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October 17, 2012TUSCALOOSA | The Southeastern Conference will not suspend University of Alabama defensive end LaMichael Fanning for a controversial tackle in the final minutes of UA's 42-10 road win over Missouri on Saturday, The Tuscaloosa News has learned.
Fanning, a redshirt freshman, flipped Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough on Saturday, resulting in both players landing on their heads.
On Tuesday, the SEC office issued the following statement on the matter:
"The NCAA Football playing rules call for mandatory conference review following specific fouls. The SEC has been diligent in reviewing plays that by rule involve the initiation of contact and targeting defenseless opponents to the head and neck area. The conference maintains constant communication with head coaches on matters of penalty violations during the season. In the first instance, discipline for violations involving non-NCAA-required automatic conference review are to be handled by the institution subject to the approval of the league office."
The SEC has suspended two players previously this season for illegal tackles, but those were of a helmet-to-helmet nature, which doesn't apply to Fanning. The play drew the ire of Missouri fans when the tackle was replayed on the Faurot Field video board, and Missouri's offensive line appeared to target Fanning for two plays thereafter. UA coach Nick Saban admonished Fanning for the play in his news conference Monday, saying that his concerns about Fanning would be "managed internally." Fanning has played only sparingly this season and has made four tackles.
Saban indicated Fanning has written letters of apology to both Hansbrough and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. Saban said he spoke to Pinkel about the incident Sunday.
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.