Greg Sankey addresses safety concerns with electronic whistles, hints that SEC may not use them
One of the changes this season in college football was the addition of an electronic whistle in place of the traditional whistle that officials blow to start and stop play.
The change was brought on by health concerns around the coronavirus pandemic and trying to prevent blowing droplets in the air, and on the field. It was addressed on Wednesday by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on a media teleconference.
Earlier Wednesday, Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said he opposed the use of electronic whistles because of safety concerns. He added that, “They’re not loud. They’re prone to late hits and piles.”
“We were encouraged to use electronic whistles, wasn’t a mandate, and I quickly said ‘Let’s order what we need,’ which we’ve done,” Sankey said. “Eli’s feedback is consistent with what we have observed independently as a conference office staff. We have heard from officials that have used those and what we heard from coaches and what we’ve observed in other games. We have to understand there is a health and safety implication for stopping the game. So late hits, extra hits, none of that is good, not stopping play. Right now, we’re in the final moments of looking at a different strategy. Just another reason to tune in to the games on Saturday to see how we start and stop play. Perhaps with something that’s not electronic.”