By Michael Bingham
The Mountain West Conference announced Wednesday the decision to implement instant replay for the 2005 football season.
?The Mountain West Conference has proven it competes at the highest level of Division I-A football,? MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said. “This initiative, which we see as an opportunity to enhance our football operation, is another example of our commitment and something we have aggressively pursued.?
The MWC Board of Directors met on January 28 in Las Vegas and voted in favor of implementing the project. MWC instant replay is subject to approval by the NCAA, which plans to meet next Wednesday to discuss the matter.
Conference officials anticipate the NCAA to quickly approve the project in part because of the recommendation made by the NCAA Football Rules Committee to allow all member conferences to experiment with instant replay.
?[Like] the Mountain West Conference, we want to investigate it on our own terms,? said Tom Holmoe, MWC subcommittee member and BYU senior associate athletic director. ?So rather doing exactly what the Big Ten did, we felt we should get together and see what would be in the best interest of the conference.?
A MWC subcommittee will analyze information from the NFL?s instant replay system as well as the Big Ten Conference, which experimented with instant replay in 2004.
?The Big Ten Conference implemented it last year on an experimental basis and they were very happy with it,? Holmoe said. ?They expressed great enthusiasm to the rest of the conferences across the country that are interested it.?
All of the coaches in the conference are excited about implementing instant replay. While the coaches have minor concerns about the lengthening of game times, all are in favor of the decision, Holmoe said.
?This is a positive step to ensure the best officiating possible in the Mountain West Conference,? BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. ?I think this puts the MWC in the forefront of college football in terms of innovation and opportunity. I look forward to seeing the details of implementation and the exact format in which it will be used.?
Determining the format is the charge of the subcommittee, who will thoroughly outline the details of the MWC instant replay plan.
A list of reviewable plays will be established by the NCAA and whether coaches will be permitted to issue challenges will be left up to the individual conferences.
?I am in favor of decisions that improve the overall quality of the mountain west football product,? BYU Assistant Media Relations Director Jeff Reynolds said. ?I think this is a decision that will enhance the game.?