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Could We Get Instant Replay In College Lacrosse In The Near Future?

Probably not widespread, but getting it for the NCAA Tournament should be a priority

Long Island Lizards v Hamilton Nationals Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Maryland versus Virginia game will reignite the debate over whether college lacrosse should have instant replay. It’s tough not to argue that games shouldn’t be decided by a referee’s questionable whistle when we have the technology to fix bad calls.

However, while we have the capability to implement some form of instant replay, agreeing on what it would look like and/or making it happen on a wide-scale will not be an easy task. At the end of the day time, costs, & getting a consensus might prove too difficult to overcome in the immediate future. However, getting it for the NCAA Tournament might be something you could get a majority of decision-makers to agree is worth pursuing.

The first obstacle to instant replay in Division I college lacrosse is time. The earliest we could get it is 2021 as the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Committee would have to recommend the idea. The Committee meets every two years and last met in the summer of 2018 when they voted to implement an 80-second shot and other new rules. There’s a good chance that the emotions from the call in the MD vs. UVA game will dissipate by the time the Committee meets. Obviously another call could happen in next year’s NCAA Tournament that could revive the issue, but that’s not something you can count on if you are pro-instant replay.

The next big obstacle for instant replay is getting a consensus. If college lacrosse were to get instant replay, you’d need to get enough people to agree to the idea. Getting the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Committee to agree to recommend instant replay won’t be easy. It took the Committee years of surveying, discussion, and experimentation before ruling in favor of the shot clock and that was only after after a super-majority of Division I coaches voted in favor of the idea. Getting that kind of consensus on the issue of instant replay will be difficult.

After getting everyone on board with the notion that implementing instant replay is a good idea, you’d need some time to get agreement on how it would look. Would the coaches have challenges or would it be the ref’s decision? If you went with the challenge model like in the NFL, would you use instant replay on just goals & foot on the creases plays, or would coaches be able to get another look on other calls? There was a sequence today where UVA scored a goal in transition and it looked like they were offsides; would Tillman be allowed to challenge that none-call that led to a goal or would he only be allowed to ask for another look at Michael Kraus’ game-tying shot?

An additional concern could be the costs involved to install a uniform number of cameras to help capture all of the key angles. Many of you watch the games during the season and know that the production value varies drastically from one game to another. Getting enough teams to agree on the number of cameras needed to have a workable instant replay system might take some time. Moreover, to be honest, sometimes all the cameras in the world won’t catch exactly what you need to see if the call was good or not.

I appreciate and agree with many of the arguments on the pro-instant replay side of the aisle. However, while I think that you could make a great case that the game needs instant replay, having it in college lacrosse on a wide-scale in the next couple years will be a stretch.

However, I do think that you could get a consensus on the idea that we should have instant replay for the NCAA Tournament. Getting agreement on what form it should look like might take some convincing, but I think the stakes are too high to not have it in the dance. A lot more eyes are watching in May and you don’t want to have games like the Virginia vs. Maryland one this afternoon be tainted because of a bad call.

So if you want instant replay, start out small and focus your attention on getting it for the NCAA Tournament, because that’s where we probably can get the most agreement.