For SEC Football, Instant Replay Takes Technology and Relationships
Athens, GA, Sept. 1, 2007 - The National Football League had it first. And then it was tried in college football. While some debate its merits, the use of instant replay to review officials decisions during games is here to stay. And even though Oklahoma State of the Big 12 Conference is playing at the 13th ranked University of Georgia today, they will not have help in the booth. That is because the Southeastern Conference provides the replay officials for intersectional games it hosts.
"Yes it has worked well for us, even though we do not have high-def yet," said one the SEC officials that works in the booth. When asked what their biggest challenge is during games, he said that "we are limited in that we are only allowed to review tapes that have been shown to the television audience, even if there is another replay we would like to see."
But it turns out they have a way around that. The officials in the booth have a direct line to the producer in the TV truck. "We can call down and ask if they maybe have a high end-zone shot that they might like to show their television audience." Relationships between the conference officials and the television networks is one of the keys to making the tool work.
So when you are watching a game the next time, and wonder why the networks are showing so many angles of the replay and discussing them, remember this one little thing. It is not only about the viewing audience. They have to help make the replays available to the officials in the booth.