The National Collegiate Athletic Association panel of rules oversight voted today to expand the use of replay in basketball games this season. The NCAA expansion of replay in basketball has crossed over the line, going too far, and as a result could end up taking away from the magical season that is March Madness.
Included in the new replay rule changes, officials will now be able to examine a video review to confirm a shot clock violation, or determine who committed a foul or caused a ball to go out of bounds. Determining who caused a ball to go out of bounds can only occur in the final two minutes of regulation.
Previously, replay was used only to determine whether or not a made field goal was a two or three point basket, time left in the last two minutes of regulation, as well as who should be shooting a free throw.
The existing system was working just fine, and this is coming from someone who is a proponent of including replay in order to aid the officials. Proof of that position can be seen here. That being said, replay was put in place as an aid to the officials, not as a way to do their job for them. Human error is what makes sports so interesting, and included in that is the errors that inevitably occur from the referees.
They already had a great balance of what could and could not be reviewed. By expanding replay in NCAA basketball as far as they have, the referee has been removed of all responsibility. Other than determining whether or not a foul was a block or a charge, or even how much contact to allow during play, the job is now essentially being done without the risk of game changing error.
The sport of basketball is so largely dependent on momentum that a single call can change the course of action a game will take. Now I agree that the ref should do his best to make an accurate decision and create a fair play atmosphere, going to the monitor is not the best way to do that.With expanded breaks for replay, as NCAA basketball has now initiated, long delays will become commonplace. Many bang-bang plays occur every game, and having to stall and figure out what exactly happened during each play could result in crowds quieting down as they stand around waiting to hear what happened minutes later.
College basketball is a thing of beauty and wonder, captivating the entire country throughout the month of March with its madness every single year. The NCAA’s decision to expand replay for basketball will elongate the games, making the nation even more unproductive during March. The day already goes for about ten hours during the opening weekend of play, and with added replays, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 12 hour plus day of basketball in the round of 32. That may be too much of a good thing.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express