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MAC will install instant replay system on trial basis in 2005

Following the lead of the Big 10, the Mid-American Conference has decided to implement an instant replay system for the 2005 football season.

The system will be used in every conference game and at the discretion of non-conference visiting opponents.

It is identitical to the one that was used on a trial basis last season in the Big 10, but with one exception, instead of using the popular TiVo system to rewind the television feed, the MAC will assign a technical advisor and a communicator to all games viewing instant replay footage. In the instance a game is not televised, the MAC has agreed to have a video crew on hand soley for the purpose of handling instant replay footage. The choice to use instant replay will be up to the technical advisor. Neither game officials nor coaches are allowed to request that certain plays be reviewed.

Upon the announcement of the instant replay system at the MAC Media Day in Detroit, BGSU Coach Gregg Brandon was particularly excited about the news.

‘I think it’s a great thing,’ he said. ‘If you play on TV and you have a chance to get a call right, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?’

Another supporter of the new replay system is Miami of Ohio coach Shane Montgomery. ‘It is a good thing for the conference,’ he said. Montgomery then paused and noted, ‘It really can come down to a couple plays.’

Montgomery also thought that it will be advantageous to officials, who he said have one of the hardest jobs there is. ‘To know that (instant replay) is there gives the officials a comfort zone,’ he said.

However, critics insist even though instant replay can occassionally be beneficial, it often ruins the pace of a hard-fought football game. ‘The only thing that worries me is the flow of the game,’ said first-year Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit.

According to MAC officials, the use of instant replay did not significantly slow down games in previous years. Between the 57 games that utilized instant replay in 2004, replay only accounted for three hours and 16 minutes. There was also less than one stop per game in 2004, so the system was not abused in the Big Ten.

The program implemented for the 2005 season will be on a one-year trial basis. Following the season, the NCAA Football Rules Committee will review the success of the rule and decide whether it should be added as a permanent rule change.

The MAC is among the nine of 11 Division I-A conferences to utilize an instant replay system in one form or another for the upcoming season.

REPLAY GUIDELINES

REVIEWABLE:

1. Plays governed by Sideline, Goal Line, End Zone and End Line:

‘ Scoring plays, including a runner breaking the plane of the goal line

‘ Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted at sideline, goal line, end zone and end line

‘ Runner/receiver in or out of bounds

‘ Recover of loose ball in or out of bounds

2. Passing plays:

‘ Pass ruled complete/incomplete/intercepted in the field of play

‘ Touching of a forward pass by an inelgibile receiver

‘ Touching of a forward pass by a defensive player

‘ Quarterback (passer) forwad pass or fumble (If ruled incomplete, the play is finalized)

‘ Illegal forward pass beyon the line of scrimmage

‘ Illegal forward pass after change of possession

‘ Forward or backward pass behind the line of scrimmage

3. Other detectable infractions:

‘ Runner ruled not down by defensive contact

‘ Forward progress with respect to first down

‘ Touching of a kick

‘ Number of players on field

‘ Clock adjustments

‘ Fourth down/try fumble plays

NOT REVIEWABLE:

1. Holding

2. Off-sides

3. Pass interference

4. Personal fouls (late hits)

5. Illegal blocks

6. Illegal formations

7. Face mask

8. Taunting/excessive celebration

9. False starts

10. roughing passer/kicker

11. Fighting participants

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