ARTICLE 1.Instant replay is a process whereby video review is used to confirm, overturn or let stand certain on-field decisions (Rule 12-3) made by game officials.
ARTICLE 2.The instant replay process operates under the fundamental assumption that the ruling on the field is correct. The replay official may overturn a ruling if and only if the video evidence (Rule 12-6-1c) convinces him beyond all doubt that the ruling was incorrect. Without such indisputable video evidence, the replay official must allow the ruling to stand. (Exception: Targeting rule 12-3-5a)
SECTION 2. Eligibility for Instant Replay
a. Any member institution may use instant replay, but there is no requirement to do so. If instant replay is used, it must be used in full compliance with this rule.
b. For any nonconference game, if the home team is using instant replay, the visiting team does not have the option of declining its use for that game. If the home team is not using instant replay, it is not required to honor a request by the visiting team that it be used.
c. The optional use of instant replay in games that do not have an instant replay booth official is permissible and must be in full compliance with Rule 12 with the following exceptions:
1. Exceptions to Rule 12-4: Instant Replay Personnel, Equipment and Location:
− The Referee will be the sole decision maker on any review and may include one additional crew member to consult on the review. − The equipment used in the review must be located outside the limit lines on the sideline or end zone and must be completely outside the team area. − The referee and additional crew member must be provided a separate, secure location away from fans, and sideline personnel with a tent or similar type shelter structure.
2. Exceptions to Rule 12-5: Initiating the Replay Process:
− The Referee will stop the game to review all Targeting Fouls that are called on the field. The only other method to stop a game for a replay review is through a head coach challenge as specified in Rule 12-5-1b. When the head coach requests a timeout for replay review, the replay challenge flag must be dropped on the field of play. − Other than for a Targeting review, the crew on the field may not initiate an instant replay review.
− The head coach may initiate a Targeting review if the team has a timeout available and a coach’s challenge remaining.
SECTION 3. Reviewable Plays
As a general rule, the position of the ball in relation to the goal line is always reviewable by instant replay.
ARTICLE 1.Reviewable plays involving a potential score include:
a. A potential touchdown or safety. [Exception:Safety by penalty for fouls that are not specifically reviewable.]
b. 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:
a. Pass ruled complete, incomplete or intercepted anywhere in the field of play or an end zone.
b. Forward pass touched by a player (eligible or ineligible) or an official, including whether the touching is beyond or behind the line of scrimmage.
c. Forward pass or forward handing when a ball carrier is or has been beyond the neutral zone.
d. A forward pass or forward handing after a change of team possession.
e. 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; there is clear recovery of a loose ball in the immediate continuing action; or there is confirmation of the recovery by the officials on the field. If the replay 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 replay official overturns 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.
f. Location of the ball when it is obviously in the field of play or in the end zone and there is a ruling of intentional grounding on the field.
Dead Ball and Loose Ball
ARTICLE 3.Reviewable plays involving potential dead balls and loose balls include:
a. Loose ball by a potential passer ruled a fumble.
b. Loose ball by a passer ruled incomplete forward pass when there is clear recovery or the ball goes out of bounds in the immediate continuing action after the loose ball.
1. If the replay 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 replay 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.
c. Live ball not ruled dead in possession of a ball carrier.
d. Loose ball ruled dead (Rule 4-1-2b-2), 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 replay official does not have indisputable video evidence as to which team recovers or confirmation of the recovery by the officials on the field, the dead-ball ruling stands.
2. If the replay 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.
e. 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.
f. Catch or recovery of a fumble by a Team A player other than the fumbler before any change of possession during fourth down or a try.
g. Ball carrier in or out of bounds. If a ball carrier is ruled out of bounds, the play is not reviewable, except as in Rules 12-3-1a and 12-3-3d.
h. Catch, recovery or touching of a loose ball by a player in bounds or out of bounds.
i. 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.
j. Catch or recovery of a loose ball in the field of play or an end zone.
k. Forward fumble that goes out of bounds with respect to a first down.
