Instant Replay Comes To The Big Ten

The Big Ten is the guinea pig for an NCAA experiment in <b>Instant Reply</b> for the 2004 season. The replay system will be quite a bit different from the NFL version.

From our Big Ten Kickoff press conference with Dave Parry, coordinator of Big Ten officials. Here is what Parry presented to us.

Instant Replay will be used in Big Ten conference games. It will also be used for Big Ten schools' non-conference home games if the visiting team agrees.

Here, in a nutshell, is how it works.

The officials on the field will call the game as usual. They will not decide whether a play is to be Instant Replayed or not. Neither will the head coaches. A "Technical Advisor" in the press box will make the decision -- both whether to review a call, and also whether the call will be overturned. The "Technical Advisor" is the decision-maker.

The "Technical Advisor," a former official, will be in the press box. He'll have a DVR recorder ("TIVO") and the ABC/ESPN TV feed. Whatever TV is showing on the air at the time -- that's the feed he will also have.

If the "Technical Advisor" sees an 'iffy' call by an official, he will 'shut the game down' by hitting a button, which will set off a pager to the timer and on-field officials. Time-out will be called for a review of the call. There is also a communication assistant on the sideline to tell the players/benches what is going on.

Then, using his TIVO and/or the ABC/ESPN reply of the play (the same one fans see on the Jumbotron at the Big House), the "Technical Advisor" will decide whether to overturn the official's call.

The on-field Referee will go to a phone on the sideline ... the "Technical Advisor", after reviewing the replays, will tell him what he saw. And the "Technical Advisor" will tell the referee whether the official's call is overturned or upheld. The "Technical Advisor" makes the decision to uphold or overturn the call.

The standard to be used by the "Technical Advisor" in overturning an official's call: "Indisputable Video Evidence."

According to what the Big Ten Head of Officials said at the Kickoff, fans could expect to see this happen -- the review of an official's call -- perhaps once or maybe twice a game at the most.

Not all types of calls can be reviewed. The list of reviewable calls given out verbally at the press conference by Parry did not seem comprehensive (there is an 'official list'), but from what we were told here are the types of calls that can be reviewed:

Sideline calls: in bounds/out of bounds.
First down calls: first down or not.
Goal line calls: touchdown or no touchdown.
Pass plays: was there a catch, or was the ball trapped.
Game clock: end of half timing calls ... did the clock run out.
Play clock: did the 24 sec. clock run out.
Too many men on the field.

Not subject to review: offsides, motion, holding, clipping, personal fouls, pass interference.

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