Precision Time Systems, Inc is a privately held corporation based in Bolivia, NC. The company was founded in 1993 by Michael Costabile originally in Hillsborough, NC. Using his experience both as a basketball referee as well as a licensed Amateur Radio Operator working in his home shop Michael developed the first system and showed it to several influential basketball people including Dick Knox of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association; the late Fred Barakat, then Associate Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Hank Nichols, secretary rules editor of the NCAA.
The NCHSAA first tested the new system in their 1995 State Basketball Championships and was met with great success. This lead to a rule change in the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) allowing the technology to be used in high school competition in 1996. Also in 1996 Hank Nichols of the NCAA stated that Precision Time was deemed to be legal equipment and allowed to be used in NCAA competition.
The first college leagues to adopt Precision Time were the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and the then Pacific 10 Conference (Now Pac-12) for the 1996-1997 season. This has grown to over 275 Division I schools that use Precision Time for their regular season and tournament games. In 2015 the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division Basketball Tournaments adopted Precision Time, which combined for a total of 132 games played in 22 day footprint.
On the professional level The National Basketball Association adopted Precision Time in 1997. Over 24000 NBA games have been played using Precision Time to date including regular season games played in London and Mexico City. The Euroleague and EuroCup competitions also use Precision Time and in July 2015 voted to make Precision Time the preferred Timing System. In addition many of the national basketball leagues in Europe are Precision Time customers.
Precision Time has also been used in many major international competitions, including the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic games in Athens and Beijing, the 2002, 2006 and 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championships.
Today Precision Time has over 1000 customers worldwide in youth, college and professional leagues.
Meet the Team
Michael J. Costabile
Founder & CEO
THE INVENTOR: MICHAEL COSTABILE
|Q -- So Michael, what's your back ground? Where are you from and where did you get your love for sports, and also specifically basketball?
I was born in Mt. Vernon New York and my family relocated to North Carolina when I was a young child. My love for sports came from the first time I was able to watch a college basketball game. Dean Smith came into my parents’ restaurant and invited me to come see a game. Ever since then, I’ve been a basketball fan.
Q -- At what point in your life did you see that there was an immense NEED for such a thing as Precision Time Systems?
I followed my father’s and brother’s footsteps into officiating. Beginning in high school athletics in 1980, then in Division I college athletics in 1983, and eventually officiating with the National Basketball Association in 1989. During my time with the NBA I was involved in a game where there was a timing issue. That basically got the ball rolling in my head. I knew there was a serious need to remove the effect human reaction time and human error had on the game clock.
Q-- You also had to have a highly developed background in electronics to invent precision time...where did that come from?
I’ve been a ham radio operator since my teens, learning about and experimenting with radio frequencies. I’ve also been a licensed Optician since 1980 learning and using light theories. Both of these have contributed to the development and evolution of Precision Time System.
Q -- What is a "Remote Whistle Timing System"?
An electronic device consisting of two components:
A beltpack, worn by the game official, with the capability of receiving the frequency response of the Fox 40 Whistle and transmits the signal to the base station .
The radio base station that receives the signal from the beltpack , immediately stopping the clock.
All of this takes place at the speed of light, eliminating human reaction time. The game official also has the ability to start the clock from the court. The game clock operator is still able to start and stop the clock.
Q -- How hard was it to get colleges to support & use the system?
It was difficult because it was a big paradigm shift. It took around 20 years for some organizations to adopt the system.
Q -- Anyone who has seen an NBA or recent Olympic Games basketball game has seen Precision Time in action...when did the NBA and Olympics come on line?
We introduced our equipment to the NBA in 1997. They eventually adopted the system in 1999. We were in the World Championships in 2002, which was our first time working with FIBA. We were first used in the 2004 Olympics.
Q -- You have even developed your own batteries?
When needed a high capacity battery that gives us the battery life necessary in order to last through several games. We were unable to find that in existing batteries so we went to the drawing board and developed a battery that would provide the capacity our Precision Time customers deserved.
Q -- How crucial is it to use the FOX 40 whistle?
We tested hundreds of whistles and found the Fox 40 whistle to have the best tolerances of reproducibility. This is the only whistle that can be used with the system.
Q -- Can it be hacked by someone in the stands?
We went through great strides, testing hundreds of whistles, to choose a whistle with the consistency needed for game clock accuracy and security. The Fox 40 is the only whistle to have consistent tolerances of reproducibility. It is the only whistle used with the Precision Time System. No crowd whistles or noise can affect the system.
Q -- Does that include venue crowd noise up to say 30 dB?
That includes crowd noise up to 112 dB.
Q -- How do you feel when you flip on the TV and see Precision Time belt packs on the Refs?
It gives me a great sense of pride to see the system being used. Elimination of human reaction time and potential human error from the game clock is all I need to see.
Precision Time Congratulates,
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