Sam Houston State linebacker Darius Taylor has been suspended for one game by the Southland Conference on Monday, sitting him out for the game on Saturday against Lamar.

The league reviewed a play from the second half of the Bearkats’ game against Nicholls on Oct. 13, of a hit on a receiver running across the middle the field. The play was not flagged at the time the hit happened, but following video review, the conference determined the hit was “targeting and initiating contact to the head or neck area of defenseless players.”

 “As called for by the NCAA playing rules, and after a review of video, the conference has confirmed the violations as targeted hits to head and neck area of a defenseless player, thus the student-athletes are subject to the suspension,” Southland commissioner Tom Burnett said. “The Southland always strives to ensure the safety and well-being of its student-athletes and will adhere to all NCAA playing rules during competition.”

Taylor is second on the team in tackles with 45 and has a team leading five sacks. He also leads Southland Conference with 11.5 tackles for a loss. Sam Houston appealed the ruling, but was denied by the Southland Conference Executive Committee.

“It is an unfortunate decision forcing Darius to miss a game,” said SHSU director of athletics Bobby Williams. “We disagree with the ruling that this was a targeted hit. We asked the league to take a second look at the play in comparison to other similar hits that went unpunished this season and were denied on the appeal.”

The Southland Conference Executive Committee is led by president Brad Teague, athletics director at Central Arkansas. Also on the committee is vice president Bridget Martin, assistant athletics director at McNeese State University and secretary-treasurer Hsing-Wei Chu, faculty representative from Lamar University.

The NCAA football playing rules require conferences to automatically review video of unnecessary roughness acts that target the head or neck to determine if additional sanctions are necessary, whether or not officials call a penalty at the time.