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

Be the Referee: Over the Back

By Sam Davis
MHSAA Officials Coordinator

January 31, 2023

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 – Over the Back - Listen

Did you know there is no such thing as “over the back” in basketball? If two players are going for a rebound and the player behind another player is able to grab it over the top of the player in front – that’s not necessarily a foul. He or she did not go over the back.

The player behind another player may have committed a foul such as bumping the player in front, or pushing that player – gaining an advantage to grab the rebound – but that would be whistled for a push or grab. Not over the back.

A taller player or player who can jump higher grabbing a rebound is not a foul. It’s only a foul if they create an advantage by pushing, bumping, or any other kind of illegal contact while in the process of going for a rebound. Fans yell over the back all the time, but an official will never call a foul for going over the back.

Previous Editions:

Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen