OT: The Charge Call needs to go

Submitted by The Shredder on February 11th, 2013 at 9:28 AM

As a Varsity Basketball official for the past 5 year and a coach and player most my life I have to say the charge is killing basketball right now. Its the worst at the NCAA level but its getting worse at the high school level. IMO it needs to go and just be an automatic defensive foul.

The purpose of the rule was to keep out of control players from driving to the lane  and smashing into defenseless players which when that was the case it worked very well. Now? Well now its a tool defensive players use to get turnovers and fouls on the opponent. Great offensive plays are made going to the hoop to only have a defender slide over last second to take a charge because he was standing there a quarter of a second sooner then the offensive player who is taking the ball to the hoop and the play is wiped out in a car crash of players falling into the lane. My favorite is when the offensive player takes off and comes down with no place to land and they count the basket but call a charge. That is ridicules(I refuse to call charges in that case).

Instead of playing defense at the hoop in college basketball we have players just standing there taking hits or flopping trying to get calls. Not to mention these are fast and tricky calls to make for officials. Our PG and maybe the best player in the nation tried to get this call vs Wisconsin and he ended up getting dunked on and could have been hurt. Oh and it costed us a point.

What if we take it out? Players will just try to play defense on the ball. Help defenses will help by getting over and making a play on the ball instead of sliding underneath a player in flight and causing a pile up of bodies on the floor. I think it could make the game so much better. Its just gotten out of hand. Duke is one of the worst offenders of just abusing the charge call and now a lot of teams do(or all). I love Novak to death but he was a pro at this. I have see a ton of high school kids get hurt taking charges and one kid even taken out on a stretcher. Buzz at our officials meeting have started on this topic. It will be interesting to see where it goes.


restive neb

February 11th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

I'm for going in the exact opposite direction.  Without the charge, an offensive player can just use his shoulders to clear space as much as he wants -- this is already too prevalent in basketball.  This isn't football.  It should be an advantage to be tall, quick, long and fast.  It shouldn't be an advantage to weigh 300 pounds.  Offenses should be based around movement and passing, not putting your shoulder into the defender and shoving them under the basket.  Rules have been changed over the years to make the game faster-paced.  Each change seems to make it harder to defend.  They need to go the opposite direction and force teams to play team-oriented ball instead of making it a game of one-on-one skills.


February 11th, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

it is a frustrating part of the game, but it is a rule that exists that has evolved, like steps before travelling and palming and screens. i just wish they would call it the same for every player in every game, but there are certain special players with certain coaches playing in certain arenas that get that call more often than others - prepare for breslin.

Huntington Wolverine

February 11th, 2013 at 9:55 AM ^

Call offensive push-offs and lowering the shoulder on drives to the hoop consistently and I'd be okay with voiding the rotational charge. As it is, the rules definitely favor the offense and I think making the changer you're advocating would just further tilt the balance in the offense's favor.

Space Coyote

February 11th, 2013 at 10:11 AM ^

Not to mention in the post: defenders hold their position and get called for a hold, offensive players move defenders around and nothing. Now, as a once post player, I have no problem with it, but you take out the charge and you open a whole can of worms and questions about "can the defender do anything?"

Why does America hate defense so much? I can only guess that somewhere along the line defense stole America's girlfriend and America is still bitter about it.

Space Coyote

February 11th, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

Is getting rid of "charge" and making it "player control". You can't just get rid of the whole concept. The defender has just as much right to the area as the offensive player. If you stop calling charges then you have to stop calling offensive players going into a guy who is jumping straight up and down.

I personally think there are too many blocking fouls in today's game. A defender moves his feet but an offensive player is just barrerling down the lane and suddenly it's a blocking foul. In my opinion, there should be more "play on" scenarios to help improve the flow of the game. They should also be better at calling it a block when a player is already in the air (it is supposed to be a block, but sometimes doesn't get called that way). If you question whether the player was in the air or not, I would say tie goes to the offensive guy. Nevertheless, as a previous poster said, there is something to be said for basketball intelligence and pulling up for a short jumper rather than taking it all the way to the rim, where a player has a right to his position and if he beats the offensive player there should have a foul called on the offensive player.


February 11th, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

The fact that you're a basketball official and you don't understand the intent of the blocking call is very disappointing to me.  

"Great offensive plays are made going to the hoop to only have a defender slide over last second to take a charge because he was standing there a quarter of a second sooner then the offensive player who is taking the ball to the hoop and the play is wiped out in a car crash of players falling into the lane."

