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NCAA to allow helmet communications for...

NCAA to allow helmet communications for FBS teams

By: Frank Corder - April 19, 2024

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning puts his helmet on while warming up before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Thirty years after the NFL first allowed it, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel is wading into helmet communications.

The Cleveland Browns experimented with coach-to-player communications back in 1956, much to the chagrin of other teams during that early era of professional football.

Nearly 40 years later, the NFL approved a coach on the sideline transmitting a play call to the quarterback’s helmet radio in 1994. It took the league another 14 years to allow such communication between a sideline coach and a defensive player.

Now, 30 years after the NFL first allowed it, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel is wading into helmet communications.

This week, the panel approved the use of coach-to-player communications through the helmet to one player on the field for games involving Football Bowl Subdivision teams. The option will be available and effective for the upcoming 2024 college football season.

This means coaching staffs at all three Mississippi FBS schools – Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Southern Miss – will have the option to employ the technology come this fall.

The NCAA panel says the communication will be turned off with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock or when the ball is snapped, whichever comes first, the NCAA panel approved.

As for non-FBS conference schools, the NCAA panel invites those that are interested in using the wearable technologies to submit an experimental proposal to the committee. Any proposals must be made to the committee by June 15th. 

Other college football rule changes or clarifications handed down by the NCAA this week include:

  • The option for all teams in the three divisions to use tablets to view in-game video only. The NCAA says the video can include the broadcast feed and camera angles from the coach’s sideline and coach’s end zone.
  • Adding an automatic timeout, or two-minute warning, when two minutes remain in the second and fourth quarters. 
  • Allowing conferences the option of using a collaborative replay review system.
  • Penalizing horse-collar tackles that occur within the tackle box as a 15-yard personal foul.
  • Allowing head coaches to conduct interviews with broadcast partners after the first and third quarters. 

Ole Miss kicks off the 2024 season hosting Furman, while Mississippi State will host Eastern Kentucky. Southern Miss will be on the road for their opening game, visiting Kentucky. All three teams open 2024 season play on August 31st.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: