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Instant replay likely in the SEC in 2005


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The Southeastern Conference hopes to begin using instant replay to avoid game-turning officiating blunders in 2005, but the system wouldn’t necessarily have made a difference in the two most controversial miscalls last season. The league’s coaches favored implementing instant replay for next season at a meeting in January, and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive anticipates approval from athletic directors and presidents in March.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee recommended last Wednesday that member conferences and schools be allowed to use instant replay on an experimental basis for the 2005 season, as the Big Ten did last year.

The SEC certainly had two high-profile miscalls last season. However, upon further review, a clock-management mistake in the Florida-Tennessee game and a pass interference that wasn’t called in Alabama-LSU might not have been reviewable by instant replay.


Even if instant replay wouldn’t have fixed those mistakes, Slive said the SEC coaches didn’t voice any big concerns about the change.

“They understood it’s not the NFL system," he said. “Anybody who starts thinking about instant replay for the first time thinks about the NFL system.

“They understand the system we’re looking at doesn’t have coaches making calls to review or officials making the call to review. At this point in time we expect it to be done from the booth."

That was the Big Ten’s method last season after receiving permission from the NCAA to experiment with instant replay for all of its televised games at conference stadiums. A technical adviser watched the game from the press box and notified officials on the field via pager if he saw something questionable. Play was halted while the adviser reviewed the call using video from the television feed, and reviewable calls could be overturned only if there was “indisputable video evidence."

The Big Ten said replay was used in 28 of the 57 games last season. Of the 43 calls questioned, 21 were overturned. Slive sent the SEC’s supervisor of officials, Bobby Gaston, and a former referee to a Big Ten game last season to study the system.

Among the issues still to be determined is whether the SEC would use instant replay in nonconference games if the schools give approval. Slive said SEC athletic directors “have been very supportive and positive" in informal conversations.

“I anticipate a formal approval for us to move ahead," he said.


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" Slive sent the SEC’s supervisor of officials, Bobby Gaston, and a former referee to a Big Ten game last season to study the system."

Well I hoped they enjoyed the game....I mean hell, whats there to study?

A missed call, you go to the booth to see if its right or not, then kabaam...a ruling. Do you really need to send hired people over there to "study" the system? Thats like sending me on over to study why water splashes when you poor it on something....

On the subject (lol), I think it'll be great to see this system in place next year....it'll be a more fair season to watch next year...

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I have no objections and it might be good in some cases.

But it's no substitute for having well-qualified, competent refs! The controversies in the TN-FL clock incident or the LSU-Bama interference had nothing to do with "needing a better camera angle"--even if they were reviewable. All the cameras in the world won't make up for incompetent, bonehead (or biased) decisions. So I hope the SEC also has plans for improving the training, quality, and accountability of the refs, not just for adding some fancy video equipment.

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