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Upon Further Review

Story lines emerge from every NCAA's, and this year a controversy over how replay challenges are reviewed is near the top of the list.

I've been critical of replay in the past as it seems like an often unnecessary stoppage that ruins flow of matches. Every wrestling official is not going to ref the same way as much as you can try, and replay can force calls on an official through slow motion video. It's a scary thought to me as someone who refs some wrestling. Being a consistent official is what I strive for and having to think about reviews would be another wrench into that homeostasis.

However, there's certainly something to be said for using all the tools you have at your disposal especially when considering how tough a sport Wrestling can be to officiate. Out of bounds, buzzer calls, and not getting lost like the famous Zeerip vs Heflin debacle can be corrected with some simple modern video. Yet like anything Americans enjoy, there's always a tipping point.

NCAA Wrestling review controversy is of great discussion in large part due to a couple challenges in the last couple matches of the season. It appeared Bo Jordan had a takedown on Mark Hall before he got a hold of a leg and got control himself. The commentators (and what sounds like a lot of spectators) thought the call would be two for Jordan, but the official upheld his initial call. At 184, Bo Nickal overthrew a far leg in a scramble but Gabe Dean was basically upright on his knees and still competitive causing the ref to not call a Nickal takedown. Upon review, the call was overturned and Nickal got a takedown and a rideout that proved to be the difference of the match.

A bulk of the outrage is that refs themselves review their own calls. Whether right or wrong, it has bred a perception that they wouldn't want to admit their own mistake. Probably of more concern is that there is little perceived consistency from the reviews on what is upheld and what is overturned. 

Does college wrestling need a panel? If they did use one, it probably would only be used for the one tournament a season. I'm having trouble thinking of good scenarios here for other than what we have, minus scrapping the whole endeavor completely. Would it be a three-person panel? Who would these people be? Would it be transparent on what they ruled? 

Unfortunately, it seems like replay has forced more questions than answers. This off-season expect it to be addressed between the coaches and the NCAA, and it'll be interesting to see what proposals get thrown out there.