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Interesting Play to Discuss

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Interesting Play to Discuss

Postby larrypmac » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:49 am

Last night in a game that I was playing in, a rather interesting play developed, and I don't know exactly how the rules cover it, so I thought it might make a good discussion for this board.

There was a leading pass thrown to a receiver near the offensive goal line. The receiver jumped and caught the pass, and had enough forward momentum to reach the end zone. However, a defensive player, who is a pretty big guy, had established position well before the offensive player jumped, and the offensive player bounced off the defender. He actually did make it into the end zone, and decided to count the point, but I'm not sure if it was correct to do it or not.

On one hand, you would think that a player should have the right to land if they catch a pass in mid-air. But on the other hand, the defensive player had established his position, and should not have to give up the spot, either. On the third hand (maybe we have to use a foot), players should do what they can to avoid extensive contact. On the fourth hand/second foot, it is the offensive player who is the one who is out of control. Could this be an offensive foul? I tend to think that it isn't... my governing rule on a foul is to determine what the fouled player would have done if the foul didn't occur, and in this case, the defensive player was not making a play on the disc.

Discuss! Thanks.

Larry
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Postby rahil_s » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:06 pm

If anything, it's a defensive foul,

A player may not take a position that is unavoidable by a moving opponent when time, distance, and line of sight are considered. Non-incidental contact resulting from taking such a position is a foul on the blocking player.


However, unless he called a foul, it's incidental contact, and should not have been a point, but instead he should have take the disc where he got up after bouncing off the player.
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Postby ashunter » Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:22 pm

If the defensive player had established position before the opponent jumped, I find it hard to believe it is unavoidable.

This brings up a really tricky problem though

From (XVI.H.3.c)
"When the disc is in the air a player may not move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc and any resulting non-incidental contact is a foul on the blocking player which is treated like a receiving foul (XVI.H.3.b)."

As a defensive player, I know it's not cool to step in front of a guy who's moving at high speed to get a disc.

But if I've read the disc and know where it's going, and it looks like he's read it wrong and is going the wrong way, and I get to the right spot first, then he changes his mind and heads towards me without looking, then he hits me, who's fault is that?

I've seen it happen a lot. The player on offense is usually pissed, because they were concentrating on the catch and all of a sudden, WHAM! But the defense shouldn't have to just get out of the way of a wildly careening offensive player.

The more I play, the more I realize that the fault of this kind of impact is usually with the thrower. The thrower has made a bad decision, and thrown to a contested area of greenspace that the receiver thinks is open, but really is not.

This is especially true in league co-ed play, where the size/speed difference between players can be huge, and field awareness isn't always perfect.
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Postby oshai » Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:43 pm

ashunter wrote:"When the disc is in the air a player may not move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc and any resulting...


The rules say you cannot block someone from getting to the disc, it doesn't say anything about what happens after they catch the disc :)

I am inclined to agree with Rahil on this one. It sounds like the defensive player established a position that was clearly in the path of the offensive player without even trying to make a play at the disc. Either way it had no effect on the play because:
1) the contact occurred after the catch, and the player did not loose possession due to the contact
2) the player would have landed in the end zone and did land in the end zone
3) the contact did not prevent the defensive player from making a play on the disc

Final call: defensive foul with no affect on the play - play on!
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Postby Pegger » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:37 pm

Based on the description, I really doubt this was a defensive foul. As noted in the original post "a defensive player ... had established position well before the offensive player jumped."

Based on that, the contact was avoidable by the offensive player, so the blocking foul rule on "taking a position that is unavoidable" does not apply. Also as noted, the blocking foul rule on denying an "unoccupied path to the disc" does not apply as the receiver go to the disc without hindrance.

If anything, I think this was likely a dangerous play by the receiver:
"Reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players or other dangerously aggressive behavior (such as significantly colliding into a stationary opponent), regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or when contact occurs is considered dangerous play and is treated as a foul. This rule is not superseded by any other rule." (XVI.H.4)

If it was determined that this was dangerous play (and I don't think the relative size of players needs to be factored in), then offensive foul.
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Postby Peeters » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:02 pm

Interesting. And I think it comes down to the intent, and especially actions, of the defender.

