College

NCAA Lacrosse Considering Instant Replay

instant_replayOn September 3rd, the NCAA announced its intention to experiment with instant replay during televised lacrosse games in the spring of 2010.  The decision came on the heels of a 2009 season where close calls on the goal line and illegal tactics during face-offs were on the rise.  But is the game of lacrosse conducive to this kind of technology?

When instant replay was introduced to the NFL, critics blasted it for taking the “human element” out of the game.  When it’s success in the pro ranks paved the way for its implementation at the college level, many fans believed it would slow the game down in a way that could have a significant effect on momentum.

So what will the concerns of college lacrosse fans and players be regarding the way instant replay is used next season?

A couple of possibilities:

1. While the popularity of NCAA lacrosse is booming, the vast majority of Division 1 games go untelevised.  Therefore, only games that are being covered by one of the major networks will have the option of using instant replay.  Even then, those networks will have to agree to fix a camera on each goal line.  I can’t venture a guess on what that means in terms of the number of contests that will be properly equipped to use the new technology, but it does mean that a small portion of games will be officiated in a manner that doesn’t align with the rest of those being played.  What makes instant replay work in the NFL and college football is that its use is available in the same manner across the board.  Whether USC and Ohio State are squaring off in an early season national showcase, or Toledo and Bowling Green are playing a MAC game that nobody cares about, teams will have access to instant replay.  The current proposal regarding instant replay in college lacrosse will not allow for this kind of uniformity.

2. One of the most beautiful aspects of lacrosse is the fluidity of the action on the field.  The game rarely stops, allowing for multiple exciting sequence to take place in succession.  Traditionalists already believe this part of the game has been slipping away through the use of specialized positions (leading to the constant use of the horn by coaches), and a new emphasis on ball control offenses.  Stopping the game to check a replay will only add to the deterioration of the “fastest” game on two feet.

Instant replay certainly has the potential to improve the game.  We all want the calls on the field to reflect what truly happened during the course of play, and it wouldn’t hurt to clean up what goes on during face-offs.  But does the overall concept mesh with the philosophy of the sport?  I don’t think so, but you might disagree.

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Gaudet

4 Comments

  • the use of instant replay has potential to help the game but I don't think that it will help very often. I do NOT want to see instant replay used on face offs. the refs have a duty to just get that as right as they can and follow the rules. Face offs are a dirty business and I think instant replay could really turn that “battle” into a much less enjoyable aspect of the game by making borderline infractions catchable by the electronic eye. Maybe I'm just an old schooler but I like that faceoffs are so down and dirty and that cheating is an art.
    If faceoffs are subject to instant replay where will they go next? thumbing the ball? offsides calls on riding attackmen? slashes? who was closer to the line on a shot? instant replay might help get these calls right but using it at all under the above circumstances seems like it would really slow down the game without adding much.
    The one area that I think it could be really useful is the goal. when a ball is moving at 100 mph sometimes it is hard to tell if it just hit a pipe or if it went in and hit a pipe and came out. A goal is a goal and they should all be counted. same thing goes if the ball is rolling across the line.
    I don't think we're going to see many of these replays and they should institute a similar rule to football where an incorrect challenge costs a team one timeout to discourage a total slow down due to overzealous replays.

  • The first comment really sums up why I don't want to see replay either. So many judgment calls have to be made all the time on faceoffs, endlines, slashes, and pushes and I don't understand where a replay would come in.

    I guess, what would be reviewed? There are no two feet in the endzone calls and buzzerbeaters are really obvious in lacrosse and I just don't see the point.

  • I would be fine with replay being used on goals, offsides, out of bounds, crease violations and closest to the shot because those are not judgment calls. Someone either scored or they didn't they stepped over a line or they didn't and someone is closest to where a shot goes out or the other guy is. Replay should not be used on penalty's like slashes or loose ball pushes because those calls are subjective.

    As far as the problem with not every game being televised I think it would make sense to just use replay for the national tournament because all those games televised.

  • I would be fine with replay being used on goals, offsides, out of bounds, crease violations and closest to the shot because those are not judgment calls. Someone either scored or they didn't they stepped over a line or they didn't and someone is closest to where a shot goes out or the other guy is. Replay should not be used on penalty's like slashes or loose ball pushes because those calls are subjective.

    As far as the problem with not every game being televised I think it would make sense to just use replay for the national tournament because all those games televised.

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