Boise State starting safety Winston Venable has been suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against New Mexico State for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State's James Rodgers last weekend.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson announced the suspension Wednesday during a conference call. Benson had initially suspended Venable for the entire game. But Boise State appealed to the WAC sportsmanship committee, which cut the suspension to half a game.
The hit knocked the Oregon State receiver out of the game with a concussion, though it did not draw a penalty. Tape of the hit was sent to Benson for review. Under NCAA rules, commissioners must review all helmet-to-helmet hits. Benson also asked Dave Parry, NCAA coordinator of officiating, and NCAA secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding to review the play as well.
Both officials deemed the hit to be a flagrant personal foul, which would have required automatic ejection had a flag been thrown.
Venable will receive a letter from Benson, informing him of the suspension and warning him that future helmet-to-helmet hits may result in further suspensions.
The WAC and Mountain West also reviewed a low block Nevada offensive lineman John Bender delivered to BYU defensive tackle Romney Fuga in last weekend's game. Both conferences ruled the hit didn't violate NCAA football rules so no further action is required. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall complained about the hit, saying it wasn't a "positive football play." Fuga is out for the season after tearing two ligaments in his knee on the play.