The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Friday approved a new rule that limits the number of coaches’ communication devices permitted in football games, starting with the 2018 season.

Teams may use a maximum of 20 headsets on game days. Fifteen of those headsets will be designated for the coaching staff, including the head coach, assistant coaches and graduate assistants.

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Four headsets will be designated for use by players. The remaining communication device can be used by someone for noncoaching activities, such as charting plays.

The Division I Football Oversight Committee spearheaded the rules change, which is intended to clarify and limit the maximum number of headsets while still allowing adequate coaching and student-athlete teaching opportunities.

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Headsets that are used for medical, game operations, security, and other duties are exempt from these limitations as long as the communication is separate from coaching communication devices.

Additionally, one communication technician in the team area and one communication technician in the coaches’ booth may listen to the coaching headsets to monitor and handle any technical issues. Those technicians would not count against the allowable 20 devices.

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