Craft Charge Draws the Ire of CBS Studio Hosts

Dave Mitchell March 24, 2013 Comments Off on Craft Charge Draws the Ire of CBS Studio Hosts

Ohio State BasketballYes Ohio State beat Iowa State. Yes Aaron Craft hit the game wining jumper. But according to the “expert” commentary of those at CBS, including the NCAA’s own Director of Officiating John Adams, what happened at the end shouldn’t have mattered.

That’s because just seconds prior to Craft’s game-deciding three pointer, the officials blew a “charge-block” call that would have given Iowa State a two point lead and a free throw. Craft stepped in on a driving Will Clyburn. The two collided, and the baseline referee called a charge and gave the ball to Ohio State.

Replays showed conclusively Craft was outside the semi circle used for officials to determine “charge-block” calls. His right foot seemingly was on the line, yet his heel was in the air and not touching the circle. This didn’t stop the CBS studio crew to go off on the call.

Greg Anthony agreed this was “much ado about nothing,” but also included the Refs “blew the call.” How could the Refs blow the call when there is no conclusive evidence of Craft’s supposed indiscretion?

According to the NCAA’s own rule regarding the matter, it says “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.” This call met all the stipulations the rule asks for.

Craft was in position, two feet were on the floor, was facing Clyburn and was stationary. The only dispute is what the definition of “feet on the floor” is. If that is both feet, totally on the floor, including toes and heel, then problems will ensue. That definition could open up an entire new rule book that could ruin the game.

For example, no longer will a player hap-hazardly in bound the ball after a bucket. They would be required to be totally out of bounds with neither foot in the air or stepping over the baseline on the pass.

No longer could a player save a ball from going out of bounds without both feet on the floor. A free throw shooter would be called for a line violation should his feet go over the line before the ball hits the rim. For that matter, so would someone on the lane.

After watching almost every game of the tournament so far, one would have to say the NCAA and the Officials, along with those in the studio at CBS have more than enough to worry about than this call.

First of all, one could assume most viewers are tired of seeing the backside of the officials viewing the monitor looking for any contact above the head. This is mandated by the NCAA but one could say if the officials didn’t see contact above the shoulders, who go look for it on the monitor? After all, isn’t an officials job to call what they see, not what they “think” they saw. Now they should go look for something?

As Jay Bilas of ESPN put it on Twitter during the Indiana game Sunday “So far we’ve had a guy lose a tooth and a guy dislocate a shoulder, neither with a foul called.” Maybe concentration should be put on that, rather than a heel over the semi circle.

Officiating is one of the easiest jobs in the world, made into the hardest. No more are games controlled by officiating. The most prevalent statement in college ball today is the “officials don’t want to influence the end of the game.” However when a team is trying to come back, even the slightest touch is called a foul.

A novel officiating technique would be to make common calls in the beginning, clean up the mauling under the basket right away and let players know how the game will be called. Then possibly we wouldn’t need a rule mandating monitor viewing during the contest.

To break down the “charge-block” rule into something different than anything else in the game opens up a Pandora’s box. Maybe that is what the NCAA wants to do.

It’s easier to influence the outcome that way.


Dave Mitchell and Mark Donahue co-host the “Ohio Baseball Weekly” show every Monday night at 9pm.