The Dreaded "Blarge"
Updated: a few seconds ago
A blarge? What is that? Is that a typo?
BLARGE: Block/Charge Double Foul Call
If you’ve been officiating for decades or even just a few games, you’ll come to recognize the block/charge call is one of the most difficult calls in the game of basketball. It’s a bang-bang play that warrants quick and accurate decision making, while also being sound in mechanics and rules knowledge.
As you know, a drive or move to the basket may result in contact between the offensive and defensive player. While refereeing the defense is one of the pillars of basketball officiating, the official must determine if the defensive player has established and maintained a legal guarding position
4-19-8 – How to Deal with the Double Foul A good pregame should include a discussion of mechanics and how to handle double whistles. A breakdown in this area can result in a double foul, and on drives to the basket, could result in the dreaded “blarge.” Let’s take a minute and discuss what to do if (or when) you have this situation. The Pregame We should pregame strong side and weak side drives to the basket. The standard strong side mechanic is that the Lead always takes the double whistle. When both the trail official and the lead official blow their whistle, the trail official is responsible to hold their signal and release the call to the lead. When a drive is initiated on the weak side from the Center official's Primary Coverage Area, and both Lead and Center officials blow their whistle, the Lead official is responsible to hold their signal and whistle and release the call to the Center official.
Double Whistles Require Composure
In 3-person crews, double whistles can be more likely to occur in areas where coverage areas intersect, such as in the lane, near the free-throw line and near the free-throw line extended.
There are 2 general rules of thumb for double whistles in 3-person crews:
Submit to the referee in whose primary-coverage area (PCA) where the foul occurred. If the play comes from another official’s PCA, that official has the play all the way to the basket. This is where composure and patience by each official will serve the game well, as more than one whistle is often sounded on these plays in the lane area.
If a double whistle does occur and a blarge situation arises, be quick to recognize when your partner has sounded the whistle. Just because you blew your whistle, does not mean you have to display a signal right away. Instead, stop the clock with a closed fist, but do not give a signal to show the type of foul. If in the Trail or Center position, we should be patient with our whistle, as this can sometimes be outside of our PCA.
Blarge Management Key Points
If a blarge does occur, get together with the crew to discuss the administration of the play. Report both fouls. Determine the POI. Proper communication and proper pre-game conversations can solve and lessen the likelihood that these situations will arise, but if we do fall into a blarge scenario, let’s use the below points to get through it together as a crew.
Determine if there are any more whistles
Find your partners’ eyes ASAP.
Meet at the Spot of the Play to discuss 100% information and how we are going to administer this play.
There is no situation too difficult that a quick crew discussion can’t solve. If we do have a blarge, we can come together where the ball will be distributed and the POI to ensure we make the accurate call.
4.Verbal Communication. “I got it” or “Your call”
5.Be Slow to Signal. If you are not in the lead position and you blow your whistle, keep your hand raised with the stop-the-clock mechanic, but recognize the double whistle and be slow to present the violation if it is not in your PCA.
The Rule The “Blarge” is not an actual term used in the rule book. Rule 4-19 article 8 deals with double fouls, which is what we have when one official rules a charge and the other official rules a block. Rule 4-19-8 states, “A double personal foul is a situation in which two opponents commit personal fouls on each other at approximately the same time.” The Case Book, 4.19.8 Situation C deals specifically with the following play. The case book explains this very well.
According to the 2020-2021 NFHS Case Book, a blarge is a double foul and must be processed as the below. NCAA rule is no basket, and officials go to arrow.
4.19.8 SITUATION C: A1 drives for a try and jumps and releases the ball. Contact occurs between A1 and B1 after the release and before airborne shooter A1 returns one foot to the floor. One official rules a blocking foul on B1 and the other official rules a charging foul on A1. The try is (a) successful, or (b) not successful. RULING: Even though airborne shooter A1 committed a charging foul, it is not a player-control foul because the two fouls result in a double personal foul. The double foul does not cause the ball to become dead on the try.
The most important part to take note of is, “even though the airborne shooter A1 committed a charging foul, it is not a player-control foul because the two fouls result in a double-personal foul.”
How many Coaches and Officials know that the basket counts? My guess is not many! The double foul does not cause the ball to become dead on the try. This means, on a made basket, the goal still counts! Play resumes at the Point of Interruption.
The Play(s) There is a lot going on in these clips. Again, we are learning from the officials here and in no way are we berating or criticizing. These clips came from high level, rivalry games! Watch the clips and after reading the rule determine how this play should be administrated.
Play #1 The main reason for trail to hold is that the defender involved in the contact is usually a secondary defender, who is being officiated by the lead. The primary defender, coming out of trail’s area, typically has been beat and there is no time for trail to pick up this secondary defender-nor should the trail official have to. The Trail official is mainly responsible for contact from this primary defender. https://video.wixstatic.com/video/e4db72_e62df0c14da4404c802d3362a34e8960/720p/mp4/file.mp4
Play #2 It’s the center’s job to follow the ball all the way into a potential crash and be prepared to make the call on the defender. Done properly, the center pinches in on the play for a better look and helps sell it. Watch the secondary defender who is also in Center's PCA and ends up at the point of the call. https://video.wixstatic.com/video/e4db72_0733708118de46ecb2898b48ff2afc96/720p/mp4/file.mp4 The Ruling Since both officials made a preliminary signal on this play, both calls must stand! Yes, this is a double foul – the dreaded Blarge.
At this point, there would be 2 fouls to report to the table. Score the basket and report the double personal foul. Play is resumed at the Point of Interruption, with an end-line throw in, as after a made basket.
One important point to be made, if shot does not go in, We would go to the AP arrow! If you are thinking, “This is a mess.” Yes, it is. However, think back to the pregame. On these plays, if Trail & Lead has a more patient whistles, or even just holds their signal, this becomes our standard player-control foul.