Friday, February 16, 2007

Clarification on 'Merely Running Across'

We've recently had some comments and questions about the last sentence of the double-team rule: "However, merely running across this area is not a double team." [11th Ref: XIV.B.2.] We feel it's beneficial to provide the following clarification of how the SRC expects this rule will be interpreted. The original post, Marking Violations - the Rest of the Team, has also been updated with this clarification.

We've chosen the word "merely" in this rule for its specific meaning. Depending on which dictionary you're using, its definition will include something along the lines of, "only as specified and nothing else and nothing more". And this is exactly what we mean.

With that in mind, if the additional defender is running through that space to do no more than get to the other side, then that is allowed. Examples include trying to get to a player you are trying to guard, like when you're caught out of position or during a transition from zone-to-man; or to get into some other legal defensive position, like members of the cup running across to get to their position.

What you do, and how long you spend, in that defined space is what is important, not what you do once you get out the other side, or even why you're trying to get to the other side.

While you're in that space around the thrower, you need to be "merely" running across, not running across AND trying to obstruct the throw, or trying to get in the passing lane, or running closer than necessary to the thrower. Basically, to add an "AND anything" to running across means you are doing something more than just running across, and as such is contrary to the definition of "merely".

What about beginning to cross the space to catch up to a receiver and then abruptly changing direction while still within the space, in reaction to the receiver's movements?

That’s a really good question. Of course, if you're within 3m of the receiver, then you may well meet the "guarding" criteria. In other cases though, you are still merely running across that space, because you have no intention within that space except for moving through it. You may be taking another path through it, but you are still merely running through and not doing anything else while you’re in there, which is allowed.

Now having said all that, a double-team will be difficult for the thrower to call and will require a fair bit of judgment because often the intent of the defender won't necessarily be obvious to the thrower. This is a good example of the importance of the very last rule in the book, where it's the defender's responsibility to make every effort to not intentionally violate a rule. [11th Ref: XIX.G.]

... next up, Throwing Fouls... stay tuned...


parinella said...

That's twice now that you've cited "every effort" to avoid violating the rules, which I suspect may have just slipped in past almost every suspecting reader, as well as those like me who never saw it.

I believe that "every effort" is too much. I consider myself a more honest player than 98% of my cohorts, yet I do not make "every effort" to avoid violations, just a pretty darn good one. I do make "every effort" to avoid getting into a collision, but not to avoid a marking foul, a travel, a double team, a fast count, or an offsides. I suppose that I approve of the fact that you made this a stronger statement than just "no one will intentionally violate the rules", but what you came up with is even less realistic.

The Cruise said...

Phrasing rules with words like "merely" is the main reason I voted against this edition.
Evidentally, I was in the vast minority.

Players are taught to keep their hands up when playing defense, but now a player should put their hands down to run across the double team space, then return to playing defense?

It's a horribly worded rule, primarily because it's written in prose style, not litigious style, and should have been changed before being voted on.

bil said...

The plain text of the rule fails to communicate clearly the meaning that you've intended. So now you want people to play by your intentions, not by the plain text. How many people are going to read the SRC intention statements, esp. when posted on an obscure blog?

In other words, now that I have your intent, and I'm faced with someone who "merely" ran across, with merely modifying "run" as it ambiguously does so per the text of the rule, and I say, did you run across intending to interfere with the throw, and they say, yes, but I "merely" ran across, I didn't do anything other than run, and I say, but the legislative intent here is that you can't run across if you have _any_ intent other than "getting to the other side," then you've failed their threshold test, and the other player says, "what? that makes no sense to me. that's not how the rule is written." and I shrug and say, i have no idea what it is supposed to mean either, i don't know how you could run anywhere on the field with ONLY the intent to get to that point on the field (i.e. you're always defending, or trying to get open, or trying to get out of the way) - and using Mark's "only as specified and nothing else and nothing more" definition that is pointed at intent.

Ooops. in reading MMM's clarification (above), there's a contradiction between his first sentence "With that in mind" and his second, "Example" which includes examples, all of which have a secondary intent that defeat the "merely" meaning that he's trying to use. Which means that the legislative intent is ambiguous too, so we're left with a rule that makes no sense. Which means that we have to wait for an Oberver's manual statement, which will never come because no one will ever call anything related to this anyway.

we've also created a situation with the "every effort" issue of having people who are playing with a greater knowledge of the _intentions_ behind the rules playing to a different standard than those playing with a common understanding. good job SRC! (sarcasm).

Todd said...

This is a good example of the importance of the very last rule in the book, where it's the defender's responsibility to make every effort to not intentionally violate a rule. [11th Ref: XIX.G.]

XIX.G. In addition to the assumption that players will not intentionally violate the rules, players are similarly expected to make every effort to avoid violating them.
There's a difference between making every effort to avoid intentionally violating the rules and making every effort to avoid violating the rules at all (even by accident).

Mortakai, do you (and the SRC) read the rule to mean we must make every effort only to avoid intentional violations? If so, we should update the wording to make that explicit.

Mortakai said...

Earlier this morning, we posted a new post addressing the 'every effort to avoid violating the rules' topic.

See Avoiding Infractions for further information.