The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that went against Navy on Saturday has drawn enough of an uproar for the Mountain West to release a statement on this issue:
"After thorough review of the incident following the Navy touchdown in overtime, it is clear a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct/taunting was warranted under NCAA Football Playing Rule 9-2-1-a.-1. and was properly administered by the CFO West officiating crew. This will be the only comment provided regarding this matter."
At least the officiating crew commented on the situation, and of course they are going to back up a judgement call.
Here is the rule that the officiating crew is referring to:
ARTICLE 1. There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct or any act that interferes with orderly game administration on the part of players, substitutes, coaches, authorized attendants or any other persons subject to the rules, before the game, during the game or between periods. Infractions for these acts by players are administered as either live-ball or dead-ball fouls depending on when they occur.
a. Specifically prohibited acts and conduct include:
1. No player, substitute, coach or other person subject to the rules shall use abusive, threatening or obscene language or gestures, or engage in such acts that provoke ill will or are demeaning to an opponent, to game officials or to the image of the game
(b) Taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent verbally.
The rule goes onto include specific language, but that is the gist of the rule. The league backs up their officials and says the call is right, so this is 'controversy' over a call is officially over. Also, Navy fans it was a judgement call but it did not lose the game for your team. Not to sound like a jerk, but perhaps the Navy defense could have stopped Air Force in the first quarter and not let the game go into overtime.