Longtime Alabama coach Nick Saban has proposed a potential solution to college football’s sign-stealing problem: helmet-mounted communications devices.
In the NFL, a speaker is placed inside the quarterback’s helmet, which allows the player to receive the play call from the coach. A player on the defensive side of the football also hears the play call from the sideline. This type of communication is currently not permitted at the college football level.
The second-ranked Michigan Wolverines are under investigation by the NCAA after allegations of a sign-stealing operation surfaced. But Saban thinks installing speakers in helmets could reduce the amount of time teams could spend studying opponents’ signals.
“If you look at the history, you’ll know there were reasons why they (the NFL) changed the rules so you couldn’t do that (stealing signs),” Saban said during a recent appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
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“Then they came with the microphone in the headset, whatever they call it, and there was no sign theft. There was no sign because it was just communication. I I think we’d solve a lot of these problems if we did the same thing in college football.”
Saban further argued that there was “no reason” not to implement communication inside the helmet.
“There’s no reason not to do that. There’s no reason you can’t tell the quarterback what the play is rather than having signs and signals and three people signaling and everything “That’s to try to get the game going, which is harder for the players, actually, because they all have to get the sign because everyone said ‘no huddle’,” he said. he declares.
Saban added that players on the defensive side of the ball would also benefit from the ability to communicate with the sideline.
“And for defensive players going against a fastpitch team, all 11 guys have to know the signals, all 11 guys have to know the signs because they’re going fast and you can’t communicate them, rather than just being able to say it .someone, that’s the call,” he said.
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Saban was working as an assistant coach in the NFL when the league began using headset communication.
Last week, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced that football staff member Connor Stalions had been suspended with pay. Stalions is accused of purchasing tickets to several games of future opponents to allegedly engage in in-person scouting.
The NCAA rule book does not contain rules specifically prohibiting sign stealing.
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However, the association has rules prohibiting in-person advanced screening of opponents.
“In-person, off-campus scouting of future opponents (during the same season) is prohibited,” NCAA rule 11.6.1 states.