That is, by definition, blocking.  Call it!!!!  What's the problem???


February 11th, 2013 at 10:11 AM ^

Basketball is the hardest sport to officiate without question.

Truth. I remember I had a big college club game - Ohio State actually, where I was the center official and had a block-charge call on my side of the lane. Right before the call, the lead official rotated so he also had the whistle. He froze (properly) and let me take the call. I called the charge. Afterwards he said he had the block.

We went back and looked at the tape and luckily I was right. Though, not so luckily - I had the play from start to finish, had the angle and made the proper call. He saw only the finish of the play after he rotated. To a layman, some might think that since the play was in the lane and closer to him that he should have made the call, but not so.

There's a lot more to officiating basketball than people realize!

The Shredder

February 11th, 2013 at 10:16 AM ^

Great post. This is the kind of things people will never see or understand what makes it so hard to officiate the sport. Having 3 officials covering a giant floor of 10 fast and athletic freaks with rotations to get right ect. People who hate of us I always encourage them to sign up and try it. Takes a ton of skill to do it.


February 11th, 2013 at 10:35 AM ^

I didn't intend to make it sound easy.  I've played basketball for 30 years (insert -Herm comment here), so I understand the difficulty in making this call.  I wasn't a fan of the radius surrounding the basket at first, but I've come to realize that it can help make the call a little easier for the official.  

My comment was more from a perspective of amazement that you would want to do away with the charge call.  You do understand what that would result in, don't you?  If there was no possibility for a charging fould, people would drive to the basket with no regard for having a foul called against them.  There would be no need to maintain control.  Drive to the basket and if anyone gets in the way, run them over.  No charging call.  Move on.  


February 11th, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

Now all I am going to imagine when I watch high school basketball is a bunch of highly skilled MS Paint pros with grudges against charges calling the games.


February 11th, 2013 at 10:02 AM ^

"Well now its a tool defensive players use to get turnovers and fouls on the opponent"

Sure.  Isn't that what basketball is, though?  Players try to jump into another player to draw a foul all the time, so drawing fouls was already a tool.  Sort of like the dive in soccer, unfortunately.  That's the most frustrating thing about basketball, for me.  

The Wonderful 135

February 11th, 2013 at 10:12 AM ^


We should also get rid of all fouls when there is less than 2 minutes remaining in the game.  Teams just use them as an offensive tool in the hopes of winning games. 




Any rule of the game becomes a tool that players/coaches use to their advantage.  The nice thing about the charge is that it isn't that easy to pull off.  It's a gamble.


February 11th, 2013 at 10:20 AM ^

Seriously.  This is one thing that makes Beilein so slimy - he takes advantage of rules like crazy.  Take the three-pointer for instance.  For years he's been using it as a tool to score more points per basket than his opponent, allowing him to win games even when his team might have fewer made field goals.  It's almost like a loophole he's trying to exploit for his team's own benefit.  Get that shit out of basketball. 


February 11th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

I agree that there should be come harsher penalty for the intentional-but-not-intentional fouling at the end of a game.  At the same time, 5 fouls and you're out in college, and 7 in a half already gets you free throws, so this is something that awards teams and players who stayed out of foul trouble up until that point.  It's very hard to come back when your opponent is already in the double bonus when end-of-game fouling starts to happen, or if a couple of your top players have 4 fouls when this begins. 


February 11th, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

If there wasn't a charge call then the offensive player will just drive into the lane, lower his shoulder and draw a foul. Or the offensive player will just knock everyone out of the way and get an easy bucket. The charge call protects the defensive player and if it was an automatic defensive call there would be way too many foul outs. You need to reward the defense for good defense.


February 11th, 2013 at 10:52 AM ^

I think both the charge and block calls need to go as they stand now.  Taking a guys legs out shouldn't be allowed, but basketball is the only sport when a defender gets a foul for being in the offensive players way.  Just man up and let the guys play. 

Those two calls turn most pickup basketball games into a jerry springer drama fest.  Ruining the game at the grass roots level and encouraging a culture of unnecessary drama.


February 11th, 2013 at 10:56 AM ^

Are people now trying to call charges in pickup games? I've never seen that, but I'm playing pretty exclusively in older games. I've seen it happen a few times, but it's always been met with laughter and a lot of "Charging? GTFUp." 

