Monday, March 19, 2007

What does "affected the play" mean anyway?

As promised, here's a bit more on what is meant by "affected the play."
Understanding this phrase is important for correct application of the continuation rule. Here's the part of the continuation rule that's relavant:

XVI.C. Continuation rule
2. For calls made by a non-thrower:
b) If the team that committed the infraction has possession:
(1) If the infraction affected the play (XVI.C.3), play stops and the disc reverts to the thrower unless the specific rule says otherwise.
(2) If the infraction did not affect the play, play stops and the result of the play stands.
3. An infraction affected the play if an infracted player determines that the outcome of the specific play (from the time of the infraction until play stops) may have been meaningfully different absent the infraction. (For example, if a receiver is fouled and thereby prevented from getting open for a pass, the play was affected; however, if the receiver would not have received a pass even without the foul, the play was not affected.)

A few things to note about this rule:
-if the team that committed the infraction gains or retains possession (e.g.- a defensive infraction followed by a turnover, or an offensive infraction followed by a completed pass), it doesn't matter whether the infraction occurred before or after the throw.
-the infracted player gets to determine whether the infraction affected the play.
-the specific play is described as beginning at the time of the infraction and ending when play stops, and is not limited to a particular pass or event.

To explain this a bit more clearly, I'd like to illustrate this with some examples.

We'll start with an easy one: A receiver starts his cut but is fouled by his defender. The thrower either doesn't realize there has been a foul and throws the disc anyway, or has already thrown the disc. The receiver feels that he would have had a play on the disc if he hadn't been fouled. Therefore he determines that the infraction affected the play, and the disc returns to the thrower.... unless the specific rule says otherwise, which in this case it does (according to XVI.H.3.b.2 Receiving Fouls, if the foul is uncontested the disc goes to the receiver at the spot of the infraction; if contested, it goes back to the thrower).

Ok, now let's say that the same receiver was fouled, but this time the thrower, seeing that that receiver was not open (but not realizing that a foul had been called), decides to throw to a different receiver, perhaps the dump. The dump can't get open, and the thrower ends up throwing the disc right to the dump's defender. In this case, there's a reasonable argument to be made that if the first receiver hadn't been fouled, he may have been a better option for the thrower, and the pass may have been completed to him. Therefore, the fouled receiver may still determine that the foul affected the play, and the disc will return to the thrower.

At this point you may be thinking, well, every time there's a defensive foul before an incomplete throw, the offense can claim that the foul affected the play, and the disc will go back to the thrower. And in fact, this is mostly true. (Note that the 10th edition did not clearly address what should happen when there's a defensive violation preceding an incomplete throw, and therefore a special clarification was given at club and college nationals for the past several years, in which it was decided that this scenario would be played such that the disc would always go back to the thrower.)

However, the 11th edition is a bit more nuanced in that it allows for the infracted player to determine that the infraction didn't affect the play, if that is the case.

For example, imagine our same receiver being fouled, but now let's say that receiver is on the other side of the field from the thrower, perhaps out of range for that thrower's throws. Meanwhile, the thrower sees another receiver open up the line for an easy pass, and throws it to that open receiver, but the throw gets picked up by the wind and goes out of bounds. In this case, the fouled receiver recognizes that the fact that he was fouled had no impact on the fact that the disc was turned over, and determines that the infraction did not affect the play, and the turnover stands.

One last comment on this:

The phrase "affected the play," which refers to a specific play in the context of an infraction and the continuation rule (as described above), should not be confused with the phrase "affect continued play," which is part of the definition of incidental contact, and therefore of fouls.

The definition of a foul is "non-incidental contact," and the definition of non-incidental contact is contact that "affects continued play." For contact to affect continued play means that anything that happens afterwards might be meaningfully different because of the contact. So to return to our last example above, the receiver that was on the other side of the field from the thrower may not have even been cutting for the thrower, but may instead have been positioning himself for a future cut. However, if his defender pushed him over, his ability to position himself appropriately for the next cut would have been compromised, therefore the contact "affected continued play," and thus was not incidental and was a foul. So a receiver can call a foul (because the contact "affected continued play") but then determine that the foul did not affect the specific play for purposes of the continuation rule.

And as long as we're talking about fouls, I'd like to emphasize what I wrote above, paraphrased:
A foul is defined as contact that affected continued play.
Furthermore, the continuation rule states that in order for a receiver to gain possession of the disc after being fouled, the foul must have affected THE play (XVI.C.2.b.1 and XVI.H.3.b.2).
What this means is that contact alone is not necessarily a receiving foul...
For example, let's say that our poor receiver cuts for the disc, is thrown to, but while attempting to go up for the disc, his defender inadvertantly pushes his arm down. Now let's also say that the disc flew by 5 feet over the receiver's head... In this scenario, the fact that the disc was uncatchable by that receiver means that even though there was a fair bit of contact, this contact didn't constitute a foul because it didn't affect the play (the receiver wasn't going to catch the disc anyway), and it didn't affect continued play (the throw resulted in a turnover, and the receiver-now-defender wasn't impeded in any way from continuing to play defense). So although the receiver's arm was pushed down, this wasn't a "foul."

