Gus Malzahn Says NCAA Rule Limiting Headsets Will Hurt College Football

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2018

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn speaks to an official during the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game between Central Florida and Auburn, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Auburn and Alabama don't agree on much. However, their head football coaches are in full agreement: The new NCAA rule limiting headsets is terrible.

"The 20 headset rule is a joke," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told reporters at SEC spring meetings Wednesday. "There's no doubt about it. I think that's got the ability to hurt our game. That's a really big deal."

The NCAA instituted a rule earlier this month that limits the number of headsets a team can have on the sideline to 20. Malzahn said it will greatly affect his team's ability to communicate and chart plays throughout the game.

"I don't care if you have 50 off-field guys or two off-field guys, most teams in college football are going to have off-field guys on a headset at least charting or doing something like that," Malzahn said. "And then you talk about the signaling aspect...It affects the game."

Alabama coach Nick Saban ripped the rule Tuesday, albeit in more colorful language.

"I don't know who is driving all this stuff," Saban said, "but to me it's kind of like mouse manure when you're up to your ears in elephant doo-doo."

Malzahn said the rule was aimed at limiting communication between growing coaching staffs around the nation. Major programs like Auburn, Alabama, etc. have increased their coaching budget in recent years, leading to ballooning staffs. Most of these new hires are lower-level quality control types who are assigned specific areas of focus, allowing head coaches and coordinators to focus on the big picture.

However, there are only a select number of programs that can afford such large support staffs. Limiting the number of headsets is seen as a way to keep communication limited to essential staff during games. 

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