DESTIN, Fla. — Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw and his “hosses” are changing the way the Southeastern Conference handles instant replay.
The SEC will have three instant replay officials at its video command center in Birmingham, Alabama, to assist the on-site instant replay official with making calls. The unnamed replay officials, who Shaw referred to as his “hosses,” will view video from games in real time. The system was tested in April during the Alabama spring game in Tuscaloosa.
The officials in Birmingham will consult on calls, but the final decision to make or overturn a call will rest with the official at the game, Shaw said.
However, Shaw said Thursday at the SEC Spring Meeting, “If you’re going against the three in the command center, you’d better be willing to bet your career that you’re right.”
The instant replay booths at the 14 SEC stadiums will also be getting upgraded equipment this season that will allow the official on site to view plays from multiple angles.
“Why are we doing this?” Shaw asked. “First of all, consistency.
“Perfection is impossible. But we want to be consistent and correct.”
Shaw also discussed a number of rules changes for the 2016 season, among them:
• A sliding ball carrier is now protected under targeting rules.
• A head coach may request in advance that one of the three timeouts each half be a full timeout, though a team may still request a full if an earlier timeout leads to a TV commercial break.
• If the game clock is stopped for a penalty inside the last two minutes for a foul on the winning team, the game clock will start on the snap at the option of the “offended” team.
• An exception to the tripping rule, which allowed tripping of a ball carrier has been deleted.
• Blocking below the waist will only be allowed by players inside the tackle box until they or the ball leave the tackle box.
• An instant replay official may call a targeting foul that has not been called on the field
• Any coach who commits two unsportsmanlike conduct rules will be disqualified from a game.
Baseball announcement set
The future of the SEC baseball tournament is on deck.
The conference is set to announce Friday where the tournament will be played over the next three to five years. Five cities are in contention: Hoover, Alabama, where it has been since 1998; Metairie, Jacksonville, Florida; and Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.
Hoover, which is just a few miles away from the SEC headquarters in Birmingham, and Memphis, home of highly lauded Auto Zone Park, are considered the frontrunners.
Hartung gets new duties
A host of announcing assignments at ESPN and the SEC Network has resulted in some new duties for Baton Rouge native Kaylee Hartung.
Hartung will become the sideline reporter for SEC Network prime-time college football telecasts. Hartung replaces Maria Taylor, who is replacing Joe Tessitore as the host of SEC Nation, the SEC Network’s game-day college football preview show.
Tessitore is becoming the play-by-play announcer for ESPN prime-time college football telecasts.
Hartung, a former Episcopal High graduate, is also enjoying an expanded role as on-site reporter for “SportsCenter” and will continue to contribute content for SEC Nation.
Tranghese sets benchmark
One hundred seventy-five. That’s the number former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese wants SEC schools to have in mind when scheduling non-conference basketball games.
Tranghese, hired earlier this year to advise SEC schools on improving their basketball stock, has gotten the SEC to adopt a rule that says schools should not schedule any teams that don’t have a three-year RPI average of 175 or higher. That number will drop to 150 in the future.
The SEC got just three teams into this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament and has had just 11 the past three years combined.
“If you can’t beat decent people, you don’t deserve to be in the tournament anyway,” Tranghese said. “So play them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Everything.”
Fargas: Oh, give us a home
LSU coach Nikki Fargas would like to see the SEC women’s basketball tournament get a home base as the men’s tournament has found in Nashville, Tennessee.
The men’s tournament is in Nashville three of every four years. The women’s tournament goes to Greenville, South Carolina, in 2017, Nashville in 2018 (the men’s tournament will be in St. Louis) but has no firm plans after that until it returns to Nashville in 2022.
“I think that the consensus is for us to find a permanent home and one where we can continue to grow and build,” Fargas said.
Fargas said she didn’t have a city in mind to be the women’s tournament’s permanent host.
“I’m open to the community that’s going to embrace women’s basketball and the SEC,” she said.
LSU professor honored
LSU chemistry professor Isiah Warner was honored here Thursday night at the annual SEC awards dinner as the 2016 SEC Professor of the Year.
Warner, who was selected in April, is a Boyd Professor at LSU as well as the Phillip W. West Professor of Chemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. The Bunkie native is considered one of the world’s experts in analytical applications of fluorescence spectroscopy. He is the first LSU professor to receive this honor.
Winners are selected by SEC provosts from among each school’s SEC faculty achievement award recipients. Warner will be presented with a $20,000 honorarium.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.