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Friday, 20 May 2022
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Different Decisions by Officials

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Rule 2:  OFFICIALS AND THEIR DUTIES – Section IV, Different Decisions by Officials

For as many games as we have officiated in our career, you should have encountered a “blarge” call on an occasion or two with your crew.   What is a “blarge” call?  You will not find the term “blarge” in any rule book of any sports, nor will you find it in its respective officials’ manual.  A “blarge” is when two officials in the game make a call at the exact same time, and show exact different preliminary signals. This primarily happens on a Block/Charge play which one official signals charge, while the other signals block.  How did you react to the call?  Did you give it up to your partner(s), or did you take it out of your primary?  We’re going to talk about Rule 2, Officials and their Duties.  We’re going to focus on Section IV, Different Decisions by Officials. 


Let’s talk about different strategies which we can use to put the game at ease from a high intensity block/charge calls.  The intensity magnifies especially when there is a double whistle and both officials show different preliminary calls.  So, there is a rule for that.  We’ll talk about the penalty of the foul, and the administration of the play.


Understand that a known double-whistle mechanic which we all abide by, is releasing the call to the primary official.  But sometimes there are those plays which both officials may not come to a conclusion. 

Here’s the play:


Team A has committed 2 fouls in the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter.  Team B has 1 foul to give.  There is only 10 seconds remaining in the game.   A1 drives to the basketball as he is met by B2 in front of the restricted arc.  A1 dips his shoulder into B2 which both goes to the floor.  There is a double whistle, by the lead and the trail officials, which both signaled a preliminary call.  The lead signaled player control and the trail signals block.

The lead and the trail officials decide to conference, which you at the slot official is the crew chief of the game.  You have no input into the play.  The lead states A1’s shoulder lowered into B2 and was out of control.  The trail states B2 pulled A1’s arm into B2’s body which then creating the illegal contact.  The crew met for about 30 seconds without a resolution. 


article_blockcharge1.jpgAs the Crew Chief of the game what do you do?  What is the penalty and administration of this play?


Rule 2, Section IV, Different Decisions by Officials states the following:

Section IV—Different Decisions By Officials

  1. The crew chief shall have the authority to set aside or question decisions regarding a rule interpretation made by either of the other officials.
  1. If two officials give conflicting signals as to who caused the ball to go out-of- bounds, they will conference and reconstruct the play in an attempt to make the correct call. If no resolution is reached, a jump ball will be signaled between the two players involved at the

EXCEPTION: Last two minutes of fourth period and last two minutes of overtime. (See Rule 13—Section I-a(7))

  1. In the event that a violation and foul occur at the same time, the foul will take precedence.
  1. Double Foul (See Rule 12B—Section VI-f).
  1. If the two officials differ on a block/charge foul involving the restricted area and/or lower defensive box, they will conference and share information in an attempt to make the

correct call. If no resolution is reached it will be treated as a double foul (See Rule 12B—Section VI-f).

EXCEPTION: Last two minutes of fourth period and last two minutes of overtime. (See Rule 13—Section I-a(12))

article_blockcharge3.jpgSection IV, e, should explain quite a bit of what to do in this moment.  If the 2 officials cannot come to a conclusion, you will treat this as a double-foul.  So now that you know that, your “blarge” play is not that bad.  At worst, you can charge both players with a foul.  But is this a satisfactory call for both sides?  It is ironic that the play would be downgraded from such a high intensity call to something that just evens out the call on the play.  Many of us will probably release this to the primary official, but here’s how we would administer this play.

As the crew chief, we must come together and determine some type of conclusion.  But if both officials cannot come to a conclusion, then we will treat this as a double foul.  We will apply Rule 12B—Section VI.  Both officials will report their fouls.  A1 and B2 are both charged with a personal foul.  No team foul will be charged to either teams.  We will reset the shot clock to 14 if it is under 14.  Play will resume with Team A inbounding the ball at the sideline nearest the foul but no lower than the free line extended.

Let me know if you think different.

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