I wrote earlier that the Big East is leading the push on changing the college replay system, putting control in the hands of the on-field referees instead of a replay official in the press box.
While that idea is merely being studied, the league is making a significant change to its replay system for 2010. And it's one that was very necessary. The Big East will use high-definition monitors in the replay booth instead of the old standard definition sets.
It's kind of hard to believe, but just about every league in the country was using the outdated monitors for replays last season, an issue that fans became aware of as several controversial calls were either questionably overturned or not reversed last season. There is a significant cost involved in transitioning the replay monitors to high definition, but the league's coaches and athletic directors overwhelmingly approved doing so at the Big East meetings earlier this week in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
"Even I underestimated the value of high-def until last year, I think," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said. "There were several instances where watched I plays on regular TV and then went to high-def, and there's clearly a difference, especially when you're talking about freeze framing and getting a clear understanding of what exactly took place."
One of the most controversial calls in the league last year came in the West Virginia-Cincinnati game. Officials on the field ruled the Bearcats' Isaiah Pead had fumbled at the goal line late in the first half and awarded the ball to West Virginia. But replay officials in the booth overturned the call and awarded Cincinnati a touchdown. The Bearcats won 24-21, while Mountaineers officials privately fumed that there was not indisputable evidence for the replay officials to make that decision.
Would the call have been any different had the replay officials been using high-def monitors? Who knows. But we won't have to ask that question this year.