Villanova's game against JMU this weekend will be the first official CAA Football league game of the year, a televised affair, and one of the first test-cases for Instant Replay that will be rolled out. The league is considering a big step forward this season by testing out replay in a number of games, a decision that the commissioner Tom Yeager announced back in July. Most FCS games do not currently have replay, since that technology often uses television cameras to produce the replay footage -- the CAA has one of the most significant television packages in the subdivision, however.
Wildcats head coach Andy Talley is a proponent of the technology's use.
"I’m all for it," he told the Times-News. "It gives the officials the opportunity to have some backup. Some of the calls are really close. Nobody wants to have a call that’s incorrect."
Should this season's test be judged a success, the CAA may roll out replay for all of its league games, or all league members' home games. According to Yeager, the move wouldn't be reliant on the presence of television cameras if it were made permanent.
Talley told the Times-News that he suspected that the conference will move to have their member's stadiums ready to accommodate the equipment and structures needed to use replay more than occasionally. He fully expects a positive review of the system from his peers.
"I'm looking forward to when we can have instant replay for the league throughout the season," he said.
The only thing that could delay or hold-back a full-deployment would be the ability and willingness of school's athletic departments to invest to get their facilities ready for permanent replay. That means cameras, and a dedicated review booth in the press box. The league will have three more staff present to assist with replay, an extra game official, a communicator, and an observer.
Coaches will be able to challenge rulings as they are in most FBS conferences (or the NFL) and similar rules will apply to the proceedings. There may not be a television monitor available in the coaching boxes for the coaches to look at, however, so they will have to make that decision without the benefit of multiple camera angles.
Talley credits some of the success of his 2009 National Title run to instant replay that was available in the playoffs, when a late scoring play against William & Mary in the semifinal was set-up by an instant replay that overturned a ruling that a receiver was out-of-bounds and giving the 'Cats got the first down and scored the touchdown that ultimately decided the game.