If that's the case, the rule definitely needs to be adjusted.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:15 PM ^

So you're saying you want to turn it into streetball?  Charges aren't called in pick up games because it makes you a pussy to call it, not because the foul doesn't exist.  But a lot of other shit goes uncalled in pick up games for the same reason.  I can't imagine that's really what you're advocating here.


February 11th, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

I hope your commitment to making guys play defense means you don't call fouls for touching the fingers of a shooter on his follow through as 99 percent of refs are wont to do.

Ball Hawk

February 11th, 2013 at 11:20 AM ^

I know yesterday in the Indiana game there were 3 charges called in the first half that all were called on Indiana and were the most ridiculous calls I have ever seen. I think thats a huge problem for visiting teams.


February 11th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

Of course defenders use it as a tool to try and draw a foul.  What's the matter with that?  Rules are such that they will always be exploited and it's impossible to write them otherwise.

For my part I think it's silly that players exploit the out of bounds rule by bouncing the ball off an opponent's leg. But legislating that out of the game would create another tangled web of rules that would still be exploitable.

You can't just remove the charge, you'd have to rewrite the rule to prevent the situation of a ballcarrier barreling toward the hoop as hard as he can and throwing his shoulder into people. So it would still be exploitable.  "Players would have to play proper defense" is idealistic nonsense.


February 11th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

In reference to using it as a tool.  Because in a sense, it's very "Wisconsin Basketball-esque"; taking advantage of the way an official will call a very arbitrary play.  I for one, hardly blame the players but the way officials have referee'd the call, but some of that does stem from the way players develop and learn to play to what the rules say and learn how to get said call.

I've already posted a few times but I think the main issue with the call now-a-days isn't about on-ball defense or already established defenders near the hoop; those are legitimate calls that reward good defense and regulate out of control offensive players.  It's the slide-in/step-in done by the help defense that are most definitely not "set", while an offensive player has already established his attempt at getting to the hoop, and getting the official to call a charge.  Its cheap.


February 11th, 2013 at 3:39 PM ^

I've already posted a few times but I think the main issue with the call now-a-days isn't about on-ball defense or already established defenders near the hoop;

But that will be an issue if we do like Shredder suggests and get rid of the charge.

There is no way to write rules, as long as a judgment call is involved by the refs, such that they're immune to being exploited by players in a way that fans sometimes find "unfair."  And I'm sorry, but when a player has established his attempt at getting to the hoop, that shouldn't give him a free pass to get there.  Defenders know they'll be called for a foul (and rightly so) if they try to reach over and attempt a block; that'll be a foul 98% of the time, and it should be.  Right now it's sometimes called in favor of the offense and sometimes in favor of the defense, which IME makes it balanced and fair, even if we can dispute individual calls.  It certainly shouldn't be, once you start towards the hoop, you're basically already there because the rules are written so the defense has no tools whatsoever to stop you.


February 11th, 2013 at 4:00 PM ^

I don't think he was seriously proposing to get rid of the charge. (If he was, I disagree.) Almost everything in the OP was about charges drawn by secondary help defenders, which is what everyone else criticizing how charging is called today is talking about.

Offensive players shouldn't get a free pass to the hoop, but defenders shouldn't get credit for falling down in front of offensive players with their arms at their sides, which is what a lot of charging calls are, thanks to Coach K.* What officials should do is pay more attention to the rule of verticality, ie, defensive players are entitled to go up straight to contest shots, but they shouldn't get credit for acting as human bowling pins. Emphasize defense that contests, rather than defense that tries to impede.


*The sad thing about Duke defensively is that they can be a great team to watch when they're concentrating on moving their feet to help and staying in front of dribble penetrators. But they ruin this defensive quality for me when the help defenders accentuate any and all contact. (Cue video of Paulus flopping).


February 11th, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

I'm not sure where the issue is. If it's close, start calling blocks. The rule is in place so that the offensive player can't just ram into a defensive player. Most of playing defense is getting in the opponent's way so he can't get to the basket. If you take away the charge, you are taking away any possibility of down low support. Basically, if the offensive player can move to not make contact with the defense, but they choose not to, that should be a charge. If they leave there feet and someone slides over, that should be a block regardless of how long the defender is standing there. Maybe that's what should be changed. Instead of basing the call on whether the defensive player is set, base it on whether the offensive player has a chance to avoid the contact.


February 11th, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

Why as a defender should I not be allowed to stand in a position without getting run over? I actually think they should call more charges, this way a player might have to develop a mid range jumper, instead of just dunks and 3 pt. shots.