- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska has joined a handful of other university football teams that are using microchip-equipped game balls to help ensure they can’t be faked or counterfeited in the collectibles market.

Big Game USA, a manufacturer of Football Bowl Subdivision college game balls, has a deal with Prova Group Inc. to install the chips in balls at Big Game’s football factory in Dallas, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1wcAkPD ) Saturday.

The chips, dubbed gametag, can track the life of a football, record its history and prove authenticity. Without the technology, collectible footballs have to be qualified as such through an expensive and time-consuming analysis by experts and third-party opinion.

Big Game embeds the chip near the football’s laces. Using a smartphone app, the ball can be tracked from when it leaves the factory.

Once tracking begins, the history of the ball is recorded by scanning it, and the information is sent to Prova.

Prova said its process connects smartphone apps to a cloud database, enabling users to access each football’s history, which would include its manufacturing date and location, whether the football was used in practice or a game, in big plays and other details. Prova said it will release the app this fall.

“The days of marking footballs with ankle tape and Sharpies are long gone,” said Haroon Alvi, CEO of Prova Group, in a news release.

Texas A&M; was the first to use gametag in its game last week against South Carolina. The U.S. Naval Academy football team used it in its opening game against Ohio State on Saturday, as did Nebraska against Florida Atlantic. Mississippi State also uses the technology.

Big Game also sells collectible micro-chipped balls on its website. A Nebraska game ball was recently listed for $99.95.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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