Proposal to Use Instant Replay in Championships

At the April 16-17 meeting of the State Executive Committee in Macon, a proposal to use Instant Replay at the Football State Championship games will be considered. Below is the entire protocol and procedures that will be voted on:

GHSA Football Video Review Protocol

Section 1: Purpose and Philosophy

Article 1. Video Review is a process whereby video review is used to confirm, let stand, or reverse certain on field decisions made by game officials.

Article 2. The Video Review process operates under the assumption that the official's ruling on the field is correct. The replay official may reverse a ruling only if the video evidence convinces him or her beyond all doubt that the ruling on the field was incorrect. Without indisputable video evidence that the ruling on the field was incorrect, the ruling will stand as called.

Section 2: Video Review Personnel & Equipment

Article 1. The GHSA Football Video Review System will have three officials 1) The Video Review Official, who will make all decisions regarding replay; 2) The Communicator, who will assist the Video Review Official with such duties as obtaining the video replays and in communication; 3) the Sideline Replay Assistant (SRA) will be easily identifiable. The SRA will also wear the communications headset on the sideline always and be prepared to give the headset to the Referee in the event the game is stopped for a review. This person should stand on the press box side of the field on one of the 20-yard lines.

Article 2.  All reviewable video will come from network television (such as GHSA Syndicated Productions, GPB, Peachtree TV, or ESPN) or from other video means on site (e.g., web streaming cameras); the video to support Video Review will be taken from the respective production truck or from these cameras and be fed to the booth by multiple independent high-definition broadcast production feeds.

Article 3. The instant replay area shall be a protected area and restricted to only the Video Review officials. The area will contain all necessary equipment to review a play during the instant replay process. The Video Review area shall be in a secure location near the sideline, outside the team boxes or other GHSA designated area and not allow anyone, other than the replay officials, within 15 feet of the review.

Article 4. The Video Review provider is responsible for having two red flags for the coaches to use during the contest. Instant replay will not be utilized if both teams do not have red flags. The Video Review flag may be self-made using a 12"x12" red cloth or purchased from a vendor.

Section 3: Eligibility for Instant Replay

Article 1. Video Review will be used for GHSA Football state championship contests and is solely the property of the GHSA. The GHSA will use equipment provided by the venue. The GHSA will designate a replay booth official for each state championship finals.

Section 4: Reviewable Plays

Article 1. Reviewable plays involving a potential score include:

  1. A potential touchdown or safety. [Exception: Safety by penalty for fouls that are not specifically reviewable.]
  2. Field goal attempts if and only if the ball is ruled (a) below or above the crossbar or (b) inside or outside the uprights when it is lower than the top of the uprights. If the ball is higher than the top of the uprights as it crosses the end line, the play may not be reviewed.

Article 2. Reviewable plays involving passes include: Pass ruled complete, incomplete or intercepted anywhere in the field of play or an end zone.

  1. Forward pass touched by a player (eligible or ineligible) or an official, including whether the touching is beyond or behind the line of scrimmage.
  2. Forward pass or forward handing when a ball carrier is or has been beyond the neutral zone.
  3. A forward pass or forward handing after a change of team possession.
  4. Pass ruled forward or backward.
    1. If the pass is ruled forward and is incomplete, the play is reviewable only if: The ball goes out of bounds or there is confirmation of the recovery by the officials on the field. If the Video Review official does not have indisputable video evidence as to which team recovers or the ball going out of bounds, the ruling of incomplete pass stands.
    2. If the Video Review official reverses an incomplete forward pass ruling and the ball is recovered, it belongs to the recovering team at the spot of the recovery and any advance is nullified.
  5. Location of the ball when it is obviously in the field of play and a ruling of intentional grounding would result in a safety by penalty.

Article 3. Reviewable plays involving potential dead balls and loose balls include:

