Replay Officials Multiply and Get New Powers

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Replay Officials Multiply and Get New Powers

In March the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will vote on a measure to approve new replay rules. This change will set-up a group of officials in a remote command center in addition to the current official at the site of the game. Now there will be review by committee.
[su_quote style=”modern-light” cite=”Gridiron Now” url=””] “Collaborative replay” is a simple concept: Instead of having one person in a booth make all of the decisions on replay in a particular game, those plays will instead be reviewed collectively by a number of officials in a command center. Those officials, including the one in the stadium, will look at the play together and come to a consensus on whether to overturn the call on the field.
The thinking: When it comes to these kinds of pressure-filled calls, the more eyes, the better.
“Fans and coaches understand that occasionally things can be missed on the field,” Steve Shaw, the SEC’s supervisor of officials, told me. “But when you get to replay the expectation level is perfection. That’s a pretty high target.”
Assuming there will not be a group of replay officials for each game, what happens when there are two calls to be reviewed by the committee at the same time? The answer is one game waits, of course. One would think that the TV game would have the highest priority from the referee referendum, but what happens when there are overlapping TV games? Which game merits top priority while other fans wait? Of course, it is possible that SEC will have four officials for each game, in addition to the regular on-field crew and the booth official on site.
Let’s not forget that replay officials have already been given expanded responsibility/power for 2016.
[su_quote style=”modern-light” cite=”Gridiron Now” url=””] I’m not totally comfortable with this idea, but replay officials will be given the power to call targeting fouls away from the ball that the officials on the field might have missed. Let’s say during a kickoff, a player on the receiving team cheap-shots a coverage-team guy with a head-to-head hit on the opposite side of the field from the ball. The replay official can stop the game and assess a foul. I’m concerned that this is a slippery slope.
The times they are achangin’.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.