VETTEL: Upon Further Review Is Coming

There are still details we are not sure about and issues that will be tough to deal with, but the SEC did the right thing moving forward with plans for the use of replay in football this season. The league is basically following last year's Big Ten model, which is okay, but the SEC did the "Conference that Can't Count" one better. The SEC committed to using the best technology available, similar to the NFL where all the angles are available to the replay official while the Big Ten is using Tivo.

The use of more angles will better provide the required "indisputable visual evidence". The one downside to the multiple angle system is reviews will undoubtedly take longer and that's a concern in the SEC where games are already well beyond three hours on the average.

But the SEC has a plan for the issue of time spent that we can all applaud. The league plans to ask its television partners to use one of their commercial breaks during replay reviews. So if the review takes three minutes, 2:30 will be commercial time that won't be taken later. It might be the first time in the TV era that a sports entity has actually thought up a way to shorten games without eliminating game action.

Can I Apply For The Job?

I don't know where SEC Supervisor of Officials Bobby Gaston plans to get his replay officials, but I bet he decides to hire former officials out of retirement. That's a bad plan. First of all, the replay official must embrace the technology and I don't see venerable old officials doing that. It would be a mistake to take currently active game officials off the field for this assignment as well. It will stunt the development of those guys and you would have too close a connection between the guy/gal in the booth and the person who made the original call.

That's why I hate the NFL system of the game referee making the replay ruling when he is too close to the guy who made the original call.

Instead, let anyone apply for the jobs. Give them a rulebook to study and a test for them to pass. Then, have those who pass take part in an audition that will challenge their judgement. Obviously a strong knowledge of the game is crucial but I don't believe you need the same level of expertise and experience as a game official.

One thing that is crucial to the public acceptance of this is accountability. The SEC must insist the replay official be available to the media after games to explain any critical decisions he/she made. Now let's go to the tape.

Hoops Coaches Oppose NBA Age Limit

The NBA's proposal to establish 19 or 20 as the minimum age to enter the NBA doesn't have any fans in the SEC, or many other places for that matter. Coaches are justifiably concerned about the limit actually encouraging more guys to test the waters. While I doubt that's going to happen, the simple fact is an age limit would not stand up in court. The NFL carefully used "three years after your high school class graduates" as a guideline since age discrimination would be an issue otherwise.

I would like to see college hoops and the NBA agree on something similar to the baseball system where if you go division one out of high school you cannot be drafted until after your junior year or 21st birthday. For hoops let's make it two years, period. At least then a school knows the kids who enroll will be there two years. They should be required to guarantee at least one year at the league minimum for second round picks.

It's also high time to streamline this idiotic process. That dozens of players are still considering whether or not to stay in the draft in mid-June is lunacy. 30 days is plenty of time to evaluate your situation. Hell, football players get less than a week. And while we're on a reform kick… no off-campus workouts for guys maintaining the option of staying in school. I refuse to believe all these guys can afford to do the things they are doing and then decide, "oh well, I guess I'll stay in school another year". Somewhere, somehow agents and shoe companies are almost certainly involved.

Gators Looking for Strong All-Sports Finish

The Florida Gators have never finished out of the top ten since the national All-Sports standings have been kept and it looks like they're in good shape for that to continue. Florida took a 6th-place standing into the spring sports season and only one team has disappointed. Softball's early ouster cost Florida valuable points, but the Gators scored big with a pair of 3rd-place ties in Tennis. The Women's Golf team came up big with a tenth-place finish at NCAA's while the men play their national tournament this week.

Florida should get plenty of points from the baseball team and men's outdoor track, but women's outdoor track probably won't score a great deal. Florida was only 25 points ahead of eleventh-place Tennessee entering the spring, but the Gators' superior tennis finishes should keep the Vols from getting too close. Still, the last four Florida squads in action need to pull their weight to ensure a strong finish.

Florida/Georgia Likely to Stay Put

After seeing the comments from Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans and talking to someone aware of the thinking up in Athens it looks like a contract extension for the Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville is likely. While many Dawgs would like to see the game moved to the campuses, they are clearly in the minority. Both schools will get some extra money in a new deal and seats will get more expensive, especially Club Seats I would think.

Every time this comes up, speculation is that the team losing the most recently is just pouting about the results. That is simply not the case. There is a substantial group of partisans on each side of this border war who simply prefer home games. This group includes skybox holders at each school who would love to have this event in their "digs". This group includes students who get a kick out of visiting other campuses. This group includes alumni that have had bad experiences in Jacksonville. And yes, there are some that are overreacting to recent results.

I have long advocated two games in Jacksonville with a home-and-home to follow. This every four years you would get two of the traditional "Outdoor Cocktail Parties", the experience of having the game on your campus and one trip to the other campus. But I don't see it happening anytime soon.

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