Big Ten Conference Football Replay
The Big Ten Conference will begin year two of its college football instant replay program in 2005. In addition, other leagues will also implement their own instant replay system after the NCAA approved the Big Ten's proposal to allow all NCAA conferences and independent institutions to experiment with the use of video replay for the 2005 season.
The road to a collegiate version of football instant replay was paved in 2003. At that time, the Big Ten began discussions with head coaches, directors of athletics, conference office staff and Coordinator of Football Officiating David Parry to create a system to allow for specific types of officiating mistakes to be immediately reviewed and corrected during all Conference games. The Big Ten conducted a pilot program during the 2003 season, and based on the data collected, was given approval by the NCAA to institute the instant replay system at all games played at league stadiums in 2004. As instant replay enters its second year on the college football landscape, the origin and details of the Big Ten's system appear below:
THE BEGINNING OF INSTANT REPLAY
Ever since the NFL adopted instant replay in 1986 the college football community, including administrators and coaches in the Big Ten, had asked the question: Could an NFL-style replay system help the college game? And each time the question was asked, the answer generally has been: "Yes, but...."
Costs and fairness were two important factors that limited serious discussion about implementation of college football replay. The NFL had spent millions of dollars in hardware, software and labor to institute replay at the professional level, revenue that is simply not available to all institutions playing college football. Outcomes aside, there were many purists who believed that technology should not interfere within the human element of competition: mistakes will continue to be made by coaches, players and officials, and are simply an intrinsic part of the game, they would say.
But in an era with so many games televised - the Big Ten Conference has had 88 percent or more of its intraconference games televised each of the last five seasons - and with mistakes and missed calls put under the microscope and scrutinized and replayed multiple times, there is now more incentive than ever to get the call right. If a television replay shows indisputable evidence that an official's call (or non-call) was in error, then there should be a mechanism in place to immediately correct the error.
THE GOAL OF INSTANT REPLAY
The goal of the Big Ten's football television replay plan is to:
See-----Review-----Change (if warranted).
Only specific plays are reviewable, and only those plays where the absolute standard of indisputable video evidence is met can a play be overturned.
The Big Ten Conference replay system allows for specific types of officiating mistakes to be immediately reviewed and corrected once the standard of indisputable video evidence is met.
The replay system will not guarantee that all officiating mistakes are identified and corrected.
PERSPECTIVE ON INSTANT REPLAY
Following a pilot program study conducted during the 2003 season, the NCAA Football Rules Committee granted the Big Ten permission to experiment with instant replay on a one-year basis for all televised games at Conference stadiums in 2004. During the 2004 campaign, play was stopped in only 28 of 57 contests (49 percent) for a total of 43 stoppages and 21 overturned calls (49 percent of stoppages). These numbers compared favorably to the Big Ten's instant replay pilot program, as the data collected in 2003 showed that play would have been stopped in 31 of 68 games (46 percent) for a total of 45 stoppages and 23 overturned calls (51 percent of stoppages). In addition, the use of instant replay did not significantly affect game times. The length of the 57 games utilizing instant replay in 2004 was only three hours and 16 minutes, compared to three hours and 13 minutes in all 2003 contests. Less than one stoppage occurred per game in 2004, as the Big Ten's average length of review was only two minutes and 39 seconds, compared to the National Football League average of three minutes and 20 seconds for its instant replay system.
REPLAY IS NO PANACEA
Instant replay is not intended to be an instant, infallible answer to correcting officiating mistakes. It is, however, an example of how technology can help officials make sure that mistakes made on the field are corrected in a timely manner.
Q&A ON BIG TEN INSTANT REPLAY
Q. Are the instant replay procedures used by the Big Ten the same as those of the NFL?
Q. Which games will have instant replay?
Q. Will all conferences have the same instant replay system?
Q. What is the intended purpose of the Big Ten's replay system?
Q. Who can initiate a review of an official's call?
Q. When can a game be stopped to review an official's call?
Q. Who will be making the decision if a call is overturned or not?
Q. How will the Technical Advisor know that an on-field call by an official will need to be changed?
Q. What will be the source of the video for replays?
Q. Who are the Technical Advisors?
Q. How long will instant replay be a rule?
Q. Will the length of games be affected?
Q. When can a play be reviewed?
Q. Is there a time limit on how long a play can be reviewed?
Q. Briefly describe the mechanics of how a play is reviewed?
Q. What if a team is using a hurry-up offense and the Technical Advisor does not have enough time to view a replay to decide whether or not the play is reviewable?
Q. Is the Technical Advisor limited to the number of plays that can be reviewed?
Q. Will there be sufficient camera angles to review plays from anywhere on the field?
Q. What happens if TV comes back from a commercial break after Team A kicks a PAT and shows a better replay that the Team A runner actually did fumble the ball before he crossed the goal line?