Yeah, you read that headline correctly, charging calls are ruining college basketball.
Tuesday night saw yet another block/charge call decide a game and, of course, the officials got it wrong. It was yet another example of how one specific type of foul call is utterly damaging the heart of the spot.
UConn beat Villanova on Tuesday night 70-69. The game-clinching play came when Huskies senior guard R.J. Cole was rewarded for playing bad defense. The officials called a charge on Villanova's Collin Gillespie on a play that should have either been a block or a no-call. Cole flopped backwards as Gillespie attacked the paint and was rewarded for doing so.
The play is below:
Cole wasn't even set and his arm raked Gillespie's. But he flopped backwards and the official bought it.
What an absolutely horrid call to essentially end a phenomenal game. And things like this are happening more and more in college basketball.
Players are taught to flop these days and officials fall for it constantly. On top of that, referees love calling charges because the motion they get to make looks cool. On Tuesday night, the official calling the charge was absolutely playing to the raucous, pro-UConn crowd at the XL Center. Look at how he puts a flourish on the call as he points the other direction. It's almost like in his mind, the crowd was actually cheering for him.
In case you think I'm being hyperbolic, let's just boil down what stepping in to take a charge entails. It means a defensive player is giving up on actually guarding his man, and instead is willing to stand there and get run into on the off-chance the official makes the call. Here's a humble suggestion for anyone looking to draw a charge: just play defense.
Look, it's one thing when an offensive player hooks a defender to gain an advantage, pushes off to create space or just plows over someone in good defensive position, but this is different. Rewarding players for standing still and not actually trying to play defense is moronic and the NCAA needs to change its rules. If you step in front of an offensive player and are not attempting to actually play defense, you should not be rewarded with a charge call. End of discussion.
The culture of teaching guys to slide over when opponents are already on their path to the basket, then flop when contact is made, has always been terrible for the sport. It has proliferated widely and officials continually reward teams and players for suckering them in. Not only is is bad for the game, it also damages the product.
The powers-that-be in college basketball need to get together and find a long-term solution to this problem. It's straight up awful, and what happened during Tuesday night's game happens far too often. It has to end.