I had a chance to sit down with Idaho State athletic director Jeff Tingey Wednesday afternoon. I am putting a couple of stories together based on what I asked him, but I wanted to share a couple of nuggets beforehand.
Former Highland High School and Idaho State football player Merril Hoge is returning to Pocatello Thursday, as most of us know. Although the ISU’s athletic department didn’t have a hand in securing the visit, Tingey is glad to have him in town once again.
“This was something outside of athletics,” he said. “Some of his friends, I believe, up at the hospital, got him to come back. To Merril, welcome back. We’re happy to see you.”
Hoge will speak Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. He will discuss his motto or philosophy, which also the title of his book, ‘Find a Way.’ Hoge, whose NFL career ended partly because of concussions suffered, is a big proponent of protecting football players from such injuries. He is also scheduled to talk about that.
In relation to Hoge’s visit and presentation, there has been a lot of talk on Twitter, ESPN, etc. regarding the new targeting rule in college football. The idea is the same — don’t target a defenseless player with the crown of the helmet — but the penalty is new. The player is automatically ejected (pending video review, but only at the FBS level).
I asked Tingey what he thought about the new targeting rule.
“Especially with all of the new research and findings coming out on concussions and career-ending injuries, anything that we can do to protect the student-athletes greater, I’m all for it,” he said. “There are those who are for it and those who are against it, but I’m for them. I see them as protection. That’s what we want. We want everyone to be safe. We don’t want a two-second injury, two months from now, to affect somebody for the rest of their life. We want to protect them better.”
Look for more from Tingey in the next week or so as I put together a pair of stories. He told me some great stuff.
Also, I will talk to Hoge Thursday and will have more from him at that time.