CFO Bulletin August 2019
Play #5: QB A12 is hit while attempting to throw a forward pass and the Referee rules an incomplete pass. The ball hits the ground and bounces back into Team A's end zone where it goes into a pile of players from both teams that scramble for the ball. The ball is clearly in the end zone. After review, Replay determines that it was clear and obvious that A12 fumbled the ball.
RULING: There is no clear recovery by the defensive team, so a touchdown cannot be awarded. However, the ball is obviously in the end zone where someone recovered while grounded, making the ball dead by rule: safety. The on-field ruling of an incomplete pass is therefore reversed to fumble and a safety.
ARTICLE 4. Reviewable plays involving kicks include:
a. Touching of a kick.
b. Player beyond the neutral zone when kicking the ball.
c. Kicking team player advancing a ball after a potential muffed kick/fumble by the receiving team.
d. Scrimmage kick crossing the neutral zone.
e. Blocking by players of the kicking team before they are eligible to touch the ball on an on-side kick.
f. A player touching or recovering a kick or loose ball who is or has been out of bounds during the kick.
g. Receiving team advancing after a fair catch signal.
a. The replay official shall review all targeting fouls, Rules 9-1-3 and 9-1-4. For a player to be disqualified and the Targeting foul to be enforced, all elements of a Targeting foul must be confirmed by the Instant Replay Official. There is no option for stands as a part of a Targeting review. If any element of Targeting cannot be confirmed, then the Replay Official shall overturn the targeting foul.
(b) A player takes aim at a defenseless opponent for the purposes of attacking with forcible contact to the head or neck area.
(c) An indicator of targeting is present.
b. The replay official may create a targeting foul from the booth when all elements of targeting can be confirmed and the foul is not called by the officials on the field. Such a review may not be initiated by a coach’s challenge.
ARTICLE 6.Situations that may be addressed by the replay official:
a. The number of players on the field for either team during a live ball.
b. Clock adjustment and status when a ruling is reviewed and overturned with less than two minutes in the 2nd quarter or with less than two minutes in the 4th quarter.
c. With less than one minute in either half and a replay review results in the on-field ruling being overturned, 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. The referee will subtract 10 seconds from the game clock and the game clock will start on the referee’s signal. Either team may use a team timeout to avoid the runoff.
d. 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 replay 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 time out 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 (after a touchdown, all potential results of the try down must be considered);
4. The replay 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.
e. 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.
f. Any person who is not a player interfering with live-ball action occurring in the field of play (Rule 9-2-3).
g. An injured player at the initiation of the medical observer.
Limitations on Reviewable Plays
ARTICLE 7.No other plays or officiating decisions are reviewable. However, the replay official may correct obvious errors that may have a significant impact on the outcome of the game, including those involving the game clock, whether or not a play is reviewable. This excludes fouls that are not specifically reviewable (See Article 8, following).
ARTICLE 8.The following plays are reviewable and the replay official may create a foul when there is no call by the on-field officials:
a. Player making a forward pass or forward handoff when the player’s entire body and the ball is or has been beyond the neutral zone or after a change of possession (Rule 12-3-2c and 12-3-2d).
b. Player beyond the neutral zone when kicking the ball (Rule 12-3-4b).
c. Blocking by players of the kicking team before they are eligible to touch the ball on an onside kick (Rule 12-3-4e).
d. The number of players on the field for either team during a live ball (Rule 12-3-6a).
e. Illegal touching of a forward pass by an originally eligible receiver who has gone out of bounds or touching of a forward pass by an originally ineligible player (Rules 12-3-2b and 12-3-3h).
f. A player touching or recovering a kick or loose ball who is or has been out of bounds during the kick. (Rule 12-3-4f).
g. Forward pass that becomes illegal as a second pass after an on-field ruling of a backward pass is reversed (Rule 12-3-2e).
