SEC football officials will have a slightly different look on tonight for the Vanderbilt-South Carolina game. They’ll be wearing wireless mics.
So, now, officials will be able to talk to each other all across the field, as opposed to huddling as necessary after a flag is called.
The officials actually tried this during spring games, and it had good results.
“We tested this in the spring games with LSU and Texas A&M,” said SEC supervisor of officials Steve Shaw. “Not only does it help with the officials communicating with each other quickly, but it improves communication with the coaches.
“The promise of the system is immediate interaction both pre-snap and post-snap,” Shaw said. “It also keeps all seven involved and engaged in the game.”
Historically, only the referee wore a microphone, but the SEC applied for and received a waiver from the NCAA to test the system in select conference games this season.
That first test is tonight.
The system has been widely used in European soccer games for several years now with positive results.
The main threat to this system would be its ability to hold up during any football game. With all the texting, cell phones and other electronics, interference within the stadiums could present a potential issue.
The effects on the actual game are probably few, if any at all. If it makes officials better and more efficient at what they do, I’m not sure anyone would be against that.
The test results from the system will be presented back to the NCAA to see if it is a more useful way of officiating.