The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved an experimental rule which will allow the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to use a third official throughout the 2018 regular season.
The extra official will be used for all video review during conference matches, rather than those duties going to the second referee. He will have the final decision to confirm or reverse the original ruling or determine if the review was inconclusive, and will sit at the scorer’s table with direct and easy access to the challenge review system monitor.
The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee is using this experiment to see if an extra ref speeds up the review process and removes any perception of the second referee’s inability to overturn crew calls.
Video challenges were put in place by the NCAA prior to the 2016 season (though it was optional), after being used on an experimental basis in 2015 by the Big Ten and Big 12 conferences (much like the third ref will be used this upcoming season).
Long video reviews have become a hot topic around many different sports over the past number of years as the technology has developed, with many claiming that they disrupt the flow of the game. Only time will tell if the implementation of an extra referee can speed things up.