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Instant Replay for High School Football Officials

Instant Replay for High School Football Officials

Each day news is breaking that a new state may be implementing instant replay into the high school football rulebooks. Much like the NFL, officiating the game will fundamentally change as the technology is utilized to overturn incorrect calls. For better or worse, instant replay is coming to a stadium near you.

In 2017, Minnesota used instant replay for the state semifinal and championship games. Last year, New Jersey approved it's use early on. Texas also announced they'd be implementing its use across all state championship games in the state. And Alabama granted permission to its teams at all games. In 2019, Georgia is looking into utilizing the technology soon and so is Ohio. Time will soon tell how many states jump on board for this upcoming season. And the numbers are indeed expected to grow.

The concern, of course, is to not let instant replay for officiating purposes take over the game. After all, this is high school football we're talking about, not the NFL. The community's time and budget needs to be respected. Therefore, it's understandable that in many of the approved cases, replay will only be allowed for plays of a certain criteria or under specific conditions.

For example, in New Jersey, challenges will not be allowed if a team is up by 17 or more points with under two minutes to play, or if a game reaches the 35-point running clock threshold. Also, as already mentioned, for most states instant replay for overturning plays will only be allowed at major championship games, where making the right call is most crucial.

The previously mentioned state of Georgia could have used this in 2018 during a very controversial state championship game. Peach County High School lost to Cedar Grove by a mere one point. (Both teams were legally using the EDGE Replay sideline instant replay system for coaching). Many have argued that poor refereeing resulted in an unfair outcome. If the ability to overturn a major play by the using an instant replay system were substantiated in the rules, then the final score might have looked different.

The EDGE Replay was built not only for coaching but for the possibility of assisting officials as well. Referees can easily use an iPad connected to the network to review the last play that was challenged. And since more and more teams across the country already have EDGE sideline instant replay for their coaching needs, there's no additional cost at hand. As many schools are already figuring out, expanding the use of Sideline Replay by using systems like EDGE Replay to help call a game may have substantial benefits for the future.

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Posted on February 22, 2019