Replay Grows; Delany Nixes Playoff Talk

The Big Ten has partnered with the MAC to grow the usage of instant replay and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says there is no consensus for any kind of playoff format.

The Big Ten and Mid-American Conferences will combine their instant replay programs in 2008. The Big Ten will oversee the merger, led by Big Ten coordinator of football officials David Parry.

In 2003 the Big Ten began experimenting with a replay system and collected data from 68 televised games. In 2004, the program was adopted full-scale, with the standard that there must be indisputable video evidence for a Technical Adviser in the press box to overturn an official's on-field ruling.

"The Big Ten and the MAC have worked together on several officiating initiatives over the past few years as we focus on providing more consistency to our programs," Parry said.

The goal is to spread the system, which utilizes video from television broadcasts, in baby steps as the program matures.

"We strongly believe that this marks the next natural step in regionalizing another of the important functions of college football officiating, with a goal towards further increased consistency and professionalism," said MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst.

"As the importance of the instant replay function continues to grow, this broader approach should help increase performance from all those involved."

BCS or Playoff?

With the BCS system making money hand over fist from television contracts, don't expect a playoff system anytime soon. That, along with concerns regarding a season stretching into the winter semester, is the stance Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, along with the other BCS commissioners, has going forward.

"I get lots of communications on the subject," Delany said at the Big Ten meetings last week.

"I think that the reason that the commissioners at the end of the day came to the conclusion they came to is two-fold: One, I think they believe that any sort of elongated playoff that pushes into the second semester or occurs during exams would run into major kinds of issues with presidents."

Delaney also pointed to the difficulty in determining the qualifiers for a playoff. Are four teams enough, he wondered? Or six conference champions? Then what about mid-major conferences?

"So I think very quickly we would be at a 16-game playoff," Delany said. "I think the slippery slope argument is there and I think then you start looking at the regular season as sort of a method of determining seeding and access. It's no longer about championships, it's no longer about what it is in the southeast and what it is in the Big Ten and what it is in the Pac-10."

Delany noted discussions by conference commissioners (six major conferences and Notre Dame) earlier this year resulted in five who had no interest in changing the system and two who did, although, "even the two that did weren't committed to the concept, simply to look at it.

"So I think that going forward there's a very strong consensus among the presidents and commissioners that the format we have is working quite well."

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