I had to go to court today and so much of my day was spent in the car listening to the radio, in particular, the Ticket and Norm Hitzges. I do not think I could adequately explain the half-hour discussion he had, but I'll do my best to hit the highlights. The basic gist of his discussion this morning begins with the UT v. Kansas State game. There was a play in the 2nd quarter where the Kansas State quarterback completed a pass on 2nd down for 14 yards. Here's the Yahoo game log:
The week after the game, according to Norm, there was a story in the Dallas Morning News (which I cannot locate) where the Big XII admitted that there was a play where the replay official watched the replay of a play saw that the call on the field was incorrect, but decided not to notify the on-field officials. Norm, or the DMN, somehow determined that the play in question was the play mentioned above. The stance of the Big XII was that according to the replay official, not overturning this completion did not affect the competitive balance of the game.
The Big XII replay rules are here. I think that it's particularly important to point out the rule in question, Section 5, Article 1, a., 1, 2 and 3:
a. The replay official and the crew shall review every play of a game. The replay official may stop a game at any time before the ball is next put in play whenever:
1. There is reasonable evidence to believe an error was made in the initial on-field ruling.
2. The play is reviewable.
3. Any reversal of an on-field ruling, which would result from indisputable video evidence, would have a direct, competitive impact on the game.
Norm's point was that all of the criteria was met to overturn the pass play, except that the replay official felt that the completion which was not a completion, would not have a direct, competitive impact on the game.
If I've embellished any part of Norm's discussion this morning then please send me an email or post a comment. I wasn't able to take notes and I was on the road, nevertheless, all of this seems amazing.
The purpose of the replay official is to review every play of the game, but if the official learns that a play was ruled improperly during the game, then the replay official gets to decide whether or not that play at that particular time had a direct, competitive impact on the game. Aside from the replay official having this type of power, that's quite a standard for the replay official to have to succumb to. Is there a football play that does not have a direct competitive impact on the game?
Norm also has apparently tried to contact the Big XII and raise a little hay regarding the entire situation, but it appears that he's not gotten very far so far. When Norm asked who was responsible for doing something about the replay rules, he was notified that no one was in charge of the replay rules.
I think that it's interesting that the Big XII has given so much power to the replay official and would be very surprised that this didn't come up for review at some point in the future. How does everyone else feel about this type of unilateral power? Who of you can definitively state what type of play has no direct, competitive impact on the game?
EDIT: I finally found the Dallas Morning News Article in question and wanted to post it here.