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Glad You Asked: Who let loose with the string of obscenities over the PA at the UND football game?

Football referees have several communication devices. During UND's season-opener, one of those devices apparently was inadvertently left on just as halftime began and fans heard some behind-the-scenes comments over the PA system.

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Q: Saturday (Feb. 20), someone apparently slipped up and yelled curse words into a hot microphone during the UND football game against Southern Illinois . How did this happen?

The person who let loose the string of obscenities was not affiliated with the city-owned Alerus Center.

Officials and referees at games are able to broadcast their voices throughout the Alerus Center to announce penalties, request changes to the game clock, and so on. Saturday, during the Fighting Hawks' 44-21 win over Southern Illinois, fans clearly heard a string of obscenities over the PA system just as the first half came to a close.

The incident was captured by a fan at the game and distributed on social media. A video posted to Instagram by Barstool North Dakota, the regional version of the popular sports and pop culture website, had been viewed 21,167 times as of Thursday afternoon.

Staff at the Alerus Center and UND said a game official inadvertently turned his mic on – or forgot to turn it off – at the end of the second quarter. Then, as both teams and officials jogged toward the locker room for halftime, the official cursed when referencing an unspecified yet apparently malfunctioning piece of equipment.

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Football referees wear a walkie-talkie with an earpiece, a microphone and a pager, plus batteries for each, while they regulate a game, according to Erik Martinson, UND’s associate athletics director. That microphone can be easily toggled on or off, he said, and it’s been known to happen while a wearer is running.

Several of those pieces are relatively new, but Martinson said he isn’t sure if any equipment had malfunctioned during UND’s game.

Glad You Asked is a segment in the Grand Forks Herald. Do you have a locally interesting question you'd like answered? Submit it to letters@gfherald.com and we'll consider it. Be sure to put "Glad You Asked" in the subject line.

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