NCCA will institute coach challenge for instant replay starting in 2006

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

College football fans are accustomed to seeing yellow flags tossed onto the field during their favorite team's games.

This season, however, fans may do a double take the first time they see a red flag come flying on the field.

Starting with the 2006 season, the NCAA will allow a football coach to challenge one ruling by officials per game and have it reviewed by replay, provided his team has an available timeout.

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Under a proposal approved Tuesday by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel that goes into effect this season, if a coach’s challenge is successful, no timeout will be charged.

&#8220This revised proposal achieves the intended result of the rules committee to incorporate a challenge into the video replay system,” panel chairman John Cochrane said.

The NCAA allowed the use of video replays at all schools and conferences last season, and nine of the 11 Division I-A conferences used some form of replay. The revision to include the challenge by coaches was proposed by the Football Rules Committee and provides a universal replay system for all 11 conferences.

&#8220As a concept I'm totally against instant replay,” Troy University head coach Larry Blakeney said. &#8220I think we try to dehumanize the game too much and it's a human game. At the same time, instant replay is here and we've got to do a good job with it. So, we'll be positive about it and try to do a good job with it.”

An area of concern for Blakeney, and college football coaches around the nation, is the lack of access to monitors by assistant coaches.

&#8220They aren't going to let us have monitors up in the booths,” Blakeney said. &#8220That means we don't get a second look at it. It's not going to be one of those deals where an assistant coach up in the booth sees something on a replay and calls down to the head coach to tell him to throw the flag. It's going to be something that we're going to have a pretty good hold on down there on the field.”

While Blakeney feels the system has its flaws, the Troy head coach does feel the change can have a positive impact on the game.

&#8220I'm not a fan of instant replay, but I think in some cases it can help a game be decided by the players on the field and not a bad call or misjudgment by an official,” Blakeney said. &#8220So in that regard I think it's good that we have it, and I think it's good that all the conferences use the same system. It's just personally, and this me talking and not Troy University, that this game has been good for a long time and it was good long before we had instant replay.”

While the new system is sure to impact the length of the games, it will also impact the way coaches coach their teams during the game.

&#8220It'll play a role in how we use our timeouts,” Blakeney said. &#8220You have to have a timeout to throw the flag. If you don't, you might as well take that flag and toss it in the wash.”

The panel also approved a revision of the rule on the length of halftime in football. The recommended time is 20 minutes, but it may be lengthened or shortened with the consent of both schools.