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Insider

The system still has some flaws

9/13/2005

If you watched any college football over the weekend, you no doubt noticed that instant replay will have a huge impact on the game this season. Errors that would have gone uncorrected a year ago were corrected in games this past weekend, or controversy was removed from rulings on the field by game officials. But those corrections came at the cost of delays and longer games.

Last year, instant replay was a novelty because it was used only in the Big Ten, which had so much success with its form of review that every conference except the WAC and Sun Belt has adopted instant replay this season. Unlike the NFL, which allows coaches to call for an instant replay review, the Big Ten's instant replay model uses a replay official to determine whether a play should be reviewed. Most conferences adopted the Big Ten's model, although some conferences tweaked the system (the Mountain West allows coaches to challenge a game official's ruling).

According to the Big Ten, instant replay was used sparingly (getting invoked in only 28 of 57 games) last year and did not cause significant delays (only a 2-minute, 39-second increase in length of games). However, if last weekend is any indication, instant replay will be used more often than it was in the Big Ten last year and will cause longer delays. It seemed that in every televised game, replay officials challenged on-field rulings.