The Southeastern Conference will take no action for one of the most flagrant fouls since Nick Fairley speared Aaron Murray.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, the SEC decided not to punish Alabama defensive end LaMichael Fanning for body-slamming Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough during the Tide’s 42-10 win Saturday.
The SEC office issued a statement on the matter Tuesday:
“The NCAA Football playing rules call for mandatory conference review following specific fouls. The SEC has been diligent in reviewing plays that by rule involve the initiation of contact and targeting defenseless opponents to the head and neck area. The conference maintains constant communication with head coaches on matters of penalty violations during the season. In the first instance discipline for violations involving non-NCAA-required automatic conference review are to be handled by the institution subject to the approval of the league office.”
The play happened in the final minutes of the game. Fanning had stopped Hansbrough on a running play, then picked him up and slammed him to the ground on his head. He was called for a personal foul. Missouri’s offensive line appeared to target Fanning on the next two plays, driving him downfield and knocking him to the ground.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Fanning, a 6-7 298-pound freshman, used “very, very poor judgment” and ordered him to write a letter of apology to Hansbrough and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel.
“I think this is a young player who’s excited about getting into the game, makes very, very poor judgment on making that play,” Saban said. “It’s something that we don’t condone here. It’s not how we want our players to play.”
In the 2010 Auburn-Georgia game, Fairley speared Murray in the back with his helmet several seconds after the Georgia quarterback threw a pass. He was called for a personal foul but was not disciplined by the SEC. Auburn coach Gene Chizik also took no action against Fairley.