A day after the Big 12 said it was going to punish schools whose fans storm the field, the conference is reportedly going to crack down on another practice and punish schools who repeatedly show ‘controversial’ replays in-stadium.
Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said replays weren’t banned entirely, however. The Big 12 has not yet issued a statement defining what it would deem excessive use of replay or how it would determine what would cross the line into too much.
Punishments could be in the form of a fine, similar to the possible punishments for teams whose fans rush the field.
There’s also no clarity as to what a “controversial” call is, though one can reasonably assume a call being replay reviewed would fall into the category as well as judgment calls. And, quite frankly, the rule is ill-conceived, even if there was a hard number for how many replays of calls teams could show.
As has been documented in these spaces before, professional and college teams are fighting the lure of television to get fans to enjoy games in-person. Part of the lure of television? Replays, and the ability (for many with a DVR) to rewind and fast forward on-demand. We know we’re not the only people who have immediately sent a text message from the stands at a college football game to someone watching at home when a call has the potential to be reviewed.
And if schools are going to keep investing in bigger and better video boards, replays – at the team’s ultimate discretion – are a key feature. Fans are going to boo officials anyway, no mater how many replays are shown on the stadium’s video boards. While we don’t think many people will stop going to games because of this provision, conferences don’t need to be giving fans any reasons to stay home.
No matter the intentions, it feels like a rule for the sake of a rule. And when are rules to address not-so-outstanding problems ever a good idea?
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