Football, Officials

Be the Referee: Disconcerting Acts

October 8, 2020

This week, MHSAA officials coordinator Sam Davis explains a change in football meant to reduce a form of gamesmanship at the line of scrimmage.

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment - Disconcerting Acts - Listen

Among the rules changes in high school football for the 2020-21 school year is an adjustment in the penalty assessed to the defense for disconcerting acts and sounds.

Among the gamesmanship that sometimes takes place near the line of scrimmage at the start of the play, defensive players have been known to make sounds or act in a manner which otherwise might distract an offensive player waiting for the snap signal. Previously, the most egregious of these actions would be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

But beginning this year, the disconcerting act foul is a five-yard penalty. The change in the rule actually makes it more likely that this kind of behavior will be flagged, and may eventually lead to a reduction is this type of activity.

Past editions

10/1: Ball Hits Soccer Referee - Listen
9/24: Clocking the Ball from the Shotgun - Listen