John Calipari has talked at great length this preseason about the change in how officials are supposed to call fouls this year. He believes in the emphasis on eliminating body contact so much that it’s become a daily teaching point in practice this year.
“We try to get college officials to do our scrimmages, and then the whole time they’re calling — every time a hand goes down they call it. They call a foul,” Calipari said Tuesday after the Blue-White Scrimmage. “If you stop a guy from cutting where he wants to go, they call a foul.”
Coach Cal has talked about cutting down on body contact in the game for years now, but what exactly are the specific changes officials are going to look for this season? The NCAA posted the changes on Tuesday.
Defending the Player with the Ball
Several officiating guidelines were voted in as rules, which raised the expectation and importance in this area. Four types of illegal tactics were cited:
1. Placing and keeping a hand/forearm on opponent.
2. Putting two hands on opponent.
3. Continually jabbing by placing hand or forearm on opponent.
4. Using an arm bar to impede the progress of the dribbler.
Note that simply touching the player with the ball is not an automatic foul.
• Defenders will need to move their feet as opposed to using their arms/hands to negate an offensive opportunity.
• Increased emphasis will create a less physical game.
• Enhancement of freedom of movement principles and a smoother game flow.
Block / Charge Plays
In a review of recent seasons, two types of plays were identified as the most difficult to call correctly: Defenders moving forward at the time of contact (even though the contact may occur in the defender’s torso) and the time frame when the defender must be in legal guarding position during airborne shooter situations. Now, when a player begins his upward motion to pass or shoot, the defender must be in legal guarding position.
The expectation is that by providing a longer timeframe for the officials to see the actions of both the offense and the defense, the accuracy of officiating these plays will improve. It is important to note that there is no default call in this rule; officials are to call the play as it develops.
Calipari was pleased with how few fouls his team committed during the scrimmage on Tuesday. There were a combined 20 fouls between the two teams, and one of the officials told Coach Cal that it was the best he’s seen a team play defense under the new rules.
“What I’m hoping is the entire season this is how the game is called,” Calipari said. “You see a little more free-flowing instead of checking a guy or hip-checking a guy or grabbing a guy, hands up in the air and I ride you out of bounds, you’re done now. You can’t play that way. And we all get — it’s what the rules are. I hate to tell you, that’s what the rules have been. They just haven’t enforced them. Now they’re saying they are, and it’s good to see.
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