SEC suspends South Carolina’s Swearinger for ‘dangerous’ hit

For the second week in a row the Southeastern Conference suspended a player for what it considers to be a “flagrant and dangerous” hit against a defenseless opponent.

This time, though, the league didn’t punish a relatively anonymous player from one of the league’s second-tier teams. D.J. Swearinger, a senior safety for No. 7 South Carolina, will sit out his team’s game vs. Missouri Saturday after the SEC determined his hit on UAB’s Patrick Hearn violated rule Rule 9-1-4.

That rule states: “No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.”

No doubt the ruling will inspire some hand-wringing from Internet tough guys who believe these kind of rulings soften an inherently violent game. But take a look at the video above and it’s clear the suspension is justified because Swearinger launched into Hearn with a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit.

You can make a case that Elston’s suspension wasn’t warranted because the receiver saw the hit coming and there was no helmet-to-helmet contact (Elston wasn’t even penalized by refs). But Swearinger’s hit is the kind of play that can result in serious injury (Hearn, fortunately, was OK) and the SEC is right to regulate it.

This is at least one case in which college football administrators are actually looking out for the interests of players. Or, if you want to be cynical about it (which is always encouraged), it’s a smart effort by the NCAA to limit its liability and the subsequent bad press that follows debilitating injuries caused by dangerous plays.

“These rules are for the protection of the health and safety of our players on both sides of the ball,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. “It is imperative that our student-athletes understand the importance of this rule. Our motivation in making these decisions is to protect our student-athletes.”

89 comments Add your comment

Matt

September 17th, 2012
3:32 pm

nate from detroit

September 17th, 2012
3:35 pm

How long will it be before little Stevie whines and complains about this? His incessant whining about Georgia’s schedule vs. his, about how he has to play Arkansas, well that doesn’t look too daunting right now does it?

BullDawg Rick

September 17th, 2012
3:39 pm

Good call by the SEC..

dawgfan

September 17th, 2012
3:41 pm

I’m an internet tough guy and I think that was a dirty hit. Its a good rule. Just tackle the guy. You don’t need to put him in a coma to win the game.

Prometheus

September 17th, 2012
3:42 pm

Nate , don’t know you, but you are Internet board drivel. You come with an agenda the size of Tx., and look like a fool. This, and I don’t even like SCar.

DP

September 17th, 2012
3:59 pm

He’s lucky to get off with one game for that helmet to helmet assault. He should have gotten one for the hit, another one for the little skipping strut afterwards. Good for the SEC office acting on this even though it was done against an out of conference opponent.

I think they should make this type of play reviewable for the officials to see if it warrants an ejection from the game, which should have happened in this case.

Spanky

September 17th, 2012
4:03 pm

Nate, he already has! In an interview from Yahoo.com, he compared it to a personal foul called against an opponent who clipped a knee…citing that the guy didn’t get a game suspension. Yeah, his whine was a pretty stupid comparison!! BTW- When does he NOT whine?!

Prometheus- calm down,son!

Dawg1

September 17th, 2012
4:05 pm

Glad to see that they are protecting players. Right thing to do. UGA can get a little aggressive on Defense as well… It could just as easily happen with one of our kids.

It’s the right thing to do.

nate from detroit

September 17th, 2012
4:06 pm

Prometheus, don’t you realize I got the desired result. I enticed some mental giant to waste time typing a response to what was thrown out into cyberworld without an agenda the size of Tx. If you take the time to comment on things that to you seem foolish, what does that make you?

Devil's Advocate

September 17th, 2012
4:15 pm

They don’t teach wrap and tackle anymore? Young folks…

B

September 17th, 2012
4:16 pm

blainewiththebluescarf

September 17th, 2012
4:17 pm

Nate and Prometheus: You two go get a hotel room and let loose the manly lust you both have hidden way deep down inside yo’selves.

Go ahead now!

Dawglasville

September 17th, 2012
4:28 pm

You can’t have that. Some kid is going to get killed. The sport is violent enough. It is all about setting up the post play skip around, shaking your head up and down. That was old school Miami U. I didn’t see it. How did Stevie Wonder react? I truly believe that when he was at UF he would gladly take the 15 yards if a player was knocked out of a game.

Energy Vampire

September 17th, 2012
4:33 pm

Incessant means continuing without pause or interruption. I think Spurrier’s schedule observations began and ended at SEC media days.