As another example, if a defender lays out and hits the disc away, but then subsequently collides with the receiver, unless the receiver feels that the contact was the result of a dangerous play or that the contact interfered with the receiver's second attempt on the disc, it is not a receiving foul. (It may be a general foul, if the receiver was knocked over and wants to stop play to be able to get up and get on defense, but the turnover would still stand.)

(Note that a dangerous play is always considered a foul, regardless of whether it affected continued play.)

I hope that was helpful,
-Peri

14 comments:

lamar said...

Just wondering if someone can confirm the following situation...

If a pick is called on Offensive Player A by Defensive Player B, but the thrower does not acknowledge the Pick call and throws a score to Offensive Player C, well away from the Pick call, does Player C's defender have any recourse if he stopped play and echoed the pick call? I know that you should never stop play on a pick as a defensive player, but people do sometimes. In this case, can Player C's defender claim that he was affected , if not by the infraction than at least by the call?

I am thinking that he cannot, and that the score stands, and that the defender will learn to play on, but I just wanted confirmation.

peri said...

Yes, that is correct. If a pick occurs, it is no longer relevant whether the pick occured before or after the throw- only whether it affected or did not affect the play. And the rules say explicitly that reacting to hearing the call doesn't count toward whether the infraction affected the play [XVI.K].

So hopefully people will get used to stopping only when the thrower stops play, not right when they hear a call.

That being said, obviously the thrower must stop play if he hears the pick called before the throw, and to ignore it is cheating. This rule encourages the marker to echo the pick call so that the thrower hears it and stops play.

Mike said...

So does 'affected the play' apply to a situation when a defender D's the disc, clearly smacking it away, making the disc uncatchable, but the momentum of his/her body hits the intended receiver, thus resulting in a foul call. Would this stand as a foul, even though the defender clearly made the disc uncatchable fractions of a second prior to making the questionable body contact? Or is it a non-foul and turnover as in the situation when the disc is thrown 5 feet overhead and uncatchable when the receiver is fouled? Situations like this arise all the time when the Defender gets the D but fouls the receiver on the follow-through.

Anonymous said...

mike, I'd think that your example would depend on if the contact between the defender and receiver is considered dangerous or not. If the defender had to make a dangerous play in order to make the D, it would be a foul. But if it's just light contact, then no problem.

Aaron G. said...

Where would the disc be put into play on a harmful endangerment call in mike's example? Back to the thrower?

And does this mean no more ticky-tacky foul calls on a D where, say, hands are entangled, after the D (again, barring harmful endangerment)?

(And note that I have called such ticky-tacky stuff on O as well (and been properly heckled).)

peri said...

Contact that occurs before the outcome of the play is determined (for example, a defender knocking into a receiver before the disc arrives) obviously "affected continued play," so a foul call is justified (by II.F,H), and also "affected the play," so the disc should go to the infracted player (in this example, the receiver) by the continuation rule (XVI.C.2.b.1).

Contact that occurs after the outcome of the play has been determined (e.g. a defender laying out, hitting the disc away, and a split second later making contact with the receiver) can be considered to have "affected continued play" if it results in the receiver falling down or otherwise being unable to continue playing, so a foul call might be justified. HOWEVER, if the disc was already knocked away such that the outcome of the play was decided, the contact did not affect "the play," and therefore even if a foul is called, the turnover should stand (by XVI.C.2.b.2). (Assuming the contact did not constitute a dangerous play- more on that coming.) According to XVI.C.3, it is up to the infracted player (in this case the receiver) to determine whether the foul affected the play (ie- did the contact occur before or after the defender hit the disc away? was the disc still catchable and did the contact prevent the receiver from making a second attempt on the disc, thereby affecting the play after all?).

peri said...

A dangerous play is treated as a general foul, but for the purpose of continuation, the disc goes to the infracted player if that player would have had a play on the disc absent the dangerous play(er) (because of the part of the dangerous play rule that says "no matter if/when the disc arrives").

