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

When we pregame strong side and weak side drives to the basket, the standard mechanic is that the Lead always takes the double whistle. When both the trail (or center) official and the lead official blow their whistle, the trail (or center) official is responsible to hold their signal and release the call to the lead.

The main reason for trail to hold here 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.

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 – take a minute and go read the situation. 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.” 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

There is a lot going on in this clip. Again, we are learning from the officials here and in no way are we berating or criticizing. This clip came from a high level, rivalry game and occurred close to the beginning of the contest.

Watch the clip and determine how this play should be administrated.

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 on Blue 11 and White 4. Play is resumed at the Point of Interruption, with an end-line throw in by White, as after a made basket.

If you are thinking, “This is a mess.” Yes, it is. However, think back to the pregame. If trail has a more patient whistle, or even just holds his signal, this becomes our standard player-control foul. Maybe there would be a different reaction from Blue 11, maybe not, but this play gets much easier to administer.