Sounds like he’s not the one bothered so much about UGA’s weak schedule.

NotadawgfanSC

September 17th, 2012
4:35 pm

Apparently none of you all have played above H.S football. Yall keep checking on your fantasy league stats and quit crying about Spurrier. If the SEC is going to call this, then they need to go back and call the one during the Vandy S.C game. When the S.C tightend was rocked by the Vandy player and took his head off. Nothing was said even though a flag was thrown for same foul, the SEC did nothing. Spurrier has owned GA in the past few years and the SEC east as a matter of fact, so quit crying.

Tag

September 17th, 2012
4:41 pm

Yes, he should be suspended, maybe more than one game.

AltamahaDawg

September 17th, 2012
4:44 pm

Good rule, Right call. I think the SC player was just trying to make the big hit, which is part of the game. But Horsecollar tackles, facemast grabs, chop blocks are also part of the game. It is possible to regulate technique and players will adjust without ruining the intent of the game.

Mad Dog One

September 17th, 2012
4:45 pm

If you had got the call that my wife & I got today that out 14 year old grandson is having nose bleads & some memory loss and yes he is a reciver. This going for the head has to stop and if the collage game stops it and the struting around after hopefully it will stop in highschool also. This isn’t about sports it is about trying to hurt someone. People this is dangerous stuff. You can lay a lick on someone without this it is plain dirty football whom ever does it. Thank you for your time.

AltamahaDawg

September 17th, 2012
4:47 pm

How do you define, “owned”? or “Few” for that matter.

And are you saying the Vandy player should or should not have been suspended?

Dawglasville

September 17th, 2012
4:55 pm

NotadawgfanSC – “Spurrier has owned GA in the past few years and the SEC east as a matter of fact, so quit crying.”

What is your definition of, “few?”

marcus dupree

September 17th, 2012
5:01 pm

Yep pretty violent hit, no doubt about it. But the last time I checked no one is forcing any of these guys to play the game, just like no one if forcing anyone to box. If the NFL, NCAA really wanted to do something about helmet to helmet hits then take away the face mask.

marcus dupree

September 17th, 2012
5:04 pm

Flag Football here we come

GTfan

September 17th, 2012
5:07 pm

All part of the game.

DawgNole

September 17th, 2012
5:16 pm

Dawglasville
September 17th, 2012
4:55 pm

NotadawgfanSC – “Spurrier has owned GA in the past few years and the SEC east as a matter of fact, so quit crying.”

What is your definition of, “few?”
_________________

I also wonder what his definition of “owning the SEC East” is? SC sure as hell didn’t own it last season.

Woofy One

September 17th, 2012
5:25 pm

The head hits need to stop or there will be more injuries like the Tulane player. This is about serious life altering consequences.

Gary

September 17th, 2012
5:27 pm

CMR better be telling our guys to go for the chest. One of those cost us against OK State a few years back. Seemed to change the momentum of the game when we thought we had a good defensive play on on (I think it was) a third down long pass causing the receive to drop the ball and instead they get a first down half the distance from the goal. Anyway, got to teach the kids how to hit in the new world. That looked like a pretty nasty hit and I can see why they are trying to stop it, but soon it will be like the block to the back penalty. It is not about protecting kids anymore, minor contact now draws a flag on blocks to the back way outside of the play. Soon you will have to let the guy catch it, then be allowed to tackle.

Augusta Ramblinwreck

September 17th, 2012
5:27 pm

That ok he be back for the UGAY GAME and Spurrier will win again. He have beat Ga. like 10 out of 13 right.

Rick James

September 17th, 2012
5:27 pm

My money is on Missouri..SC ranks 97th in the nation in pass defense.

Gary

September 17th, 2012
5:31 pm

The only thing SC owns in the east is Steve’s visor and once it retires you guys are back at the bottom praying for wins against Vandy and Kentucky again. Pretty sure when you fail this year and Fail again next year you can start shopping for your replacement… Maybe Petrino is still available.

diiv

September 17th, 2012
5:37 pm

This suspension is clearly Slive’s ‘make up call’ for wrongfully suspending Elston.