SECTION 4. Instant Replay Personnel, Equipment and Location
ARTICLE 1.Instant replay personnel shall consist of the number of persons needed to operate the replay equipment within the necessary time constraints. There shall be a minimum of three persons to ensure that all plays are reviewed in an efficient and timely manner. Such persons are normally referred to as replay official, communicator and technician. Additional personnel may be used as needed.
a. The type of equipment used to carry out necessary instant replay duties shall be determined by each conference or member institution using instant replay.
b. Additional equipment needed to allow instant replay personnel to communicate with the game referee when a game has been stopped for a play review shall be located on a sideline near the field of play and preferably outside a team area. Such equipment shall provide the game referee and the replay official a secure and private means of communication.
c. A protected wireless official-to-official communication system (i.e., O2O) open only to the officiating crew, instant replay and conference officiating observer is permitted.
ARTICLE 3. All equipment used to review a play during the replay process and the personnel using that equipment shall be located in a separate, secure location in the traditional press box area. This room shall not be available or accessible to any person not directly involved in instant replay. As an ongoing experiment, a collaborative decision-making model during instant replay reviews that is in full compliance with Rule 12 is not limited to the press box of a stadium.
SECTION 5. Initiating the Replay Process
ARTICLE 1. There are two methods to stop a game to review a ruling on the field.
a. The replay official and their crew shall review every play of a game. The replay official may stop a game at any time before the ball is next legally put in play (Exception:Rule 12-3-6d) 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.
b. The head coach of either team may request that the game be stopped and a play be reviewed by challenging the on-field ruling.
1. A head coach initiates this challenge by taking a team timeout before the ball is next legally put in play (Exception:Rule 12-3-6d) and informing the referee that they are challenging the ruling of the previous play. If a head coach’s challenge is successful, they retain the challenge, which may be used only once more during the game. Thus, a coach may have a total of two challenges if and only if the initial challenge is successful.
2. After a review has been completed, if the on-field ruling is overturned, that team’s timeout will not be charged.
3. After a review has been completed, and the on-field ruling is not overturned, the charged team timeout counts as one of the three permitted that team for that half or the one permitted in that extra period.
4. A head coach may not challenge a ruling in which the game was stopped and a decision has already been made by the replay official. However, a head coach may challenge an aspect of the same play if that component of the play was not considered by the replay official as part of the initial review.
5. If a head coach requests a team timeout to challenge an on-field ruling and the play being challenged is not reviewable, the timeout shall count as one of the three permitted team timeouts during that half of the game or the one permitted in that extra period.
6. A head coach may not challenge an on-field ruling if the team timeouts are not available or have been exhausted for that half or in that extra period.
When To Stop a Game
a. A game may be stopped, either by the replay official or by a head coach’s challenge, at any time before the ball is next legally put in play (Exception:Rule 12-3-6d).
b. No game official may request that a game be stopped for a play to be reviewed.
SECTION 6. Reviewing an On-Field Ruling
a. When a game is to be stopped either by the replay 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.
b. If the review is initiated by the replay 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.”
c. 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 replay official that is also available to the television producer.
d. After the referee has conferred with the replay 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.”
2. If there is no indisputable (conclusive) evidence to overturn the on-field ruling:
“After further review, the ruling on the field stands.”
(Exception:12-3-5a — Stands is not an allowable ruling or targeting.)
3. If the on-field ruling is overturned (Rule 12-7):
“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].”
e. If a ruling is reversed, the replay 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. If replay has all of the information required to overturn the on-field ruling, O2O may be utilized to facilitate the process.
a. There is no restriction on the number of times the replay official may stop a game for reviews.
b. The expectation is that the replay 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
Criterion for Reversal
ARTICLE 1. To overturn an on-field ruling, the replay official must be convinced beyond all doubt by indisputable video evidence through one or more video replays provided to the monitor. [Exception: Targeting (Rule 12-3-5).]