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.



February 11th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

Dunks and layups are just smart basketball.  Their high efficient shots.  Sliding in at the last possible moment, say .25 second while an offensive layer has alreayd committed to attacking the hoop, yes this can be done in a controlled manner, is cheap help defense.  Should a guy  be able to bowling-ball his way to the hoop? No.  The on-ball defender has a right to stay in front.  I don't think that's what's being argued here.  It's the notion of what constitutes "established position" and that has dwindled down from about a second of "being there" to a guy sliding/stepping in way late and having a referee make an arbitrary call and call the offensive player at fault.

 I agree, shooting should be a fundamental developed (and more than just the jacking up of threes, annoying anymore isn't it, especially when a tie ball game is on the line and one shoots a three for the winner).  But the usage of high efficient shots is dwindling due to cheaply called charge calls.


February 11th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^


I feel like the restricted zone has actually made things worse, in that it's given the refs yet another thing to focus on, and too often they get stuck at "where were his feet" vs. "did he establish position"? If a guy has his feet stationary outside the restricted zone for a miliisecond before contact, even if his body continues to move, it feels like he gets the charging call more often than not, even though by current interpretation, it should be a block.


February 11th, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

Yes.  I think so too.  It's the same old story of something sounding great in theory but applying it and making it work is too much for the human mind to take into effect along with everything else that's occuring.  It's essentially put us where we are today.  Nobody knows what a charge/block is anymore and it creates a lot more bitching about an already bitched about-enough group of people: Official and their practice of refereeing.


February 11th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

I think the rule that needs to be enforced is the handcheck. If they start calling this it would allow a more free flowing game and allow for more cuts and dribble penetration.


February 11th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

the charge, particularly for off-ball defenders.

NCAA should revisit many areas to clean up the game, such as: 

#1 The 5-second call should shift to a 3-second call.  With the 3-point shot giving teams an advantage to NOT execute plays near the basket, a 3-second call would reward D for play away from the basket.

#2 "Super bonus" in the last 2 minutes to stop the late game hack festivals.  The 3-point shot rewards the defense for fouling excessively late in the game to trade 3 or 2 pts.  If a team commits >2 fouls in a running 30 second duration, then reward 3 free throws or 2 and the ball.

#3 Palming has become ridiculous.   Kids carry the ball all the time and the only call is a clear hesitation dribble.  Again, a 3-second call would reward defenders if the O can carry the ball.


February 11th, 2013 at 11:59 AM ^

In a review of last year's NCAA tournament, the NCAA coordinator of officials found that while officials got 90% of all calls correct, they only got 65% of the block/charge calls correct, with the main problem being the over-calling of charges. If you look at those numbers, missed block/charge calls likely constitute over half of the total missed calls in the NCAA tournament. Now, they've issued new guidelines that essentially say "call fewer charges" apparently, but I haven't seen much effect this season. The main problem is that the call is really, really hard, and referees tend to favor the guy who gets run over, even if he's moving, over the guy initiating the contact, even if he's making more of a basketball play than the defender. 

I'd be happy with a lot more no calls.



February 11th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

I'm actually dead serious about this but why don't we just take out blocking and charging all together. As long you don't smack the player in the arm or face/grab at him adn don't come barreling in form the side, players should be able to take a little contact. Would make the sport a lot more exciting and make waiting for football season a little less painful

biakabutuka ex…

February 11th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

I've been saying this for ages. In a game that is usually decided by 3 or 4 possessions, you can't have a rule on the books that refs get wrong 2-3 times per game. Just make it illegal to use your hands on defense and your shoulder/elbow on offense and the rest is up to how well you can defend, not how well you can fall down. Who's going to complain about that? Anderson Varejao? Aaron Craft because he can't guard players twice his size anymore?

Edit: Oh, and I forgot the best part. The game doesn't stop every 15 seconds anymore so it's more fun to watch.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:23 PM ^

As a high school player, I see charges as the perfect solution to the guys that think they can just put their head down and get to the basket leading to a layup or free throws. It rewards guys who hustle to the spot and sacrifice their body. Not everyone has the guts to take a 200 pound blow.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

If the game was played the way you think it should be. Then why not just run down the lane everytime you get the ball? Just run the guy over. It could be a 3 point play every posession.

Naked Bootlegger

February 11th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

While the OP is getting negged into obliviion, I actually like the discourse.  

My 2 cents:

(1)  The block/charge cannot be eliminated as a call.  It's part of the game, albeit a frutrating part of the game.   I blame Bill Laimbeer - and I was a Pistons fan growing up (can't pay me to watch an NBA game now!) - for excessive theatrics and mounting hatred of players who thrive on taking charges.

(2)  At the risk of going all-out Herm, I would argue that the block/charge call has become more frequent in recent years due to basketball fundamentals, or lack thereof.   I have no statistics to prove this, so it's just my gut instinct.  I don't see a lot of players who know how to execute a controlled jump stop while driving into traffic.  Case in point:  UW's T. Jackson and B. Brust both drove into the lane area against us on separate occasions, stopped under control with both feet and executed nice pump fakes.  Jackson converted a 3 footer.  Brust didn't.   If a defender were directly in front of them, both players would not have been in a position to charge.   I applauded these moves, even if they were from opposing players.   Most players just aren't good at doing that, and as my wife can attest, I constantly nag on them for not executing jump stops and pump fakes.   

Going up against a shot blocker or potential charge-taker when driving into the lane?  Follow this formula:

(1) Drive under control. 

(2) Jump stop with two feet.  See Mom...no charge!

(3) Hard pump fake.  Watch the pogo stick defender jump high.   Or jump shot over the stationary defender trying to take a charge*.

(4)  Shoot.   Hit the 3-footer, or get fouled.


*If they're too tall to shoot over with extended arms, they just played good defense.   Kick out the ball or find a cutter and live to fight another day.




February 11th, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

OP is getting harped on a bit for making the claim Charges should be banned.  I don't think he honestly means that but he has a point about the "call" in general.  It's ridiculously inconsistent and preaches, not neccesarily bad defense, but poorer played defense by weakside help.  Again, OP isn't talking about the ball-defender.  He's primarily talking about the slide/step-in charge where a player comes in way too late while an offensive player has already committed to attacking the hoop.

It's a reason why our Michigan guys are unable to attack and have settled for jumpshots the past couple years.  THJ's shooting has been great but I'd still like to see him get to the rack more often.  He doesn't, partially, because he's been hampered by tacky charge calls once too often.

Not all charge calls are tacky, I'm not here to claim that.  But they are hampering the way offensive players play.  Years ago one had to be established in his spot to take a charge.  That seems to be what has changed the most, the time one has been allowed to establish his spot before the offensive player contacts him.  It's now down to a bout a quarter-of-a-second.  It used to be rougly a full second.  It's a tacky way to eliminate good offensive plays -again, not always but often enough in today's game.