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Big Ten to experiment with instant replay for 2003Posted: Thursday August 14, 2003 4:02 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Big Ten has taken a step toward using instant replay in football games, implementing a pilot program to determine whether to use it for real in the future.
Commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday the conference would use a test program for a handful of games this season to determine the effects of replay.
It will be based on the NFL's system of limited challenges and won't disrupt play on the field. An independent person hired by the conference will decide which plays should be challenged based on game situations. The plays will be reviewed based on the television feed.
"I can see the case for and against replay," Delany said. "Reasonable people can differ. I've seen video used in college basketball and the NBA in a reasonable way. I question to some extent the amount it is used in the NFL. I can see how it has an effect that's negative. I can see the positives as well."
The coaches voted unanimously in favor of using replay in games, while athletic directors were split. A study by Big Ten head of officiating Dave Perry determined that about 15-to-20 calls would have been overturned in 76 games last year if the conference had the NFL system.
In the NFL last year, 294 plays were reviewed and 94 calls were overturned in 256 regular season games.
In order to use replay in games, the Big Ten would need a waiver from the NCAA. Delany said before that happens he would seek approval from university presidents because of the multimillion-dollar cost of replay and would hope to get other conferences on board.
The NFL spent about $10 million to implement its program and several million a year to run it. Delany said the Big Ten could use a less expensive system.
"It changes the nature of the game," Delany said. "It is expensive. I don't want to do it in a second-rate way. We don't need to spend what the NFL spends, but we don't want to do it with an antenna on a coat hanger. It could be a modified system. When you introduce something like this, less is more. The NFL rightly concluded that less is more. They really restricted the kind of plays that can be challenged."
The study of officiating came in response to a request last year from Penn State athletic director Tim Curley after several high-profile controversial calls last season.
The Big Ten estimated that there were about 4.1 "flaws" per game last season by officials, which is more than double what the NFL has but in line with other college conferences and past years in the Big Ten, Delany said.
The conference also agreed to allow officials to work at spring practice and games and fall camp to increase training opportunities.
In January, the conference denied Penn State's request to prevent officials from calling games in the areas they live.
Delany also enacted crowd control initiatives to try to limit postgame rioting and over-the-top heckling of players.
Home teams must provide adequate security and protection for the visiting team and game officials. They also will be responsible for school-sponsored student sections that attack or single out players.
Also, replays of controversial calls will be prohibited from being shown on stadium video boards.
"The boundary seems to be blurred a bit between the field and the stands," Delany said. "We've seen in the college game, especially basketball, fans directing venom at other teams' student athletes. We think that's excessive and wrong. We saw some things the last few years where passion stepped over the line."
After an initial warning, Delany said schools would be called out publicly for fan misbehavior and possibly disciplined if the behavior continues.
He also said he would consider targeting alcohol use at tailgate parties before games if there is not improvement in fan behavior.