  1. Loose ball by a potential passer ruled a fumble.
  2. Loose ball by a passer ruled incomplete forward pass when there is clear recovery.
    1. If the Video Review official does not have indisputable video evidence as to which team recovers, does not have confirmation of the recovery by the officials on the field, or the ball going out of bounds, the ruling of incomplete pass stands.
    2. If the Video Review official rules fumble and the ball is recovered, the ball belongs to the recovering team at the spot of the recovery and any advance is nullified.
  3. Live ball not ruled dead in possession of a ball carrier.
  4. Loose ball ruled dead, or live ball ruled dead in possession of a ball carrier, when the clear recovery of a loose ball occurs in the immediate continuing football action.
    1. If the ball is ruled dead and the Video Review official does not have: Indisputable video evidence as to which team recovers; confirmation of the recovery by the officials on the field; or if the ball goes out of bounds, the dead-ball ruling stands.
    2. If the Video Review official rules that the ball was not dead, it belongs to the recovering team at the spot of the recovery and any advance is nullified.
  5. Ball carrier’s forward progress, spot of fumble, or spot of out-of-bounds backward pass, with respect to a first down or the goal line.
  6. Ball carrier in or out of bounds. If a ball carrier is ruled out of bounds, the play is not reviewable,
  7. Catch, recovery or touching of a loose ball by a player in bounds or out of bounds.
  8. A loose ball touching on or beyond a sideline, goal line, or end line, touching a pylon, or breaking the plane of a goal line.
  9. Catch or recovery of a loose ball in the field of play or an end zone.

Article 4. Reviewable plays involving kicks include:

  1. Touching of a kick.
  2. Player beyond the neutral zone when kicking the ball.
  3. Kicking team player advancing a ball after a potential muffed kick/fumble by the receiving team.
  4. Scrimmage kick crossing the neutral zone.
  5. Blocking by players of the kicking team before they are eligible to touch the ball on an on-side kick.
  6. A player touching or recovering a kick or loose ball who is or has been out of bounds during the kick.
  7. Receiving team advancing after a fair catch signal.

Article 5. Situations that may be addressed by the Video Review official:

  1. The number of players on the field for either team during a live ball.
  2. Clock adjustment and status when a ruling is reviewed with less than two minutes in the first half and less than five minutes in the second half.
  3. With less than one minute in either half and a replay review results in the on-field ruling being reversed, and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock, then the clock will be reset to the time the ball is declared dead by replay.
  4. Clock adjustment at the end of any quarter.

If the game clock expires at the end of any quarter, either during a down in which it should be stopped by rule through play when the ball becomes dead or after the down upon a request for an available team timeout, the replay official may restore time only under these conditions:

    1. The Video Review official has indisputable video evidence that time should have remained on the game clock when the ball became dead or when the team timeout was granted;
    2. If time expires in a half, and the clock would start on the Referee’s signal after review, there must be at least 3 seconds remaining when the ball should have been declared dead to restore time to the clock. With 2 seconds or 1 second remaining on the clock, the half is over unless Team A has a timeout remaining (This does not impact situations when the clock is stopped and will remain stopped until the snap such as an incomplete pass or a ball carrier out of bounds.);
    3. In the fourth quarter only, to restore time, the score differential must be eight points or less;
    4. The Video Review official’s video evidence includes the timeout signal by an official in the case where the game clock should have stopped for a requested team timeout.
  1. Correcting the number of a down.
    1. This includes the result of a penalty enforcement that includes an automatic first down or loss of down.
    2. The correction may be made at any time within that series of downs or before the ball is legally put in play after that series.

Article 6. Video Review shall not be used to review on-field rulings made by officials where a penalty flag was thrown (or not thrown) for fouls other than the situations listed below.

  1. The call or no call of a player throwing a forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage is reviewable.
  2. The call or no call of a team having more than 11 players participate during a down is reviewable.
  3. A foul for illegal contact that resulted in a disqualification is reviewable. (This     includes, but is not limited to, targeting, spearing, blind side block, and fighting)
  4. When Video Review is initiated (a challenge by either team) the Video Review official has the autonomy to correct any unsportsmanlike acts or flagrant fouls.

Article 7. When a team requests a challenge that does not meet the criteria for reviewable plays, the team will be charged with a time out and accessed a delay of game penalty if they don't have any time outs remaining.

Article 8. The decision of the Video Review official is final. Protest are not allowed.

Section 5: Initiating the Video Review Process

Article 1. There are two methods to stop a game to review a ruling on the field.

Video Review Stops the Game

  1. The Video Review official and their crew shall review every play of a game. The Video Review official may stop a game at any time before the ball is next legally put in play whenever they believe that:
    1. There is reasonable evidence to believe an error was made in the initial on-field ruling.
    2. The play is reviewable.
    3. The outcome of a review would have a direct, competitive impact on the game.