We Run The East

September 17th, 2012
5:41 pm

Well, I was expecting a serious, flagrant fowl. laying a lick to a player is not a precise application. Both receiver and DM are moving in 3D space. Actuallly looked like he was trying to get more shoulder but just missed. And DawgNote, check final 2011 BCS standing to see who was best team in East last year! Not the Dawgs, but SC!

it is what it is

September 17th, 2012
5:46 pm

7th in the country my arse,…bunch of lunatics running this team

norris

September 17th, 2012
5:51 pm

that is a tough call. the guy didnt lead with his head. He was just trying to put a good lick on him. I am glad they want to protect the players but the calls have not been consistent at all.

Melvinov

September 17th, 2012
5:52 pm

That’s the way the game is going, prolly a good idea- this isn’t Mike Singletary’s era when he broke like 8 of his own helmets at Baylor

norris

September 17th, 2012
5:53 pm

the way they are trying to call penalties goes against everything a football player is taught to do his whole life.
I was taught my whole life to put my shoulder down and hit him. Now we get penalties because of the way the other guy responds.

Melvinov

September 17th, 2012
5:59 pm

ya getting called for hitting high is bogus, but leading w/ helmet can sure injure either player badly

sportzfan

September 17th, 2012
6:05 pm

@Dawglasville….”definition of few” would be three yrs in a row, and besides, Spurrier has always owned UGA.
@DawgNole….USC was undefeated in SEC East last year, so yes they were the best team in SEC East!
As far as Carolina player being suspended, he made the hit so he should be suspended, but USC has a great argument because the hit by a Vandy player in first game was much more violent and that player didn’t sit.

gt4ever

September 17th, 2012
6:19 pm

Looked like a good hit..

Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

September 17th, 2012
6:22 pm

As a USC graduate and fan I stand behind the SEC on this suspension. I saw the hit and it was nasty. No need for that kind of play knowing what we know about concussions.

Mike

September 17th, 2012
6:22 pm

The whole reason for hitting a receiver is to make him think twice about coming across the middle again. A really hard hit does exactly that. It’s a violent game and I hate to see a player get hurt but it’s part of the game. Keep changing these rules and we are playing flag football…..

Columbus

September 17th, 2012
6:23 pm

Athletes are so much stronger and faster today, the helmet is maybe more of a weapon than protection and when those helmets collide it is very dangerous obviously. I think thechnology needs to come up with a better helmet than protects but at the same time isnt a weapon. I know this is not feasible or sensible, but just giving an example, hard styrofoam can protect yet not be a weapon, I think they can come up with a material or device that can protect the head but when contact is made it isnt damaging as the helmets are currently. I mean we went from leather to what we have today and its all shiny and pretty and all but its too hard and takes and gives too much of an impact. There has got to be a better way….got to be.

gt4ever

September 17th, 2012
6:25 pm

exactly Mike… Flag football. But hey, the SEC will have the finest flag football in the land…

Sautee Dawg

September 17th, 2012
6:31 pm

Notadawgfan SC. We Run The East

And SC has played in the SEC championship games how many times?
SC has had how many 10 win seasons?
Regardless of who was coaching SC and who was coaching UGA, No coach from SC has ever had a winning record vs UGA.

mark

September 17th, 2012
6:35 pm

Crap call. Let them play Good hard clean shot…It is football.

We Run The East

September 17th, 2012
6:44 pm

SC recent history against UGA is much better than the all-time record. SC was favored in Athens last year. IN ATHENS. All you need to know about UGA’s slide vs SC.

mark

September 17th, 2012
6:44 pm

@notadawgfan you are delusional. S.C. has always been a second rate program. Spurrier doesnt change that. Some of you even think you grow better peaches. THAT is a real joke.

We Run The East

September 17th, 2012
6:45 pm

SC puts out way more peaches than does GA. Better, too. Look it up.

BehindEnemyLines

September 17th, 2012
6:55 pm

So he’s supposed to let him land & ask then maybe for permission to tackle him? Receiver in possession of the ball, the defender’s job is to stop him from advancing & he appears to have done that. B.S. call afaic.

Mark (another one)

September 17th, 2012
7:01 pm

Dirty shot that doesn’t belong. You can punish an opponent with a hard hit without targeting their head. That hit wasn’t football. It was with the intent to injure and a pattern could indicate a crime. And I old style football, the offense would have gotten the DB on a subsequent play. The game has grown beyond throwing dirt into a face or targeting knees.

fan

September 17th, 2012
7:02 pm

that jerk should be more than suspended…that could have been a serious injury.