University of South Carolina free safety D.J. Swearinger has been suspended by the Southeastern Conference for a flagrant hit during Saturday's 49-6 win over UAB.
Swearinger will be ineligible to play for the Gamecocks against Missouri.
A personal foul was called against Swearinger after he launched into UAB's Patrick Hearn while breaking up a pass in the third quarter Saturday. The side of Swearinger's helmet crashed into Hearn's facemask. Both players stayed in the game.
The action, according to the SEC, is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, "No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder."
The NCAA Football Rules Committee and the SEC have made protection of defenseless players a point of emphasis for the 2012 season.
The NCAA Football Rule Book requires a conference to automatically initiate a video review for possible additional sanctions before the next scheduled game.
"These rules are for the protection of the health and safety of our players on both sides of the ball," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "It is imperative that our student-athletes understand the importance of this rule. Our motivation in making these decisions is to protect our student-athletes."
On Sunday, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said a Vanderbilt player was given a 15-yard penalty but no suspension for a similar hit against Gamecocks tight end Justice Cunningham.
Spurrier says the NCAA should also protect quarterbacks after they release a pass. Gamecocks QB Connor Shaw was knocked out of the UAB game.
Swearinger had three tackles, a pass deflection and returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown against UAB.
Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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