Thompson coach Mark Freeman said he was 0 for 3 on tough calls in 2018, the first instant replay season in Alabama high school football.
Still, he clearly understands the benefits of Instant Replay.
“I think it’s a good thing for the game,” he said. “Civil servants are also human. I know I make mistakes every Friday night.
Alabama High School Athletic Association football first used instant replay in 2018because officials wanted to create a way for officials to correct glaring errors that impact the outcome of a match.
A total of 96 of the more than 380 AHSAA football schools played in at least one game that offers instant replay in 2018, according to the governing body, with 23 of the 96 challenges resulting in appeals being canceled.
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During the Super 7 Championships at the Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, the AHSAA used the Auburn video system which is in place for SEC matches. In Auburn, four of the 12 contested calls were quashed – three of the quashed calls being to spot the ball – and another knockdown was part of an automatic review of a scoring game.
Almost half of the schools that used instant replay in 2018 games – 47 of 96 – are in grades 6A and 7A. This was expected, as the state’s top schools generally have stronger fundraising capabilities.
AHSAA officials were happy with the first year of instant proofreading.
“Our first year of the experience exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Jones, director of officials for AHSAA. “Instant Replay has been shown to work with the limited camera angles we have. “
High school coaches support the idea and implementation of Instant Replay, but they also note the downsides, including cost and technical difficulties.
The AHSAA has partnered with DVsport as the exclusive supplier of instant replay systems. The optional instant replay system offered to Alabama high school football teams costs about $ 3,000 the first year and about $ 1,500 per year in subsequent years.
The system plugs into a team’s current video recording capabilities, and field managers access the video replay using a portable tablet, such as an iPad.
High schools are not required to use instant replay and instead have the option of purchasing a system from DVsport. Additional cameras, including pylon cameras, can be purchased, but this increases the cost.
“It’s not something all high schools can afford,” John Carroll coach Logan Colafrancesco said.
Most high schools in Alabama already purchase an annual subscription to HUDL, a video system that allows coaches to trade match tapes, create highlight videos for recruiting purposes, and make cutouts to help. to develop screening reports.
Some coaches have complained about the AHSAA’s mandate to use DVsport, instead of using its existing HUDL system.
Vestavia Hills coach Buddy Anderson said the system only worked once during home games at Thompson Reynolds Stadium in 2018. He said he didn’t know why, but the buying and not being able to use it left him pessimistic.
Others note that most schools use two cameras – one from the sideline, usually from the roof or the press box, and another from a view of the back area – to film games. These two large angles make it difficult to replay effectively for many controversial games, such as if a receiver was in range for a catch or if a ball carrier fumbled before crossing the goal line.
Adding more cameras would help, but McAdory coach Bart Sessions stressed that the quality of the video is not as good as that of the camera operator. With most schools using students with little video training for cameras, the additional expense of more cameras might not be prudent.
“You need a lot of cameras to be successful,” said Briarwood Christian first-year coach Mathew Forester.
The AHSAA reported that a touchdown pass or incomplete pass into the end zone was canceled three times in 2018, while fumbles and forward progress accounted for 70% of the challenges.
Some coaches worried that adding an instant rerun would make games longer, but Jones said most reruns were under two minutes long.
When the AHSAA central board approved the instant replay in May 2018, officials said adjustments would likely be needed. This season, however, there is no change in the replay protocol.
Some coaches, including Jackson-Olin’s Tim Vakakes and Hoover’s Josh Niblett, said they didn’t get an instant replay last year and have no plans to add it for home games in 2019.
“I’m not smart enough to know when to throw the red flag,” Jackson-Olin coach Tim Vakakes joked.