  • Also, consider the circumstances in the game at that time. If Alabama is penalized, they likely don’t drive down the field and kick the field goal. If you recall, Saban made severa gaffes during the drive following the interception – like failing to call time out.

    Assuming everything else happens as it did in that game the rest of the way, Georgia gets the ball back down 1 – not 4, is not forced to try to score a touchdown and kicks a game-winning field goal.

    That’s why blown calls matter!

  • I agree totally with the response from Rivercitykid above 110 percent on this!

  • And for the record, it’s not OK that dial doesnt get suspended!