Photo emerges alleging Purdue staffer wore illegal electronic device vs. Michigan Football

Photo emerges alleging Purdue staffer wore illegal electronic device vs. Michigan Football.

Photo emerges alleging Purdue staffer wore illegal electronic device vs. Michigan Football

By now, whether you follow college football or not, you have almost certainly heard about the illegal sign-stealing fiasco surrounding the Michigan Football program. One person who has heard about it is Purdue head coach, Ryan Walters, who blasted the Wolverines leading up to Saturday's game at the Big House.

“What's crazy is they aren't allegations. It happened,” Walters said on his radio show Thursday night. “There's video evidence. There's ticket purchases and sales that you can track back. We know for a fact that they were at a number of our games. So we've had to teach our guys a new language in terms of some signals, and we will operate differently offensively… like you might see us in a huddle for the first time this season. So it is what it is, but we're excited to go play, and I think it'll make for a great story.”

Well, according to a photo that has emerged on social media, a Purdue coach/staffer was allegedly wearing an illegal electronic device during Saturday night's loss against the Michigan Football team.

Michigan vs. Purdue Opening Point Spread Purdue staffer wore illegal electronic device

What Does the Photo Show?

As you can see in the photo below, which was posted by @AnnArborPaisano, a man in the Purdue coach's booth appears to be wearing an Apple Watch.

What Does the NCAA Rule Say?

Here is the rule straight from the 2023 NCAA Rule Book:

Prohibited Field Equipment
ARTICLE 11. Jurisdiction regarding the presence and location of communication
equipment (cameras, sound devices, etc.) within the playing enclosure resides
with game management personnel.
a. Television replay or monitor equipment is prohibited at the sidelines, press
box or other locations within the playing enclosure for coaching purposes
during the game. Motion pictures, any type of film, facsimile machines,
videotapes, photographs, writing-transmission machines and computers
may not be used by coaches or for coaching purposes any time during the
game or between periods. Computers, tablets, etc. are not allowed in the
coaching booth.

Why it Matters

Does an Apple Watch fall within the “Computers, tablets, etc.” group of “Prohibited Field Equipment”? Well, that is not for me to decide, but as the owner of an Apple Watch, I can say that I can do pretty much everything on it that I could do on a tablet.

What Is the Penalty?

Though I cannot seem to find what the penalty would be if a coach/staffer was caught wearing an illegal electronic device in the coaches booth, I did find that the penalty for a player wearing one on the field is a 15-yard penalty and an ejection from the game.

Prohibited Signal Devices
ARTICLE 10. Players may not be equipped with any electronic, mechanical
or other signal devices for the purpose of communicating with any source
(Exceptions: 1. A medically prescribed hearing aid of the sound-amplifier type
for hearing-impaired players. 2. A device for transmission or reception of data
specifically and only for purposes of health and safety.)
PENALTY—Administer as a dead-ball foul. 15 yards at the succeeding spot.
Player is ejected [S7, S27 and S47].


TL;DR (too long didn't read)

  1. Alleged Electronic Device in Purdue's Coach's Booth: The emergence of a photo on social media suggests that a Purdue coach or staffer was wearing what appears to be an Apple Watch during their game against Michigan.
  2. NCAA Rule on Prohibited Field Equipment: The 2023 NCAA Rule Book explicitly addresses the use of communication equipment, including computers, tablets, and other electronic devices, within the playing enclosure. The rules make it clear that such equipment is not allowed in coaching booths during games.
  3. Penalty for Players vs. Coaches/Staff: While the penalty for players wearing illegal electronic devices on the field includes a 15-yard penalty and ejection from the game, the consequences for coaches or staff caught with such devices are not specified in the provided information. The difference in penalties for players and coaches highlights the potential severity of the situation.

Bottom Line: Call A Spade A Spade

The emergence of a photo alleging that a Purdue coach or staffer was wearing an Apple Watch during their game against Michigan adds a new twist to the ongoing sign-stealing controversy in college football. The NCAA's clear rules on prohibited field equipment raise questions about potential violations and their consequences. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see how it is addressed by the NCAA, Purdue University, and the broader college football community.

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