On April 23, the NCAA announced changes to the targeting rule. While those common-sense changes improved the inconsistent and flawed rule, it remained an inconsistent and flawed rule, which led to Army defensive back Javhari Bourdeau's ejection in the Black Knights' loss to Michigan in Week 2.
With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a tied game, Michigan running back Christian Turner picked up six yards on 1st-and-10 from the Wolverines' own 22-yard-line. Near the end of the run, Turner was undercut by Jaylon McClinton, which sent Turner airborne.
While falling, Turner was walloped by Bourdeau:
Targeting wasn't called on the field but a booth-initiated replay review led to a 15-yard penalty and Bourdeau's ejection, which also carries a first-half suspension for their Week 3 game at UTSA.
According to the rule — "No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of his helmet. This foul requires that there be at least one indicator of targeting." — it was targeting. Bourdeau clearly made forcible contact against with an opponent with the crown of his helmet, as Fox Sports' rule analyst Dean Blandino noted on the broadcast. He also noted, when questioned by Joel Klatt, that there are no exceptions, though he appeared to concede an exception (e.g. Turner's body direction changed midair after Bourdeau already plotted his attack point) might make sense.
That's a joke.
It was joke when the NCAA instituted the rule in 2008. It was joke when the NCAA didn't fix the rule to allow for exceptions in 2009…or 2010…or 2011…or 2012…or 2013…or 2014…or 2015…or 2016…or 2017…or 2018…or now in 2019 when they approved changes to the targeting replay process but ignore this issue.
Did it cost Army the game? Tough to say. Michigan used the 15-yard penalty to march down the field before stalling on fourth down. At the very least, it kept an Army defender off the field for the game's remaining six minutes, and it may have impacted field position.
Regardless of its impact in Michigan's win, the NCAA must enact common-sense legislation to allow for exceptions when the offending player acting egregiously.