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Upon Further Review | The first year of instant replay in the AHSAA

Birmingham, AL – What has been a common scene during NFL and NCAA games became a reality on some Alabama high school football sidelines in 2018 when the AHSAA brought instant replay into prep stadiums for the first time.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) joined three other state associations in the implementation of instant replay at the the high school level, but the AHSAA was the first to bring the technology into regular season football contests. The Minnesota State High School League, The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and Texas’ University Interscholastic League have implemented instant replay in some capacity.

In it’s first year of implementation, the DVSport instant replay system was used in a limited number of games during the regular season but was used during all seven contests at the Super 7 state championships at Jordan-Hare Stadium. During the championship week in Auburn, twelve total challenges were made with four calls being overturned including one automatic review of a scoring play. AHSAA officials were able to utilize the equipment used for Auburn University home games during the championship contests allowing for an automatic review of all scoring plays without a coaches challenge. Spot of the ball was reversed three times in addition to a fumble being reversed to an incomplete pass. One touchdown pass was wiped off the board as a result of a coaches challenge, the spot of the ball was challenged six times, fumbles were challenged four times and incomplete passes challenged twice.

Including the 14 teams that participated in the Super 7 championships, 96 programs utilized instant replay, at some point, during 2018. At the end of the season 96 total plays were challenged with 23 calls being overturned. The average review took between 90 seconds and two minutes which did not result in a significant legenthing of most games.

The optional instant replay system cost Alabama high schools $3,000 for the first year and approximately $1,500 annually in subsequent years, a few dollars less than an new set of sideline headsets for a prep coaching staff. The initial $3,000 investment provided schools with replay equipment and startup training with the annual $1,500 covering support, equipment maintenance and ongoing training from DVsport.

Prior to the kickoff of the 2018 football season the AHSAA expected around a quarter of the associations programs to purchase the optional equipment and implement instant replay.

DVsport’s basic instant replay system, which syncs with school’s current video taping system, will accommodate up to six camera angles. Most Alabama high schools began with two cameras or less with the option to scale up to additional camera angles in the future.

The 2018 season was the first in the AHSAA’s three year authorization, from the National Federation of High Schools, to test the technology at the prep level.