Pac-12 Conference Athletic Directors Encourage Improvements to Instant Replay System

The Athletic Directors of the Pac-12 Conference have endorsed the findings and recommendations of an internal review that would strengthen the Conference’s instant replay officiating procedures in football games.

The review was conducted after a controversial decision to not add a “targeting” call to a late hit call in a September 21 football game between the University of Southern California (USC) and Washington State University. The Conference had already announced a clarification of its instant replay officiating protocols, and the review identified additional steps the Conference will take.

The review found that administrators responsible for the Conference’s football program and its officiating program had failed to put in place adequately clear and thorough procedures governing instant replay for football. It also found that administrator Woodie Dixon’s call into the Conference’s centralized replay center during the targeting call in question was a mistake and influenced the replay officials’ decision, though it also found the influencing of a replay decision was an isolated incident.

The review recommendations to be implemented are: (i) a protocol that clearly states that the instant replay supervisor in the San Francisco centralized replay facility has final decision-making authority, and that no administrator shall play any role in the deliberations, (ii) the development of a comprehensive manual governing all aspects of instant replay officiating, including detailed protocols and procedures, and (iii) disciplinary measures imposed on certain Pac-12 personnel responsible for the inadequate procedures and involved in the inappropriate influencing of the replay official’s decision in the USC vs. Washington State game.

The Pac-12 Athletic Directors jointly stated: “The safety of our student-athletes has been and will always be a priority with the Pac-12 Conference. The Conference office has acknowledged that mistakes have been made in our football replay process specific to the USC vs. Washington State game played on September 21, 2018. The Conference office has taken action with the personnel involved with the game and have made important changes to the replay process and protocol. These revisions have been presented to the Athletic Directors and we support the changes that have been implemented. Moving forward, we have confidence in the integrity of our process and the personnel charged with monitoring the process.”

“It is clear that a mistake was made and that action needed to be taken, as nothing is more important than the safety of our student-athletes and the integrity of our competition,” says Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “We have been leaders in both of these essential areas. We are determined to learn from this episode and strengthen our officiating processes as a result.”

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