Use instant replays

If the technology is available, we see no problem with requiring the use of video instant replays to settle disputed calls in high school championship basketball games.

That notion is certain to be contro-versial among sports fans -- many of whom still resent the use of official challenges of on-the-field calls in professional football. High schools have competed for decades without the need for instant replays, so why complicate things now?

But the use of replays to correct a bad call has its fans. Few things in sports are as frustrating as a blatantly wrong ruling, especially when it affects the outcome of the game. Many fans regard the use of replays to decide close calls as a blessing.

Many Spartanburg High School fans no doubt wish the instant replay rule had been in place when Spartanburg took on Summerville in the Feb. 29 4-A state title game in Columbia's Colonial Center. Spartanburg player Zycorrian Robinson sank a 75-foot shot at the buzzer that if allowed would have been a 3-pointer giving Spartanburg a 51-50 victory. But refs, after huddling for a minute, disallowed the shot, saying it was late, and Summerville won the state title, 50-48.

A video of the shot -- which can be viewed online -- indicates that the shot beat the buzzer. Now, two Spartanburg lawmakers have sponsored a bill that would require officials to use television replays to resolve close plays during basketball playoff games.

We think any use of replays should be limited to championship games. And, of course, the video evidence would have to be conclusive.

Lawmakers also must reconcile the use of replays with national high school rules that don't permit referees to check replays. If enough states wanted to use replays, the national rule might be changed.

A system also must be devised regarding when replays could be called for. Coaches probably would have to be limited to a certain number of challenges per half, as they are in professional football.

But any system for using replays probably should be worked out by coaches and the state High School League. They are the ones who would be directly affected and would have the best feel for how to use replays without slowing games to a crawl.

And that brings up the need for a disclaimer: Lawmakers probably have better things to do than invent new rules for high school sporting events because they are upset with a ref's call that affected the hometown team. If they want to do something more useful, they could find a way to fix the crumbling schools in the state's "Corridor of Shame."

Still, using instant replays for high school championship games is not a bad idea.