MEDIA TIMEOUT: Instant replay and NCAA don't make good match

A Notre Dame wide receiver sprawled out across the end zone, dragging a foot as he caught a line drive pass. As he slid across the ground and out of bounds he looked to the official for the call. Incomplete.

That call was made and the issue was over. The game essentially was too, as the Irish fell to Boston College, losing their undefeated status.

This was the latest in a line of questionable calls that advocates of instant replay in college football are using to support their case. They say that the pros use it, and it is time for college to join the 21st century. In a season where one loss can eliminate a team from national title contention, every call needs to be a good one.

This case for instant replay, though, simply cannot work.

The reason? Schools such as Ball State don't have the money or the resources to facilitate such a change.

Think about the expenses that would be involved in instant replay. How much can it cost to have a little TV on the sideline? Muncie has a Best Buy. Surely we can get a discount.

Well, televisions aren't the only expense. Think about cameras. We're not talking little Sony LCD panel cameras. We are talking about huge, one-year's salary cameras.

The video cameras that are used by FOX for its broadcast cost somewhere between $35,000-$40,000. Now, think about how many different angles you see when you watch a game on that network.

If Ball State has that kind of money to put towards football alone, then what is taking so long in the stadium-renovation project? Give each worker a $40,000 advance, and we'll have lights in no time.

So why doesn't the NCAA foot the bill? Well, I'm glad you asked. There are 241 Division I schools that have football programs. Even if the NCAA bought only one camera per school, that would be - carry the one - $9,640,000. Try to pass that at the next budget meeting.

Maybe the instant replay system should be used only for televised games. That would eliminate all university expenses. It would also eliminate errors in the high-profile games. Tell this to Bowling Green head coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer's squad is one of only four undefeated teams left in college football. His team, however, hasn't been on television all year. They probably won't either, but that is a column for another day.

Meyer said that he is against instant replay, even though one play could cast his team into the abyss of one-loss clubs. Meyer said that if Bowling Green had that kind of money to put towards the football program, he would use it for a new weight room or better meeting rooms, not instant replay.

Who is to decide which games are important enough to have instant replay? Conference titles are won and lost nearly every Saturday from here on out. Coaches' contracts can be renewed or shredded based on the difference a game makes.

The NCAA can't pick and choose which games get instant replay because some games matter to everybody, but every game matters to somebody.

Write to Jay at jdkenworthy@bsu.edu


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