In-helmet communication coming to the SEC

By: Liza Bilich

The SEC continues to discuss the implementation of in-helmet communication in the 2017 football season.

Conference officials discussed in-helmet communication at the recent spring football meetings, but want more conversations before deciding how and when to introduce it. Discussions about the cost, how to limit the use, and which players on the field get to use them, would need to be decided before the headsets would be approved.

“We think it could help clean up sidelines because coaches don’t have to come out and signal plays,” Steve Shaw, SEC coordinator of officials said in the Spring meeting.

The NFL uses in-helmet headsets for coaches and the quarterback and one defensive player to communicate between plays.

The radio connections are cut off with 15 seconds left on the play clock.

Most college teams communicate with signs and hand signals.

Justin Moore, the associate athletic director for football at Texas A&M University, said he’s “all for the devices coming to college football.”

On the other hand, there are many disadvantages to the devices coming to the SEC.

“There might be an unfair advantage if a team with a lower budget than ours comes in and aren’t able to use the headset technology that we have been using all season. I like using the hand signals because we are all comfortable with them.” UGA tight end Jeb Blazevich said.

The devices could speed up the game, eliminating the time used by constant signaling.

The technology also provides more cushion in the player’s helmet and allows teams to keep electronic medical records about the player. Trainers on the sideline can spot possible injuries and even concussions because of the use of these devices.

“They could be distracting. In-helmet devices eliminate a top skill that athletes need to develop: decision making,” Greg Bowers, University of Missouri sports editor, said.

ACC introduced the idea of in-helmet communication to the NCAA, but it was turned down.

The NCAA rules committee could not visualize how it would fit into the scene.