The “Blarge” – What is it? How to avoid it? And what to do when it happens to you.

Blarge

The potential for having a “blarge” in a game is relatively low.  However, it can, and does happen, even with experienced officials!  It is important to know the rule sets that cover this scenario and, more importantly, how to stay out of this mess.

“Blarge” isn’t in the Rule Book!

While you won’t find the term “Blarge” in the rule book, it is covered in rule 4-19-8, which states, “A double personal foul is a situation in which two opponents commit personal fouls on each other at approximately the same time.”

Case book, 4-19-8 situation C deals with the double foul where one official rules block and another official rules charge. The ruling states, in part, “The foul on the offensive player is not a player-control foul because the two fouls result in a double personal foul.” The ball does not become dead on a try in this situation.

How to Prevent a ‘Blarge’

One of the skills young referees must develop is the ability to recognize the double whistle. A more important skill to master is making calls in your PCA (primary coverage area). This minimizes the chances that there will be a double whistle, which in turn, reduces the chances of a conflicting call by your partner.

A good pregame will also help remind the crew to be aware on the court of double whistles. Typically, Lead will take priority on a double whistle between Lead and Center, or Lead and Trail. The reason the Center official will hold their signal is that most often the player involved in contact will be a secondary defender.

Now What?!

You are in lead and refereeing your primary matchups. As A1 starts to drive the basket, A1 gets past B1. B2, in your primary, establishes position and there is a bang, bang collision. You sound your whistle and as your are signaling the Player Control Foul, you look up and see you partner in the slot signaling Block – Now What?

The number one thing you can not do is withdraw your call.  Once you have given the preliminary signal, your call stands.  Think of the reaction from the coach that your call supports if you withdraw.  At this point, neither official can “release” their call and let the other call prevail.  It is important to come together and discuss the situation. However, you must report both fouls!

The “blarge” is a double foul.   Here are the 3 situations and how to deal with them.  In each situation, each player is charged with a personal foul.

  1. Before a release for a try, there is a team control. Report both fouls and team A retains possession
  2. After a release for try – Report both fouls
    1. Try is successful – no team control – score the goal; B in-bounds ball on endline.
    2. Try is unsuccessful – no team control – play resumes by AP arrow.

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2 Comments

  1. Who cause the contact other than a player control foul ? how can you have a double foul if the offensive player with the ball cause the contact or the defensive player cause the contact first?

    • Thanks for your comment! Really the only way that this happens is for there to be a double whistle where the primary whistle gives a preliminary signal. At the same time, the secondary whistle gives a contradictory signal. (i.e. – Secondary whistle shows PC, while primary whistle shows block, or vice versa). The correct way to handle it is to report both fouls. My advise, always hold your signal on ALL double whistles.

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