Instant approval for instant replay

Three new teams won’t be the only change to Big East football next season.

The conference announced plans Wednesday to implement instant replay for all football games starting this season.

USF coach Jim Leavitt welcomes the change.

“I think it’s good; I think we’ll be fine,” he said. “I think it’ll be all right.”

The system will be identical to the system the Big Ten used in the 2004 season. It will use numerous cameras on the field, including television cameras, to get several views of the play in question.

A technical adviser — essentially an eighth referee — will then be able to review questionable plays. Referees on the field cannot overrule the technical adviser’s ruling.

The Big East joins the Mountain West, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences in adding instant replay this season.

“We have done significant research and analysis into the use of instant replay for our conference football games for the coming season,” said Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese. “Our football coaches and athletic directors endorsed the concept of instant replay earlier this year. We are pursuing what we think will be the best possible system for the coming season.”

The Big Ten, which became the first conference to use instant replay, saw the benefits of allowing replays during 2004. Last year, play was stopped in 28 of 57 games and 43 stoppages yielded 21 overturned calls.

The system barely affects the length of the game. In 2004, games in the Big Ten were only three minutes longer than they were in 2003.

USF joins Cincinnati and Louisville as newcomers in the Big East next season.