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Instant replay gains acceptance

Instant replay crept into the college football world last season when the Big Ten implemented the system. The rest of the conferences must have liked what they saw. When the 2005 season kicks off, instant replay will used in nine of the 11 Division I-A conferences.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee focused on two main principles with regard to review. First, for a review to occur, the play must have a direct, competitive effect on the game, such as a change of possession or a scoring play. Secondly, indisputable video evidence will be the standard for overturning any on-field call.

There are three basic types of plays that may be reviewed.

Plays governed by the sideline, goal line or end line
1. Scoring plays, including a runner breaking the plane of the goal line
2. Pass completions, incompletions or interceptions at the sideline, goal line or end line

3. Whether a runner is in or out of bounds
4. The recovery of a loose ball in bounds

Passing plays
1. Completions, incompletions and interceptions in the field of play and end zones
2. The touching of a forward pass by an ineligible receiver or by a defensive player
3. Whether a quarterback (or passer) throws a forward pass or fumbles
4. An illegal forward pass or illegal handling beyond the line of scrimmage
5. An illegal forward pass or illegal handling after a change of possession
6. Whether a forward or backward pass is thrown from behind the line of scrimmage

Other detectable infractions
1. Runner ruled not down
2. Forward progress errors with respect to first down
3. Touching of a kick
4. Number of players on a field
5. Clock adjustments
6. Fourth-down try/fumble plays

However, some plays may not be reviewed with the use of instant replay. These include: holding, offsides/encroachment, pass interference, personal fouls, illegal blocks, illegal formations, face mask, taunting/excessive celebration, false starts, roughing the passer/kicker and identifying fight participants.

Here's a quick look at each conference's system:

Editor's note: The Sun Belt and WAC conferences do not plan to use instant replay in 2005.

Rules changes
Two major rules changes will be implemented in 2005.

1. Clipping (Rule 9-1-2-d)
Change: A player in the rectangular area may not block an opponent with the force of the initial contact from behind and at or below the knee (exception: against the runner).

Rationale: Clipping is extremely dangerous and must not be legal at any time. This changes the rule to allow contact from behind, but only above the knee.

2. Leaping (Rule 9-1-2-q)
Change: It is a personal foul if a defensive player who runs foward and leaps in an obvious attempt to block a field goal or kick try lands on any player. It is not a foul if the leaping player was lined up within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.

Rationale: Clarification that a leaping player is guilty of a foul if the player lands on any other player.