By Ray Lutz from

It is our job as basketball officials to recognize illegal contact and to penalize it. The next step is to determine who created or who initiated the illegal contact. Most of the time it is the defense who commits the illegal contact, but not always. Sometimes it is the offense that initiates the illegal contact.


The simple way to determine who initiated the illegal contact is to officiate the defensive player. If the defense has obtained and maintained legal guarding position then the defense cannot be guilty of creating illegal contact.


If the defense initially has two feet on the floor, in-bounds and is vertical any contact that ensues and is illegal had to have been initiated by the offense.


We as basketball officials are often guilty of charging the defender with the foul when the defender was legal and it was the offensive player who created the contact. If you want to be successful at officiating the highest level of basketball you must become good at recognizing that the defender was legal and the offense created the illegal contact.

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