XVII. B
A player who jumps is entitled to land at the take-off spot without hindrance by opponents. That player also is entitled to land at another spot, provided that the landing spot, and the direct path between the take-off and landing spots, were not already occupied at the time of take-off.


This makes me think it's an offensive foul since the at the time of take-off, the defender was in the direct path, as evidenced by the contact. Thus, the offensive player was NOT entitled to land at another spot that went through the defender. But then, I read stuff like XVI. H. 3. b below:

When the disc is in the air a player may not move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc and any resulting non-incidental contact is a foul on the blocking player which is treated like a receiving foul (XVI.H.3.b).


Which would be a blocking foul if the defender isn't playing the disc. Which is where intent and action come into play. If the defender was just taking a position to "draw the charge" so to speak, then they're basically moving in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc. If they were making a legitimate play and had taken a legitimate position to do so, then I can see the case for an offensive foul. Though really, if the receiver still got to the disc first, I wonder how legitimate that position really was, but I'd have to see the play to make that judgement call.

My $0.02
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Postby Richard K » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:42 am

Peeters is exactly right. No one is allowed to jump into an opponent (XVI.H.4, for example), even if he is just "going for the disc" (and even catching it). XVI.H.4 specifically says "regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or when contact occurs." Nowhere does it say a player who has just caught a disc is allowed to run someone over.

If the defensive player took that position in an attempt to play the disc and the offensive player was reasonably able to avoid him (when time, distance, and line of sight are considered), it was the offensive player's responsibility to do so: XVI.H. It is the responsibility of all players to avoid contact in every way possible. and II.E. In general, the player initiating the contact has committed the foul. Slamming into an opponent as a necessary part of the act of catching sounds like non-incidental contact, hence an offensive foul or dangerous play.

However, if the defender took the position illegally, it's a blocking foul. If the offensive player knew he was there and did not attempt to avoid the contact, it could still be a dangerous play, hence a double foul.
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Postby Richard K » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:45 am

oshai wrote:Final call: defensive foul with no affect on the play - play on!

This is nonsense: there is no such thing. Contact is only a foul if it affects the play (or is reckless endangerment):
II.E. Foul: Non-incidental contact between opposing players.
II.H. Incidental contact: Contact between opposing players that does not affect continued play.


It is entirely possible that the contact was incidental or unavoidable due to the defender taking an illegal position, in which case the catch and goal should be awarded.
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Postby Gonzo » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:09 pm

A question that should be asked is whether or not the receiver had to jump to catch the disc, or was jumping to try to score the point. Also, was the defender waiting for the disc to come down, or intentionally trying to stop/block the receiver? (If the defender was trying to block the receiver, I would argue that it's a defensive foul, no matter what, but if they were waiting for the disc to come down, the below might apply.)

I would say that if the receiver had to jump to catch the disc, then the resulting contact was a direct consequence of that, which would be an offensive foul and the result of the play would be a turnover, because that's what would have happened if the receiver had not jumped.

If the receiver was just jumping to try to score the point, then you could argue that it was a dangerous play. The result of the play then would have been that either the receiver gets the disc where he would have caught it, had he not jumped, or the disc goes back to the thrower.

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Postby AlePete » Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:32 pm

Anyone who thinks this could be a defensive foul is crazy. It is either an offensive foul (dangerous play) or nothing.

If we are to take the original poster at his word (as we should) that the defender "had established position well before the offensive player jumped" it pretty much cannot be a defensive foul. XVI.H.3.c.1 and 2 do not really apply here. If I'm understanding the situation correctly, he did not "move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc," because he was, in fact, never IN the unoccupied path between the offensive player and the disc. If he was, then the only way he could have established a position "well before the offensive player jumped" would be if he beat the offensive player to the spot, yet somehow didn't get the D, and then the offensive player jumped OVER him to get the disc, and then also somehow also managed to bounce off him after he got the disc.

Somehow, I don't think that's what happened.

Besides, this is only a foul if his ONLY reason for being in that spot was to prevent the guy from taking that path. If he has any other reason it's not a foul.

Similarly, if he established his position "well before" the offensive player jumped, there is no way he took an unavoidable position.

The offensive player is not entitled to jump towards an occupied position.
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