This is a big step in the right direction.
The National Basketball Association today announced that the league’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved modifications to the instant-replay process for NBA games, beginning with the 2015-16 season.
This season, in addition to the three referees working each game, current NBA referees will be staffed in the Replay Center, making decisions on certain replay situations and facilitating the on-the-court review of others.
All replay reviews will continue to be triggered by the referees on the court. Once triggered, though, the final determination of certain reviews will be made by the referees in the Replay Center and then communicated back to the oncourt crew chief for administration of the call.
“Many instances in our 15 instant-replay triggers are very straightforward and do not need the involvement of the oncourt game officials to accurately determine the result,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. “Flow of game is crucial to basketball so a quicker result will help our players and coaches return to action faster.”
Examples of replays that will be determined by the NBA Replay Center are whether a field goal was a two- or three-point attempt, end-of-quarter made field goals, out-of-bounds calls, goaltending and potential shot-clock violations.
The oncourt referee crew chief will continue to make the final decision for the remaining replay situations, including flagrant and clear-path fouls, player altercations and restricted-area calls.
The current standard for overturning a call made on the floor will remain for all instant-replay reviews. A call is overturned only if there is “clear and conclusive” visual evidence for doing so.
During replay reviews in which the NBA Replay Center has final jurisdiction, only the crew chief will go to the scorer’s table to hear the Replay Center decision and see the definitive angle on video. The other two referees will get the players lined up to return immediately upon the final decision being conveyed.
When a review is initiated for the situations to be decided by the oncourt game officials, two referees will go to the table, review the video and discuss the event in collaboration with the NBA Replay Center. The third referee will be tasked with having the players ready to resume play quickly.
The NBA Replay Center will be staffed each game day by at least one current NBA referee and as many as four depending on the schedule of games.
Below is a chart clarifying which situations will be ruled upon by the Replay Center or the oncourt referees:
Replay Review Outcomes to be Determined by Referees in the Replay Center
1. 2-Point/3-Point Field Goal (made shot or foul)
2. Made Basket – End of Period
4. Shot Clock Violation (on Made Field Goal)
6. Clock Malfunction Situation (non-foul or non-violation involved)
7. 24-Second Shot Clock Reset
8. Number of Players on the Court
Replay Review Outcomes to be Determined by On-Court Referees
1. Flagrant Foul
2. Clear-Path-to-the-Basket Foul
3. Off-Ball Foul
4. Player Altercation
5. Foul – End of Period
6. Shot Clock Violation (involving foul call)
7. Correct Free Throw Shooter
8. Clock Malfunction Situation (foul or violation involved)
9. Restricted Area
NOTE: No modifications were made to the 15 replay triggers that were in place in the 2014-15 season.
I’m in favor of any change reduce the game’s dead periods. There’s no reason we should wait for a referee to get to a courtside monitor, put on headphones and squint at the screen while distracted by thousands of fans. Someone in the replay center could already determine these calls before the game ref even gets to the scorers’ table.
The next step is getting more calls determined by the review center – or, better yet, robots.