Monday, August 9, 2010

A foul is a foul when the official calls it......

I spent most of my time this weekend camping and white water rafting.   However, the night before I headed up, I was sleeping over a friend's place and brought along some reading material in the form of "Referee" magazine.

There was an interesting article on "intentional fouls" and how the application of the rule these days stray far from the actual written rule these days.

That article got me to think about a few things involving basketball officiating and regular personal fouls.  One of the annoyances I have with officiating is with parents (youth level) and players (adult leagues) that cry about fouls that WEREN'T called.  Not to pick on the parents or adult league players as high school and college coaches will whine too.  However, they are generally better informed about the game than parents and adult league players.

When it comes to officiating basketball, calling fouls is very subjective.  The basic definition of a personal fouls is that a player cannot impede the normal offensive or defensive movements of an opposing player.

However, officials usually apply this rule with the philosophy of advantage / disadvantage.  Did a player gain any advantage by performing some action (holding, hand checking, etc, etc)?  If the answer is YES, then the official will blow the whistle and call the foul.  If the answer is NO, then the play will go on.

That is why my subject line says:  A foul is a foul when the official calls it

I am not saying that officials are perfect.  We WILL miss some fouls that should have been called.   However, everyone needs to give the officials more credit.  If you felt that a foul should have been called but it wasn't, then give the official the benefit of the doubt.  They probably had a good reason for not blowing the whistle.

Rather than arguing about it, you should quietly talk to the official during a time out and see what they say about the situation.  Arguing about a non-call is generally non-productive.  Officials will not go back and suddenly change their non-call.  Plus, this could lead to a technical foul if things go too far.  

Just some things to keep in mind from the perspective of an official.

1 comment:

  1. As a longtime basketball referee in Illinois I have mixed feelings about the Advantage Disadvantage philosophy. In my mind there is no issue about Ad/Dis violation calls - 3 seconds when the ball is near the midcourt line, carrying the ball while dribbling in the backcourt without any defensive pressure, etc.. I struggle when it comes to Ad/Dis foul calls or no-calls because even though a foul has created no change in defensive advantage, ultimately the foul count could influence when free throws are awarded.

    Coincidentally, I wrote a thriller mystery novel which explores the greed and corruption of the adults surrounding a high school basketball phenom. You can find out about it on The name of my novel - Advantage Disadvantage! Yale R Jaffe