High schools keep eye on new NCAA football rule


The NCAA is trying to curb concussions on the football field this fall and some say high schools should follow suit.

A new rule allows for an immediate ejection for targeting a defenseless opponent above the shoulders.

The NCAA has already had a "when in doubt, hold them out" policy when it comes to concussions, but starting in 2013, that will work in conjunction with a new "when in doubt, throw them out" rule on the field.

"I think a lot of these are seen at the college level, but it happens all the time in high school and they just get away with it. I think it should be something we crack down on," said Derek Foresman.

Foresman was watching tennis Monday at Heritage Christian High School, a sport he says he might encourage his future children to play. He suffered two concussions while playing high school football.

"Ended my football career. I stopped playing afterwards. Part my decision, part my mom's. I can't imagine how that would be for a parent to go through that," Foresman said.

The new NCAA rule mandates an ejection for any player who targets a defenseless opponent with a hit above the shoulders. Ironically, technology that makes that rule enforceable at the college and possibly the pro level is the hindrance to implementation at the high school level.

"I don't think, at the high school level, we will see this happen for a long time because of the technology challenges, (that) not only IHSAA faces, but all state associations would experience that challenge," said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said.

But Cox adds that this new rule does underscore the seriousness of the issue.

"It all speaks to the notion that this is an important issue and we need to continue to be diligent on this issue and continue to look for new and innovative ways to protect young people," said Cox.

"I think it's a great rule. I think that is something they should have put into sports, especially football, a long time ago," Foresman agreed.

USA Football, which is located in Indianapolis and helps set the rules for high school football, says the NCAA's announced rule change is a culture change for the better.