An NCAA rule designed to prevent use of electronic gimmickry during football games will spoil NBC-TV's plan to let the nation listen in on the defensive captains during the Orange Bowl football game on New Year's Night.
A spokesman for NBC said yesterday that the National Collegiate Athletic Association informed the network that the plan to put microphones on two players would violate an NCAA rule.
The rule forbids equipping a player with "any electronic, mechanical or other signal devices for the purpose of communicating with any source, Penalty -- 15 yards and disqualification of the player."
NBC, televising the bowl game between Florida State and Oklahoma, had announced plans last month to "bug" linebackers Paul Piurowski of FSU and Mike Reilly of the Sooners. "They cannot do that," said Tom Hansen of the NCAA television committee. Hansen said he notified Mike Weisman, NBC's producer for the game, and bowl officials that there was a potential problem.
"We wanted to make the game more entertaining," NBC spokesman Mike Cohen said, adding that the idea was suggested by Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer. "Everyone went for it -- the Orange Bowl Committee, NBC, Switzer, (Florida State Coach Bobby) Bowden."
The NCAA also has adopted a new rule against equipping coaches with microphones. NBC credited the mike worn last year by Bowden with keeping the Orange Bowl ratings high, even after Oklahoma appeared well on its way to its easy victory.