The dangerous play is the whole play, not just the contact that results from the play. The dangerous play itself is treated as a foul, not just the contact (which often is a foul by itself...). So it is a foul the moment the dangerous play starts (sort of retroactively). When the dangerous play starts before the disc is knocked away/caught (and the disc would have been catchable without the play, i.e., without the reckless player making any play on the disc), it clearly affected the play, and thus is treated as a receiving foul. If the disc was uncatchable anyways (to be determined by the fouled player), it is not a receiving foul but a general foul, and while here the outcome of the play is ambiguous, it's the src's intent that in this case the disc should go back to the thrower (we'll clarify this in 11.1!).

Anonymous said...

How broadly can a player interpret "affected the play"? Here's an example....

Defender A is guarding offensive player A at the front of a vertical stack. Offensive player B makes a cut from the middle of the stack. Defensive player B is picked. Before defensive player B can call the pick defensive player A notices the open cutter (A) and flashes in the lane to stop the throw. Half a second later defensive player B calls pick. The thrower doesn't acknowledge the call and subsequently completes a pass to the now open offensive player A.

So, does defensive player A have grounds to contest the completed pass on the grounds that he wouldn't have poached had their not been a pick? Certainly his play was affected by the infraction. He would have prevented the throw to offensive player A had he not poached. Right?

-William

tico said...

Quick question... the following example does or does not apply on a endzone pass? So if there is an uncontested foul on the receiver, but the receiver does NOT have possession of the disc it is NOT a goal. Right?

"We'll start with an easy one: A receiver starts his cut but is fouled by his defender. The thrower either doesn't realize there has been a foul and throws the disc anyway, or has already thrown the disc. The receiver feels that he would have had a play on the disc if he hadn't been fouled. Therefore he determines that the infraction affected the play, and the disc returns to the thrower.... unless the specific rule says otherwise, which in this case it does (according to XVI.H.3.b.2 Receiving Fouls, if the foul is uncontested the disc goes to the receiver at the spot of the infraction; if contested, it goes back to the thrower)."

Anonymous said...

Wow. Way to make the PICK rule WAAAAAY more complicated!!! Thanks! Instead of the call (which theoretically is definite and loud) being the point of reference for everything, now it's "acknowledgement" which seems more subjective. Regardless of how much I HATE THIS, here's a few scenarios I'm now curious about:

1) Let's say a pick is called at the beginning of the stack and a player cuts from the back well after the call is made and then the thrower acknowledges the pick BEFORE throwing. Does that receiver get to keep any space advantage they got between the call and play? It seems like they reset from acknowledgement and not from the violation.

2) If a pick is called and there are two stall counts made before the thrower acknowledges the call, does the stall count stay or go back? Concerning, concerning . . .

3) Let's say you have a dumbass on your team who NEVER hears pick calls (OK, maybe he's just always in the zone). Would it be bad spirited to keep cutting even though you KNOW there's a pick call and you KNOW the thrower hasn't acknowledged it? That seems to be gray spirited to me . . . based on the old rules it seems like everyone should stop and relay the call to end play as soon as possible, but now it's in the offense's benefit to keep playing while it's in the defense's benefit to scream in the thrower's face (instead of just his teammates) which can bring obvious spirit related consequences to more dense players. It's obviously in the wrong to not stop play as the thrower (if you really know that a pick was called), but what should offensive teammates do?

Sidenote: Although in the old rules it sucked to play against people who made the whisper calls, now it just sucks to play against people who have limited awareness because they get an advantage of the new NBA continuation rule.

Mortakai said...

William, it's Defensive B's call as to whether it affected the play. If this player believes that the outcome of the play would have been meaningfully different---which may include that D-B might believe that D-A would not have flashed out to O-B and O-A would not have been open for the pass---then sure, they can state that the infraction affected the play and call for the disc to go back.

Mortakai said...

tico, first off, possession always needs to be demonstrated before a receiving foul ends up in a goal.

So in your example, if the foul was caused at the brick mark for a pass that ends up in the end-zone, the fouled player checks it in at the brick.

However, if the foul was caused inside the end-zone, the disc is checked in inside the e-z and then the thrower carries the disc to (and taps it down at) the e-z line and plays on from there.

Dave K said...

Question - I'm thinking in terms of "affected the play" and picks.

If defender was 9.9 feet away at time of pick and his guy was running full speed after burning defender, and the pass was perfect to his guy who catches it cleanly, is it legit for defender to send it back to the thrower based on the argument that defender's footsteps from 9.9 feet away would have affected the play by putting pressure on the guy who might have dropped it as a result?

Mortakai said...

What if the defender hadn't showered in a month and was counting on the downwind distraction strategy?

What if it was another offense/defense pair that was picked and this receiver would have been distracted differently from his peripheral view?

I certainly wouldn't suggest that any of these reasons (including the footfall distraction) are valid examples of affecting the play.

I hope you weren't the defender making this claim, Dave.