Referees across North Carolina are cracking down on high school athletes whose antics on the field are out of line.
The state's High School Athletic Association says officials have tossed more than twice as many student-athletes from games this year as they did in 2006. And the number of ejections for taunting and baiting jumped from just four to 78.
State officials say the increase comes as referees place a greater emphasis on enforcing sportsmanship rules. The refs are blowing the whistle more for fighting, on-field celebrations and taunting opponents.
High School Athletic Association head of officials Mark Dreibelbis says the goal isn't to take spontaneous celebration out of the games, but to hold students accountable for their conduct.