Clear-Com Delivers the Verdicts for College Football Instant Replays

Video refereeing is now an established part of many sports. The replay element of the process has been proven but to ensure the game is not held up unduly, the official’s decision has to be swiftly communicated to the referee or umpire on the field. Two divisions of the US College Football Conferences are looking to do just that with a collaborative, centralised instant replay system combining Clear-Com’s communications products with video technology from DVSport.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) introduced an experimental rule on collaborative instant replay techniques last year and carried out tests of the technologies required. The two divisions have now confirmed the viability of the system and will use the Clear-Com/DVSport combination to review any incidents that occur during all future games.

The system operates on a centralised principle, with senior league officials analysing footage at a Command Centre. Any decisions are then communicated to technicians and replay officials at the respective stadium. Video feeds from the DVSport Instant Replay system and audio signals from the Clear-Com intercom are carried over a secure IP network.

HDSport Instant Replay screens in the SEC Video Centre

HDSport Instant Replay screens in the SEC Video Centre

The communications set-up comprises a Clear-Com Eclipse HX matrix, with LQ IP interfaces at either end, V-Series rotary key panels in the Command Centre and RS-701 analogue belt packs for personnel in the stadia. Between two and four senior league officials scrutinise video in the Command Centre and make decisions on any contested rulings by the referee or incidents that those in charge on the field are uncertain about.

"The SEC implemented the concept of the Video Centre as a way to provide oversight to the in-stadium process by using both video and communication equipment that allows for complete interaction at all times with the replay booth and the field," comments Cole Cunningham, director of video operations for football at the SEC.

Clear-Com regional sales manager James Schaller explained that the Command Centre officials have a series of buttons in front of them, each labelled with the name of the city where a game is taking place. "When the senior officials need to review a play they can push a button and immediately connect with the people sitting in the replay booth at a venue and say 'Roll that back again' without any delay."

The Clear-Com/DVSport comms and replay system has been installed at 14 stadiums in the SEC, as well as at its Video Centre in Birmingham, Alabama; and at 15 arenas used by the ACC, which has its operations base in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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