OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 30: Mississippi Rebels coach Lane Kiffin talks to a referee during the third quarter of a college football game between the LSU Tigers and Mississippi Rebels on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS.
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Disconcerting Signals Penalties Are Plaguing College Football

College football fans have been left scratching their heads today after penalties for "disconcerting signals" have been called in multiple games.

According to the NCAA rulebook, the penalty is called when a defensive player creates "sounds and actions that could create a disruption to the offense's starting signal or cause the offense to false start. This includes defenders near the line of scrimmage that make quick, abrupt, or exaggerated actions that are not part of normal defensive movement." A definition which doesn't really add much clarity.

The penalty was called three times in Missouri's loss today to Louisiana, which featured plenty of other controversial officiating moments. Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz was left just as confused as most fans when trying to figure out why the calls were made.

"I don't know," Drinkwitz said. "That's a crew that calls it a lot."

Missouri defensive end Darius Robinson was also left questioning the calls.

"I actually didn't know what it meant," Robinson said. "I guess that's a new call, I honestly didn't know."

The penalty call then reappeared in the first quarter of No. 1 Georgia's game against Kentucky. On a 2nd down, a Georgia player yelled "move" and clapped according to the head official.

Even the name of the penalty itself is vague and confusing. It seems that NCAA officiating has made it a point of emphasis this Saturday after Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule was upset that the penalty wasn't called in the Cornhusker's victory over Illinois on Friday. Rhule claimed that the Illinois defense was yelling "move" and "stem" in an effort to draw a false start.

"You're not supposed to be able to do that as far as I know," Rhule said. "I called the league they say you can't do that."

After the penalty has made multiple appearances this weekend, fans have voiced their frustration and puzzlement with the calls.

Given the rate of the penalty being called in recent weeks, it doesn't appear like it's going away any time soon in college football.

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