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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Southland first FCS conference to adopt replay

Last Modified: Friday, May 23, 2014 10:59 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

If they missed it the first time, Southland Conference officials will be able to get a better look starting this fall.

The league’s board of directors approved the addition of instant replay for all Southland-hosted football games regardless of whether they are televised. The Southland is the first Football Championship Subdivision conference to approve full usage of replay.

“The board, based on the input provided by our football coaches and athletic directors in recent weeks, was very firm in its approval of full instant replay at our stadiums,” Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett said in a news release. “While there are numerous details ahead and some challenges to work through, the presidents were ready to get the process started and ensure our league was at the forefront of replay usage at the Division I Football Championship Subdivision level.”

The league said it has concrete plans as to how to fund and implement replay equipment at all SLC football stadiums by July’s football media day.

“We’re waiting on some information on how to get folks trained, what’s involved with camera equipment, and replay itself,” said SLC director of communications Todd Lamb. “We had to get the board of directors on board before we started having those types of discussions. They gave us the green light to put in the financial resources for the technology for our home games. We don’t have all the details finalized yet.”

Lamb said the league’s officiating consortium with the Big 12 and Mountain West conferences allow for a smooth transition. Replay is available to FCS schools in the playoffs, but has only been used by other conferences for televised games.

Details about the share of costs are not finalized, but Lamb said there will be a “significant investment from the conference to get it up and running.”

Coaches, including McNeese State’s Matt Viator, are pleased to finally have the technology previously available only at Football Bowl Subdivision schools available to the SLC.

“From a competitive standpoint, it’s great,” Viator said. “We didn’t want it to only be for TV games. To be where it’s uniform, we wanted it to be all or none, and we’re excited the presidents and ADs agreed to do it. It moves us forward with the game as a conference.”

The lack of replay at the FCS level became a significant issue last season when the NCAA introduced new rules about hits targeting the heads of opposing players, which results in an automatic ejection. Targeting was subject to an automatic replay review for FBS schools, but no such recourse was available at the FCS level.

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