Video replay coming to volleyball


The change would allow each team three challenges per match.

By Melissa Deatsch

Football has it. Tennis has it. Basketball has it. Now the NCAA is taking the first step toward implementing video review in volleyball as well. 

In a memo sent out by the NCAA, the Playing Rules Oversight Committee announced that certain conferences will be experimenting with video review this upcoming season. 

The Big 10, Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences will be using the experimental rule. The change would allow each team three challenges per match. The challenges can be used to review whether the ball landed in or out of bounds, if the ball touched a player, if a player touched the net, or if a player foot-faulted on a serve. 

Video review takes a big step toward accuracy but creates a variety of issues for conferences across the country.  The most pressing issue: money. 

In an article by Volleyblog Seattle, Texas head coach Jarrit Elliot estimates video review would cost $15,000 per two-match weekend.

However, there is overwhelming support among college coaches for the use of video review including Oakland’s own head coach Rob Beam. 

“I’m in favor of moving our sport forward with technology,” Beam said. “I think video replay, as well as integrating any other technology, into the game is beneficial.”

The other argument against the video review system is that it would slow down the pace of the game too much. The idea of a long pause between plays, like in the NFL, may ruin a game that is unique because of its fast pace.  

“Volleyball has a great ebb and flow and momentum is such a big part of it that too many breaks is going to affect the flow of play,” Beam said. “But players and coaches adapt and we would all get used to more interruptions, so I wouldn’t worry about that.”

This rule will play no impact on Oakland in the 2015 season but it could in the future. Where the proposal goes from here will depend on the extensive data that will be collected during this season. 

It will be easier to implement in the major conferences because of the bigger budgets and facilities.  They may already have a lot of the electronics necessary built into the arena.  The rule will be harder to implement in the mid-major conferences. 

Incorrect calls have become a part of the game of volleyball. Coaches and captains frequently argue with refs about previous calls. “There’s human error involved in all aspects of a competitive games,” Beam said.  “Players make errors. Coaches make errors. Officials make errors. The one of those that is most easily controlled by technology is officiating.”