Friday, January 23, 2015

College | Volleyball video replay challenges on the horizon?

NCAA volleyball rules committee recommends experiment by Big 12 schools; What do you think about the idea?

Players for both Washington and Nebraska plead their case to the referee during December's Round of 16 Nebraska win in Seattle
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann
Football has it. Baseball has it. Basketball and hockey and tennis have it.

Now, NCAA volleyball may allow video instant replay challenges, too.

When Washington lost 3-1 to Nebraska in December’s Round of 16, many fans howled about a pair of line calls in the fourth set (won by the Huskers, 29-27).

The following week in Oklahoma City, the use of video replays was a hot topic at the Final Four.

“I think officials are all trying to make the right call,” said Penn State head coach Russ Rose. “But it’s more important that the call is correct.”

“I’ve been a proponent (of replay challenges) for quite some time,” said Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott. “I think it’s something we should really consider.”

Now, Elliott may get his wish.

Yesterday, the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee recommended that Elliott’s conference, the Big 12, be permitted to experiment this fall with replay challenges. The Committee’s recommendation will be considered February 18 by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

Under the Big 12 plan, coaches would be allowed two instant replay challenges per set. Only the following challenges would be reviewable:
  • whether a ball landed in or out, or if a ball hit the court before being played.
  • whether the ball or a player touched the antenna.
  • whether a foot fault occurred on a serve.
  • net faults.
  • whether a ball is touched by a player.
  • whether a four-hit violation occurred.

The experiment would only be conducted during Big 12 conference matches at schools able to provide the necessary equipment and personnel.

“It’s a new technology,” said Elliott during the Final Four. He estimated that it could cost as much as $15,000 for a two-match weekend. “But I think it’s great for the fans. It would be fantastic. We could have one or two reviews, and the fans could sit there and watch, like they do in tennis. And it makes our sport better.”

Jack Hamann interviews US Women's National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly about the use of replay challenges during major international tournaments. Check out "Video Voices," a Volleyball Magazine series featuring with many of volleyball's leading minds. 

FIVB, volleyball’s international governing body, recently began using replay challenges at major international tournaments. (See our Volleyball Magazine interview with Karch Kiraly about his experience at the World Championships, won by the USA.) “There’s a reason they’re doing it at the highest level in the world,” said Rose. “It’s based on the speed of the game and the fact that they really want the calls to be correct.”

But, says Rose, “I think the cost is probably going to be prohibitive.”

In the first Oklahoma City semifinal, Texas trailed BYU 2 sets to 1. With the score tied at 24, BYU star Jennifer Hamson’s attack sailed long, but the down referee called a touch on the Texas block. Elliott’s passionate protest drew a yellow card. BYU went on the win the set and the match.

“You just want to give athletes the best chance to settle it on the floor,” said a visibly frustrated Elliott during the post-match press conference. “We saw some calls last week with Washington and Nebraska that were very tight. With instant replay, you get to do it right. That’s all we’re asking, is just to be fair.”

Your turn, readers. Check out our interview with Karch Kiraly, and tell us what you think about replay challenges.


  1. Glad to see this will be tested. I think it could be a real improvement!

  2. i agree; saw a couple of calls at the game and then in the replay there seems to be some calls missed BUT you wonder if that will slow the game down too much.

  3. Affirmative, we had far too many poorly officiated games last season. Second guess you we will.

  4. Replay is inevitable and the sooner the better. Cost may be prohibitive for some schools/conferences in the short run but those costs will likely come down. Key is ensuring that the process is relatively quick, as in tennis. We do not want the interminable delays of football replay. But we absolutely want replay to ensure fairness.

  5. They should implement replay for next season for when it matters the most: In the Regionals and Finals, once either team scores 20 points, with each coach having up to two challenges per set. The two apparently missed calls were the difference between UW being up 21-19 and down 19-21. It is much easier to recover from being down 9-11 than 19-21. There is NO reason to not do this NOW. Unless they just don't care about the integrity of what they see as a token sport...

  6. Everybody wants the games called fairly. These officials need some help. It was obvious in the UW Nebraska match


[It's okay to comment as "Anonymous," but please feel free to share your name and/or alias.]

Have your friends discovered Volleyblog Seattle? Number of unique visits: