INDIANAPOLIS — An NCAA panel voted on Friday to expand the use of instant replay to cases of sexual assault involving college athletes.
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) made the change after officials blew a game-ending call on Thursday in the sexual assault case between star Florida State redshirt quarterback Jameis Winston and the Tallahassee woman accusing him of rape.
State Attorney Willie Miggs cited insufficient evidence and conflicting statements from the alleged victim when announcing that Winston—a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy—would not face charges.
Miggs’ controversial call keeps No. 1-ranked Florida State’s hopes for a BCS National Title alive and effectively ends the alleged victim’s chances for justice, but the NCAA promised this is the last time it would allow “human error to determine the outcome of collegiate competition.”
“Panel members are aware of the argument that instant replay will remove the so-called ‘human element’ of determining the outcome of sexual assaults, but the stakes are high enough that we cannot leave anymore room for error,” read a statement released from the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
Florida State is one of several high-profile universities recently accused of mishandling allegations of sexual assault. In November, the University of Vanderbilt and the University of Connecticut were slapped with lawsuits from current and former students who claim that university administrators botched their complaints of sexual assault.
Detractors of instant replay fear that it will deprive athletes of the thrill and tenacity that has long been a part of sexual assault on college campuses.
“It’s bad enough that they’re scraping DNA out of people’s underwear to see who did what to who and whether or not she wanted to do whatever the hell,” said Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher. “They need to let the players play.”
The rule change will not take effect until NCAA officiating crews are brought up to speed on the latest video technology and replay procedures, according to the statement.
“The next time a victim throws the red challenge panties, we’ll be ready for a thorough review,” said NCAA supervisor of officials John Adams.