For the moment, ACC league Coordinator of Football Officiating, Dennis Hennigan, seems happy with the way Collaborative Instant replay has been used in its first two seasons; of course, not everyone will agree with his assessment. The Sports Techie community blog sure does and believes using video to assist referees must become a standard across sports when appropriate rather than entirely relying on the human eye . In fact, if all you care about is analyzing football betting line on popular sportsbooks, the use of this technology by the ACC might not interest you.
ACC Sports Tech Assistants
Then again, Collaborative Instant Replay was supposed to change the game of football. It all began with the Miami versus Duke game whose ending was highly controversial because the officials missed so many calls. This is the despite the fact that they carried out a review of the replays on two separate occasions.
The decision to eventually award the victory to Miami raised a storm of complaints that the ACC struggled to contend with by introducing Collaborative Instant Replay technology.
The tech was only implemented on an experimental basis, and Dennis told the Orlando Sentinel recently that it was allowing them to correct mistakes common amongst on-field officials by injecting an extra set of eyes into the equation.
ACC Collaborate Instant Replay
Even though Dennis said that there had been plans earlier on to experiment with this new review process, the Miami/Duke game fiasco definitely had a hand in expediting the process of establishing Collaborative Instant replay.
And with all the ACC Stadiums being immediately fitted with the necessary hardware thanks to ACC Commissioner John Swofford, officials like Hennigan could look forward to gaining access to every single replay of a game from a centralized location.
Considering the suspicion the concept elicited, it took a while for all the parties involved to grow comfortable with the use of this technologies. In order for replays from a centralized location at the ACC offices (Greensboro, N.C.) to be accessible to the appropriate officials, it was necessary for seamless communication channels to be established between Greensboro and the various stadiums, though this particular issue was eventually resolved.
Dennis Hennigan has practiced law as an attorney for the past 27 years and was hired by the ACC in 2015 in his current role. He was instrumental to the execution of the Centralized Replay technology. Because he lives in New York, it made it easier to provide officials the guidance they needed to acclimate to the new review system, and the effort was worth it, especially when it came to proving that the new review process wouldn’t debilitate the flow of games.
According to USA Today, replay officials use a dial to operate frame-by frame evaluations over monitors strategically positioned near their seats. In a matter of seconds, the ACC’s senior associate commissioner for football operations, Michael Strickland, and two replay officials are able to communicate with refs via headset at each stadium to review calls together as a ref team. All games are streamed online to ensure the process is speedy.
That was one of the biggest worries; some officials believed that the new replay review process would slow games down. Strickland, has since calmed these fears by revealing that the implementation of the new system has done little to slow down games.
It hasn’t really them up either; basically, the new technology has had no noticeable impact on the length of games. Of course, it is easy to see why this fear would rattle some parties so thoroughly.
After all, one of the biggest contentions in football is the overall length of games. Most NCAA games exceed three hours in length and discussions have been raging for a long time now about the best way to cut this average down and shorten games.
According to Hennigan, the administrative aspects of the game will have to be streamlined in order to improve the situation. Dennis believes that shortening the halftime could do the trick.
Regardless of whether this issue is resolved, Dennis is certain that the powers that be will push the Collaborate Instant Replay forward, play trial possibly even implementing it on a permanent basis.
Sports Techie, whether you like it or not, football is upgraded using a team based instant replay system. Sure, the process needs to continually be tweaked and the fact that refs watching the video can make mistakes is a real deal but one only needs to understand the goal which is to help get the call right when deciding whether it should stay or go.
It really is a numbers game as is laying a wager. If refs blow ten calls and instant replay helps to fix even one of them is it not useful to use. If five critical decisions are overturned after review then the anti sport techies may even be swayed to say it has merit. Imagine if nine or for goodness sake, ten calls are shown to be in error and corrected, is not justice served and the game better off because of it? Of course it is, that is why using instant replay is a real no-brainer.
I agree with Hennigan that cutting the length of a college football game needs to be another change implemented yesterday by the NCAA. Why not start with the amount of timeouts because of TV. The NFL has heard the uproar and so has ESPN, NBC, CBS, and Fox, and changes are on the way. Hopefully, Amazon Prime helps roll out a new NFL model for subscribers during TNF broadcasts that cuts down the digital streaming advertising in order to shorten overall game times.
I suspect that is not going to happen in the near term but if even fans stop complaining about instant replay taking so long and focus on the real issue of too many commercials, I believe a better balance will be the eventual outcome in terms of what to do with all the dead time during a pro or collegiate football game.
Collaborative replay began for member schools and Notre Dame as an experimental rule in 2016. The final step was for the ACC, SEC and Pac-12 conferences to report their data to the NCAA Football Rules Committee in February of 2017 in anticipation that all the necessary steps are in line to change it from a concept to a game-changing process for the betterment of the sport.
Cheers to the ACC for experimenting with Collaborate Instant Replay but what is the NCAA waiting for to make it official during the regular season and Bowl games for the 2018 season and beyond?
The era of old school officiating is over and the new digital ref era is upon us thanks to innovative sports tech such as instant replay solutions.
I am betting it passes muster with the Rules Committee. How about you?
See ya later sports techie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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