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Big 12’s Walt Anderson: Central Michigan Fiasco Not the Reason for New Replay Center



Big 12 Media Days was a whirlwind of sorts. Mullets, faux Heisman campaigning, mullet wigs. It had it all. But aside from all the fun, the Big 12 announced a change that’s apparently been in the works for some time — and one that would have helped Oklahoma State a year ago.

Walt Anderson, the Big 12’s coordinator of officials, led off on Tuesday morning and announced some rule changes and clock management updates. Most importantly, he announced the Big 12 will be utilizing a designated replay command center at the league’s office to assist with any reviewable calls and scoring plays. Basically, anytime a replay official is used, the command center will assist.

The NBA switched to a similar idea three years ago with a central replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey. It houses 94 HD monitors which are manned during all games for real-time review of applicable calls/plays. The change has resulted in not only more eyes on the play, but an expedited replay process overall.

The Big 12’s operation won’t be on that scale obviously. But Anderson and/or associate coordinator David Warden will assist on all reviewed plays that occur at a Big 12 home game. They’ll have access to both the replay angles and the broadcast feed. And they’ll have the replay official’s ear.

The reason this change is particularly pertinent for OSU fans is the Central Michigan fiasco from last season and how a similar system could have avoided it.

“We certainly are going to work at avoiding those types of situations,” Anderson said. “And like just about all rule changes, significant rule changes, we’ve been studying this for several years.”

Studying something is one thing. Implementing new policy and procedure is another. Especially when you’re dealing with organizations like the Big 12 and the NCAA.

“We’ve actually, the last couple of years, have done mock command center tests in real-time on game days, where even though we weren’t real-time, there was a bit of broadcast delay,” Anderson continued. “I was on the telephone with a replay official on several occasions the last two years. ‘Hey, let’s just talk through this because this is the direction we’re going.”

Unfortunately, no one made a phone call on September 10.

Mike Gundy was predictably asked for his input on the change. He’s held firm on his resolve not to acknowledge defeat, going so far as having “11-2” Alamo Bowl rings made for his players and staff.

“Well, we’ve been trendsetters in a lot of different ways at Oklahoma State,” Gundy said with a slight grin. “We went to a four-team playoff, maybe based on what happened with our team years ago. And unfortunately, we’re going to maybe a different replay system based on what happened to our team a year ago.”

But Gundy at least seems pleased that change is coming, even if it won’t wipe away the effects of last year’s debacle.

“I believe in the replay,” Gundy admitted. “I think it’s better. We want to get it right. I know it takes a little bit of time. I think any time we can go back and look and do the very best we can to make sure it’s correct and fair, I think it’s positive for football.”

But Anderson wouldn’t go as far as calling Oklahoma State trend setters.

“So that wasn’t the reason,” Anderson assured. “We were going to the command center, and we were planning to do it this year. I would have rather be going into the command center like we planned it this year without the Oklahoma State play having happened than it did happen, but it did happen.”

Well, at least there’s that.

Unfortunately, if a similar situation were to happen again — and Mike Gundy was certain of the rules — he would not be able to bare chest, march onto the field and lay down in protest. A coach leaving the sideline is now its own penalty, or at least one the officials plan on enforcing starting this fall.

I wonder if that penalty would result in an untimed down?

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