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.