BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference is set to implement a collaborative process for instant replay in the sport of football beginning Thursday night, with Appalachian State visiting Tennessee at 7:30 p.m. ET on The SEC Network and Vanderbilt hosting South Carolina at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN in the first conference game of the 2016 season. Under this upgraded system for instant replay reviews, personnel operating from SEC Headquarters will assist the in-stadium Instant Replay Officials when replay decisions are made.
The SEC's offseason decision to implement this new instant replay process came following a unanimous vote of the league's athletics directors and approval by the SEC Executive Committee at SEC Spring Meetings in June.
"Our goal is to continue to use the best-available resources to support correct outcomes when instant replay is used," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said upon approval of the initiative. "We believe the collaborative effort, which will involve additional officiating experts during replay reviews, will enhance the Conference's football officiating program. I believe this update to the instant replay review process will better support football officiating in the SEC through the use of technology."
With the upgraded replay system, the SEC will relay two video feeds back to the league's central review location - both the live program feed and a live view of the replay official's monitor at each SEC stadium will be relayed back to the SEC's Video Center at league headquarters. The SEC will mirror in the Video Center the process in each replay booth for every game for which the league has instant replay responsibility. The Video Center and the in-stadium replay booth will also capture both team camera feeds, which will give more immediate resources to the replay process and better, more efficient post game procedures.
The SEC Video Center will be staffed each week by three collaborative replay officials who will communicate with the in-stadium replay official to determine results of official reviews. In addition, there will be individual technicians assigned to monitor each game in the Video Center.
Throughout the summer, new instant replay systems were also installed and tested successfully at all SEC stadiums. Representatives from the SEC Office also visited the NFL's instant replay center in New York City in the offseason for input regarding the very latest in technology.
Earlier this summer, the SEC announced that Ben Oldham, who has nearly 40 years of experience in the SEC officiating program, will assume the role of Coordinator of Football Replay for the 2016 football season. The newly-created position will report to SEC Coordinator of Football Officials Steve Shaw and help provide oversight for the conference's instant replay process, including the collaborative instant replay system.
"This move to a collaborative instant replay process is an important and positive step for our officiating program and I look forward to implementing our plan to combine advanced technology with officiating expertise," said Shaw. "Our expectation is greater consistency across all reviews throughout the season and to the overall effectiveness of our officiating program."
In February, the NCAA Football Rules Committee approved a request submitted by the SEC last December following the 2015 season to allow conferences to use a collaborative process for instant replay on an experimental basis.
The technology needed to support the collaborative replay process and deliver the games in real time to the SEC Video Command was successfully tested during a SEC spring football game in April.
For more information on the SEC's Collaborative Instant Replay process, click here.