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Needed changes to block/charge rule approved

NIT Middle Tennessee Tennessee Basketball

Tennessee center Yemi Makanjuola (0) takes a charge from Middle Tennessee forward J.T. Sulton during the second half of an NIT second-round college basketball tournament game in Knoxville, Tenn., Monday, March 19, 2012. Middle Tennessee won 71-64. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer)


I think that we are all going to be in agreement in saying that the most important rule change in college hoops was made when the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) banned decals and stickers from the court.

Those were dangerous, and at the end of the day, making sure the game is safe for the players is more important than making sure the game is fair for the players.

But now that that problem is taken care of, we can focus on more important issues: like, for example, the block/charge call.

There was no rule in college hoops that was more disputed last season that the block/charge rule. And while I have no problem with ripping officials for their performance, the difficulties are not totally on the refs. Correctly calling a charge is the most difficult decision the zebras have to make, and that is before you factor in the brand new charge circle they were forced to deal with last season.

The good news?

The PROP is making some changes, approving guidelines that should “help better administer these rules”. From the release:

  • Before the offensive player (with the ball) becomes airborne, the defender must have two feet on the floor, be facing the opponent and be stationary to draw a charge. Otherwise, it should be a blocking foul.
  • Secondary defenders (help defenders) moving forward or to the side are also in violation and those should be blocking fouls.
  • Contact that is “through the chest” is not de facto proof of a charge. The rule in its entirety must be considered before determining a foul.
  • In some cases, it appears a defender is being rewarded solely for being outside the arc, without considering the other aspects of the rules.


Now, this doesn’t guarantee that the calls being made will be 100% correct. Refs are humans, after all, and they do make mistakes. They should (hopefully) be better at making a call and determining if a player is outside the charge circle at the same time after a year’s worth of experience.

I think that the biggest issue people have with the way that this rule was called last season was that far too many charges were being handed out. While all these strict definitions and guidelines are good and needed, the bottom-line should be that if it isn’t an obvious charge, than it is a block.

Frankly, as long as the referees don’t reward lazy defense and don’t bail out a defender that got beaten off the dribble on the perimeter because his teammate undercuts the offensive player, I think that we’ll all be fine.

And if they follow the rules listed above, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.