Head Coach Challenge

    • The head coach of either team may request that the game be stopped, and a play be reviewed by challenging the on-field ruling.
    • Video Review shall be initiated by the designated head coach tossing a red flag onto the field in front of a nearby official. The flag must be thrown following the end of the play in question and prior to the next legal snap or free kick of the next play. The officials will call an officials' time out to confer with the coach as to what is being challenged.
    • NO TIME OUT WILL BE CHARGED NO MATTER THE OUTCOME OF THE CHALLENGE. Whether the challenged ruling is upheld or changed, the team will not have more than 1 challenge per half.  
    • A head coach may not challenge a ruling in which the game was stopped, and a decision has already been made by the Video Review official.

Article 2. Each team shall be allowed two Video Reviews during a contest, (one per each half).  In the final two minutes of each half, no challenges will be allowed from either team.  All video review will be initiated from the Video Review Official during the last two minutes of each half.

Article 3. The review official will have a maximum of two minutes to make a decision on the challenge. The two minutes will begin once the official is on the headset.

Article 4.   When a challenge is reversed on a penalty play, the offended team will be given new penalty options based on the result of the reversal of the challenge.

Article 5. A game may be stopped, either by the Video Review official or by a head coach’s challenge, at any time before the ball is next legally put in play.

b. No game official may request that a game be stopped for a play to be reviewed.

Section 6. Reviewing an On-Field Ruling

Article 1. a. When a game is to be stopped either by the Video Review official or by a head coach’s challenge, the designated officials on the field will be notified by a paging system or other appropriate means.

  1. If the review is initiated by the Video Review official, the referee shall announce:

“The ruling on the previous play is ... (brief description of ruling). The play is under further review.” If the game has been stopped due to a head coach’s challenge, the referee shall announce:

“The (name of institution) head coach has challenged the ruling of (state the ruling). The play is under further review.”

  1. All reviews shall be based upon video evidence provided by and coming directly from the televised production of the game or from other video means available to the Video Review official that is also available to the television producer (if applicable).
  2. After the referee has conferred with the Video Review official and the review process has been completed, the referee shall make one of the following announcements:
    1. If the video evidence confirms the on-field ruling:

“After further review, the ruling on the field is confirmed.”

    1. If there is no indisputable (conclusive) evidence to reverse the on-field ruling:

     “After further review, the ruling on the field stands.”

    1. If the on-field ruling is reversed:

“After further review, the ruling is [followed by a brief description of the video evidence].

Therefore, [followed by a brief description of the impact of the ruling].”

  1. If a ruling is reversed, the Video Review official shall supply the referee with all pertinent data as needed (next down, distance, yard line, position of the ball, clock status/adjustment) in order to resume play under the correct game conditions.

Article 2. a. There is no restriction on the number of times the Video Review official may stop a game for reviews.

b. The expectation is that the Video Review official will not exceed two minutes to complete a review. If the review has end of game impact or has multiple aspects as a part of the review, it should be completed efficiently but will have no stated time limit.

Section 7. Reversing an On-Field Ruling

ARTICLE 1. To reverse an on-field ruling, the Video Review official must be convinced beyond all doubt by indisputable video evidence through one or more video replays provided to the monitor.

Note: During game stoppage for a review, the stadium video system may NOT show any replays of the play in question. Once the Referee announces the outcome, ONE replay of the play may be shown at normal speed.

GHSA Championship Games Video Review Operation

  1. Video Review Game Officials
  • One replay official, one communicator and one sideline replay assistant for each game.
  1. Replay official sees the replay and determines the play
  2. Communicator has a headset to the Network truck and gets the views for the replay official
  3. Sideline Assistant communicates with the crew chief from the replay official – Stops Play.
  4. Sideline Assistant will need to have a radio to communicate with each crew – we can mandate this from each association working each game.
  5. Sideline Assistant will communicate the outcome of the reviewed play to the Game Officials Crew Chief.
  1. Video Review Equipment
  • Replay Booth
    1. MBS will set up a safe and secure booth for video review
    2. This booth must have 2 monitors with direct network feeds and
    3. A direct line to the network production truck (for the communicator)
    4. 1 set of Coach Comm communication headsets for video review crew
  1. GHSA approved and trained Video Review Game Officials crews for multiple days and multiple games.  (One crew per game per day)
  1. Zoom call for all the Crew Chiefs selected for Championship games to review procedures with video review.
  1. Zoom call for all the Video Review Game Officials selected for Championship games to review procedures with video review. Zoom call must include:
    1. Production Crew Network staff
    2. Video Review Crews
    3. Video Review Training Staff
  1. Video Review Game Officials will be paid a championship game fee per game – same as the on-field officials.
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