Purpose:  With the progression of technology in our society, communication devices worn by football officials to assist with immediate communication between crew members has become an attraction and gaining popularity.  Although many understand that these devices can certainly benefit the communication between members of a football crew, there are still concerns that there are officials who are not prepared to deal with the use of such communication devices; therefore, the recommendation that was approved by the MSHSHSA Board of Directors is to only allow the use of such devices by “VARSITY” football crews.  The wireless crew communication devices are not permitted for use by officials who are officiating lower level games.  (Restricted Contests:  JV, freshmen, 8th and 7th grade contests).




Wireless Crew Communication Device:  for purposes of MSHSAA Varsity Football Crews, a Wireless Communication Device is defined as a two way radio with an attached earpiece and push to talk microphone.  Other communication devices are prohibited.


Contest Approval:  The crew communication device may only be used for “Varsity” contests during the regular season, postseason and “Pre-season Scrimmage” (Jamborees).  Furthermore, all football officials may introduce or “practice” the use of communication devices at any school’s practice/inter squad scrimmage in which an official(s) are invited to participate. 


General Use:  The use of crew communication devices is voluntary and not mandatory.  The decision on whether to implement the use of a crew communication device is solely the decision of the “crew members”.  It is not the position of any other entity to regulate the use of crew communication devices.  In order for a crew communication device to be used, all five officials of a crew must be willing to wear and be in contact with all other crew members using the device.  If a crew is using a substitute official, all five officials are still required to wear the device.  Referees must facilitate clear communications and expectations with regard to the substitute official’s use of the device.  In order to ensure that all five officials on a varsity crew have access to the crew communication devices, the Referee shall be responsible for charging and issuing a device to each official working the game.


Additional General Use Guidelines Include:

1.      All communication devices must use a “push to talk” setting/mechanism.

2.      All communication on the devices must be directly related to the contest using only appropriate/professional language.  Officials are mandated to refrain from any inappropriate language, derogatory statements or comments in reference to any player, coach, fan, etc. 

3.      Crews must ensure that the channel or frequency of the communication devices is operating on DOES NOT interfere with any communication devices of the coaching staffs and/or game administration.  It is the crew’s responsibility to avoid channel or frequency conflicts with any other party.









1.      Coordinate a testing of the crew communication devices to ensure proper operation and connectivity to all official’s devices on the crew.

2.      Preparation and securing of both teams and/or captains for the coin toss.



1.      The use of crew communication devices SHALL NOT replace any NFHS approved mechanics, crew communication signals, or other signals designated by the NFHS Game Officials Manual.


2.      Crew communication devices are permitted in order to maintain the tempo of a game, allow more timely communication between officials and coaches, as well as between the officials.  Increased attention to detail and consistency is a product of crew communication devices when used appropriately and professionally.


3.      The following are examples of appropriate times and situations to use crew communication devices:

-ball placement           -clock/time management/timeouts   -goal line reminders

-positions on Try         -line to gain confirmations     -player foul reporting

-sideline control/issues           -player conduct concerns       -confirmation of rulings

-penalty enforcement options            -kickoffs out of bounds            -unusual situations


4.      Crew communication devices may be used during dead ball periods only.  Refrain from using during a live ball period, or when the snap or free kick is imminent. 


5.      Refrain from using crew communication devices when Referee is communicating or signaling to the press box, with a head coach, or game administration.


6.      The crew communication devices are not a substitute for the desired verbal communication that is necessary at times during the game between head coaches and the Referee.


7.      Crew members must keep communication short and to the point. Keep chatter and unnecessary comments off the devices.  Total Conversation = Less Is More.



(Approved-April 2016 MSHSAA Board of Directors)