When a referee blows his whistle to stop play during a football game, usually a time adjustment is being made, or an instant replay is being consulted. During Thursday night’s contest between Middle Tennessee State and Marshall, the game was halted for a different reason: the MTSU band.
With the game tied 14-14 in the second quarter, Marshall’s offense was facing a third and short situation. As the Thundering Herd approached the line, the referee all of a sudden blew his whistle and announced that “the band needs to quit playing as soon as the offense comes to the line of scrimmage.”
That’s something I’ve never seen before. The team marching bands are a huge part of what makes college football environments unique.
The official NCAA rule (9.B.5.) states that "persons subject to the rules, including bands, shall not create any noise that prohibits a team from hearing its signals." A noise violation can result in a 15-yard penalty, or a referee can declare a timeout for "unfair noise."
The MTSU band was technically breaking the rule, so at least the ref just issued a stern warning instead of issuing a penalty, which at that time would have awarded a first down for Marshall.
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