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NCAA has to institute instant replay in volleyball

Trailing 7-6 in the fifth and final set of the Elite Eight round to Texas, Florida thought it had grabbed the necessary point to tie the set and gain the momentum. But the officials thought otherwise.

The potential tying shot was called out even as replay showed that the ball landed in.

Texas went onto fight out a tough 17-15 set win and a 3-2 victory to advance to the Final Four in Omaha this weekend, but it could have been a much different match had the correct call been made.

This season, the NCAA tried out instant replay in the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC conferences, but the system wasn’t in place for arguably the biggest call of the season — you know, the one that has the power to continue a dream run or bring a season to an end. It will be next year at the earliest before that system, which is only uses television angles, is implemented. And it all comes too late for the Gators.

It also came too late for the Longhorns. Last year, Texas was in a similar situation. Down 2-1 in the Final Four to BYU, the Longhorns thought they had a tie-breaking point when a Cougar shot went long. But instead, despite what I saw from the media seating courtside and what video replay showed, the down official away from the play called a touch on Texas, giving BYU a 25-24 lead, which the Cougars would make into a 3-1 win.

There’s no valid argument against instant replay in volleyball. Back in September I wrote a column for The Daily Texan on this very issue, recalling that Final Four game and saying that the NCAA has to do something. This game has gotten so much faster for the officials watching the game and it’s not necessarily fair to make them have to make quick judgement calls that have so much weight on them.

In fact, I’m sure officials would be happy to have a replay system in place for the tournament. I’m sure it’s a burden lifted to know that you can go to the video if a call is that close and get it right. Because that’s what it’s all about — getting the call right. That’s what was needed last December in Oklahoma City and just a couple of days ago in Austin. And I don’t care if it goes against the team I root for; I just want the correct call made.

Now, will the replay system be perfect and get 100 percent of the calls correct? No. Of course not. Tennis and soccer’s goal-line technology are the only systems that get all the calls right. But that shouldn’t stop the NCAA from trying. Even if 50 percent of the calls that would normally be wrong are made right, then it is successful.

But the NCAA has to do something. This has to change. We can’t have teams’ seasons ending on missed calls. Maybe the system is to big to implement across the board in the regular season, but instant replay has to make an appearance in the NCAA tournament to make things right.

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