Thursday, February 5, 2009

Use of instant replay expanded

The WNBA Board of Governors voted to allow the expanded use of instant replay by game officials beginning this season, it was announced today. The Board was scheduled to meet Wednesday. The two modifications will allow referees to use instant replay for the following scenarios:

(1) To determine at any point during a game whether a field goal was correctly scored as a two- or three-point field goal, and, for the purposes of awarding the correct number of free throws, whether a shooter was fouled while taking a two- or three-point attempt.

(2) When the game clock malfunctions during a play concluding with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter or overtime period.

With respect to the first scenario, review would occur at the discretion of the game officials. In the second scenario, game officials are currently required to reconstruct the timing of a play occurring during a clock malfunction; the use of replay would enable them to do so with greater accuracy.

The first rule expansion seems like a natural one, though in reference to the second one, I'm not sure how often a clock malfunction really impacts a game. The sense here, though, is that league officials don't want to slow down the game at any opportunity, but with replay becoming a bigger part of every professional sports league, there must have been some who voiced the need for greater use of the technology.

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