As all of you by now know, the SEC chose to suspend D.J. Swearinger for this weekend's key game against the Missouri Tigers in response to a violent head-to-head hit against a UAB receiver. I don't have too much of a beef with the decision in and of itself. Swearinger's hit was precisely the kind of thing that warrants a suspension under the new rules: Swearinger launched himself just before the receiver caught the ball and aimed for the head area, or at the very least didn't make a sufficient effort not to hit the receiver in the head area. It's a tough break for Swearinger, who, like many head-hunting safeties, is going to have to relearn how to punish receivers who try to make a catch over the middle. However, I can understand why the rule is in place, and I can see how it applies to Swearinger.
What I don't like about the whole situation is that Vandy's Andre Hal didn't receive a similar suspension for an arguably even more violent head-to-head hit against Carolina's Justice Cunningham. In fact, not only did the SEC not issue a suspension for that hit, but it spun some BS damage control today regarding its reasoning:
On replay, although contact was made to the receiver’s helmet, the primary contact from the Vanderbilt defender was to the shoulder area. The Vanderbilt defender never lowers his head and the contact is made with his facemask up looking at the South Carolina receiver. It was a foul because there was glancing contact to the receiver's helmet. In the UAB contest, based on video replays, the contact was initiated by a slight launch of the defender into the receiver and the primary contact was targeted directly into the receiver's facemask.
Come again (H/T Charlestowne)? The Vandy player clearly aimed for significant head-to-head contact, and he clearly launched. Really, not much different at all than Swearinger's play.
There are a lot of Carolina fans today speculating on conspiracy theories regarding the SEC attempting to undermine our chances in the East by unfairly issuing the suspension to Swearinger in order to make it more likely for us to lose to Mizzou. Like I said, I don't think the suspension is undeserved, so I'm not exactly on board with those conspiracy theories. That said, the SEC makes itself look more suspicious by spouting this nonsense about Hall's hit on Cunningham. It's hard for me to believe that the statement is anything other than willfully disingenuous. There's just no way to believe that the SEC office actually believes that statement. It's little wonder they're not trusted by many fans of the conference's institutions.