SEC officials are under fire for a decision made during Saturday night’s game between LSU and Auburn. The crew calling the game decided to announce a penalty before a player who was carted off of the field had even made his way into the tunnel.
LSU cornerback Sevyn Banks suffered a scary injury on the opening kickoff. The senior went to make a tackle on the Auburn kick returner and made headfirst contact.
Banks was loaded onto a stretcher with a head and neck injury. He was stabilized, carted off of the field and transported to a local hospital. Fortunately, he was responsive as he was being lifted on the backboard. Banks was later cleared to leave the hospital.
Banks was back with the LSU team after the game.
Unfortunately, the moment in which Banks was carted off was only made worse by the officiating crew. Before he had even reached the tunnel, the head referee made his way out onto the field and announced that the injured player had been called for targeting.
The timing of the SEC officiating crew’s announcement could not have been worse.
Banks, who was left motionless on the field, was being applauded by both fanbases as everybody in the stadium wished him well. The energy in the building was tense.
And then the official announced that he was being penalized for targeting. Jordan-Hare Stadium broke out into a chorus of boos. Even Auburn fans understood the severity of the moment and felt that the officiating crew was wrong for its decision to call Banks for a penalty in that moment.
The cart had not even made its way out of sight. Had the officials waited just another couple of minutes, Banks would have been off of the field. The fans, players and coaches would have had a moment to digest and comprehend the severity of the moment before the focus immediately shifted back to football.
More importantly, however, Banks would have been granted some semblance of privacy. His condition was completely unknown at the time and the officials were wrong for not waiting for the injured player to leave the field.