February 11, 2013

Hey, Ref: Simultaneous confusion

By Paul Quill

It started with a simple loose-ball push, one of the easiest calls a ref can make. That’s not where it ended.

Paul Quill is a youth and high school referee in Eastern Massachusetts.

The coach understood the call and the ruling, but the players were a different story and, by the time the situation played out, they were furious.

To see how that happens on what should be a simple, straightforward call, let’s go to the play-by-play.

Green No. 14 is bending over to pick up a loose ball when White No. 5 gives him a good shove in the back that sends the Green middie falling to the ground.

I raise my hand and shout, “Play on!”

The ball continues rolling toward another Green player and just as I anticipate that the play will continue without a stoppage, Green No. 26 enters the play with payback on his mind. He takes about four steps and buries his shoulder into White No. 5’s back, sending him tumbling to the ground.

Players, coaches and fans from both sidelines erupt. What originally looked like a simple “play on” has now turned into “simultaneous fouls.”

I immediately lean on my whistle, throw both of my flags into the air, and jog over to the spot over the incident. All players involved appear to be getting hot-headed, and my partner and I get in there to calm everybody down.

I grab Green No. 26 and White No. 5. “Let’s go guys … you’re both going to the box.” White No. 5 looks at me like I’m nuts and says, “No, I’m not! The ball was loose when I pushed him.”

“You’ll get an explanation at the box,” I tell him.

As the three of us jog over to the box, White No. 5 continues to chirp and plead his case. White’s coach comes to my defense, shouting, “You serve, too, Ricky … simultaneous fouls.”

The coach is right on the money. Here was my call: “Simultaneous fouls: Green No. 26, illegal body check, one minute; White No. 5, push, 30 seconds.”

NCAA RULE 7  Simultaneous Fouls

SECTION 6. Simultaneous fouls are fouls called on players of opposing teams during (1) a live ball; or (2) a dead ball, when sequence cannot be determined.

a. During a slow whistle or play-on, any foul committed by the team in possession (or entitled to possession) shall result in an immediate whistle.

b. Penalty time:

1. If there is no play-on or flag-down in effect and if all fouls are technical, the fouls cancel.

2. If the team in possession (or entitled to possession) commits:

a) Only technical fouls, no penalty time will be served by that team.

b) Any personal foul, ALL players involved will serve penalty time. This shall include technical and personal fouls by either team.

White No. 5 was stunned. He had never seen anybody serve time for a loose-ball push. The NCAA rule book covers nearly this exact scenario.

A.R. 17. During a loose ball, B1 pushes A1 from behind and a play-on is called. While the ball is still live, A1 turns and slashes B1. RULING: These are simultaneous fouls.

Since Team A was entitled to possession, all players involved serve penalty time. B1 serves 30 seconds and A1 serves one minute, with the first 30 seconds of each penalty being non-releasable.

White No. 5 was doubly mad when he found out his 30-second penalty was “locked in.” I completely understood where he was coming from because live-ball simultaneous fouls are a very rare occurrence, but he did the crime and, in this case, that meant doing time.

Paul Quill is a youth and high school referee in Eastern Massachusetts.

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of New England Lacrosse Journal.

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