MSHSL is looking into instant replay

Published 7:17 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

By Jace Frederick

Pioneer Press

With the successes of limited replay in Minnesota high school basketball and hockey, Kevin Merkle often gets asked why it hasn’t expanded to football.

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It might be on its way.

Merkle, an associate director of the Minnesota State High School League, is looking into using replay in the Prep Bowl, and potentially state semifinals, too, he said Monday at the league’s board of directors’ meeting.

The replay system would likely be used in plays involving scores or turnovers.

“I think that would be the minimum,” Merkle said.

Other possible plays to review include, but aren’t limited to, catches, seeing if a player stepped out of bounds and potential targeting calls. Merkle even brought up the possibility of allowing coaches to challenge plays.

Merkle said many people at last fall’s Prep Bowl, the first at U.S. Bank Stadium, spent more time looking up at the large video boards than at the field, which at times revealed incorrect calls made by officials.

“We had some mistakes this last year,” he said. “Our officials do a great job, but they make errors.”

The goal is to fix the types of mistakes that could determine the outcome of a game. Merkle said replay has received support from the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and an advisory board of athletics directors. KSTC Channel-45, which owns broadcast rights to the Prep Bowl, told Merkle it “can make it happen,” though the broadcast only uses four cameras — much fewer than those used for NFL or big-time college broadcasts.

Merkle said even officials are in favor replay. “They want to get it right as bad as anyone else does,” he said.

Merkle said more discussion and research needs to be done, but noted that replay has become “more of an acceptable thing at all levels of play, if not an expected thing at most levels of play.”
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