Tuck: Something Flagrantly Wrong With College Basketball Flagrant Fouls

Something is seriously wrong with college hoops definition of flagrant fouls.  There were several examples of the flaws of the rule in the opening week of the NCAA tournament.

Players always foul “intentionally” at the end of games to send their opponents to the free throw line.  They eliminated the intentional foul from the lexicon a few years back.  But when Ohio State’s Aaron Craft “intentionally” fouled a Dayton player driving to the hoop by grabbing him (harmlessly) around the waist, the officials called it a flagrant foul.  I almost fell out of my seat laughing.

Most of the other examples of how criminal this rule is involved elbows.

1. Players rebounding the ball can’t swing their elbows to protect the ball.  I was drilled that is exactly what you are supposed to do growing up.  You’ll stop sticking your paw in the hive for honey if you get stung by bees.

2. Defensive players are allowed to be more aggressive than ever in going after the ball.  They are diving in, face first, and if/when they catch a forearm or elbow, they are being rewarded for their aggression.

3. Worst of all, referees aren’t calling many of these on the floor.  Instead they are being encouraged by coaches or the defensive player himself to go to the monitor.  Basically they are begging for a flagrant foul after the fact.

I wrote last year about rules that needed to be changed to improve the sport.  #6 especially has stood out this year with the above conversation. 

As I said a year ago, if you can NOT tell if you witnessed a flagrant foul, then you did NOT witness a flagrant foul.  If you call it a flagrant, then you go to the monitor to confirm it or revoke it.

This is the biggest thing that stood out to me this year in the NCAA tournament.  It’s not the officials issue, it’s the sport’s issue.  I hope they fix it before it costs somebody a game.  Although I’m sure Buckeye fans feel it already did.