NCAA reaches decision regarding electronic whistles moving forward in 2020
The small controversy around the use of whistles by college football officials on the field appears to be over.
NCAA National Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw said on “SEC This Morning” that as of this weekend, college football officials will have the option to use traditional whistles in games. The electronic whistles will not be replaced, but both will be used starting this weekend, per Peter Burns of the SEC Network.
Electronic whistles were brought on this season because of 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.”