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02.13.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Big Ten gains initial NCAA nod for replay official test, one more approval needed

The use of instant replay to assist in officiating college football got a step closer this week when the NCAA football rules committee recommended that a Big Ten Conference proposal be implemented for the 2004 season as an experimental rule.

The Big Ten proposal calls for a technical advisor selected by the conference officiating department to serve as a replay official for all conference games in 2004, said Scott Deitch, NCAA liaison to the football rules committee.

Unlike the NFL, coaches will not be allowed to challenge officials' calls. Rather, the technical advisor will have complete control from a secure booth in the press box, he explained.

As envisioned by the Big Ten proposal, the replay official would review calls at his discretion and communicate with the official timer on the field that a play and call is under review, said Deitch. The proposal calls for the replay official to have access to only the game footage that the broadcast network is supplying the public. No special cameras or requests for additional angles from the replay official will be permitted. However, the replay official will have access to a recording device like a Tivo in the booth, he said.

According to the proposal, the replay official must call for a review of a play in question before the snap of the ball of the next play.

The proposal calls for the experimental rule to be used during all Big Ten Conference games in the 2004 season. Use of a replay official during games between Big Ten institutions and non-conference schools will be at the discretion of the non-conference school. The proposal also calls for the conference to provide for video replay at Big Ten games that are not televised.

Before the proposal becomes official, it must gain approval of the NCAA Division 1 Championships/Competition Cabinet, which is expected to take up the matter in time for the 2004 season.

If the cabinet approves use of the experimental rule, it will apply only to the 2004 season, said Deitch. Using replay beyond 2004 or in other conferences would require the NCAA to take up the matter again.

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