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Instant Replay Coming to a College Football Game Near You

Instant replay is coming to a Big XII football game near you.

The Big 12 decided during this past offseason to use instant replay for the coming season after watching its success in the Big Ten. The venture, which the Big 12 has set aside $450,000 to fund, will be utilized in every Big 12 game, televised and not televised, and will be used during non-conference games with permission of the non-Big 12 team. In those non-televised games, Fox Sports Net will supply a television truck and four cameras to supplement stadium television with instant replay.

Many of the factors of production necessary for instant replay are already in place in conferences such as the Big 10 and the Big XII. From a Big 10 FAQ on instant replay in that conference:

All reviewable video will come direct from the television network broadcasting the game (ABC Sports, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Plus Television) and no other source. The Big Ten has had 90 percent or more of its 44 intraconference games televised during the past five seasons. If an intraconference game will not be televised, then the Big Ten will arrange for video exposure of the game in order to provide the same, consistent coverage throughout the Conference season.

FOX Sports Net has a contract with the Big XII to broadcast many of its games and, as noted above, FSN is providing the additional equipment for instant replay in the games that are not broadcast. The ACC is also experimenting with the use of instant replay. So are 7 of the remaining 9 D1 conferences. Only the WAC and the Sun Belt have decided not to use instant replay. Regarding the WAC:

The sticking point for the WAC, people in the conference say, is fairness. Without a sizeable financial outlay for equipment and manpower, the conference said it would not be able to implement it for non-TV games. Only about 16 to 20 of the WAC's 36 conference games are expected to be televised, meaning the schools would have to pick up the costs for the remainder or go without it.

It sounds more like economics rather than fairness. The bigger conferences, with many/most of their games being televised, have much of the equipment already in place. Right now, the BCS wants a replay system in for all the bowl games, but since different conferences will use slightly different systems (for example, only the Mountain West will allow coaches to ask for replays), the question is what system to use.

I'll go out on a limb here... I bet there'll be more challenges in the Mountain West than in the other conferences.