New Jersey high school football will experiment with voluntary video replay review in the 2018 season, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Wednesday.
Officials will be able to access replays using Hudl Sideline — an application that syncs live game film across devices, such as tablets or smartphones used by players and coaches on the bench or coaches’ booth — to review game tape and potentially reverse calls made on the field.
Coaches frequently use the replay software to gain a competitive advantage during games. Replays are available on devices about four seconds after the whistle, quick enough to run a no-huddle offense and still see instant replays. NFL and college teams can use tablets to view still photographs but not live video. Previously, teams printed out photos for in-game scouting.
State football officials will determine the policies to govern the review process by the end of the month, said Jack Dubois, the state’s associate athletic director. The National Federation of State High School Associations only granted New Jersey permission to experiment with video replay earlier Wednesday.
The state will search for “a handful” of schools to debut the program in the coming season, Dubois said.
“The technology is available, so why not try it?” he said. “This was actually generated from some coaches and officials who said the time is now to try to implement it and prevent some wrong calls.”
Minnesota used video replay during its 2017 state championship games. Georgia is set to use video review during its championship games as well after a controversial call in the 2017 Class AAA title game cause uproar statewide and prompted state legislators to demand high school football video replay.
Alabama and Arizona also have asked NFHS for permission to experiment with replay.
NFHS legalized Hudl sideline and similar sideline replay systems in 2013 and imposed barely any limitations on its use.
Players and coaches are allowed to use the technology at any time on the sideline. During breaks in play, they may use it on the field within nine yards of the sideline.
Teams may use as many devices as they want, and they may film from whatever angles they want.
If one team has a sideline replay system and its opponent does not, it may continue to use it, a break from football’s rules regulating radio communication. If one team’s radio headsets are not working during a game or if it elects not to use a radio system, its opponent is not allowed to use radio communication either.
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