The men's basketball season tips off Nov. 8, and among the rules and officiating changes for 2013-14 are a focus on Defending the Player with the Ball and Block / Charge plays.

The rules that the committee adjusted have been part of basketball in some form for many years. The interpretation and application, through time, loosened and a more physical style of play resulted. The committee decided a correction was needed in these two areas to improve the game and ensure a balance between offense and defense.

Defending the Player with the Ball

What Changed:
Several officiating guidelines were voted in as rules, which raised the expectation and importance in this area. Four types of illegal tactics were cited:
1. Placing and keeping a hand/forearm on opponent.
2. Putting two hands on opponent.
3. Continually jabbing by placing hand or forearm on opponent.
4. Using an arm bar to impede the progress of the dribbler.

Note that simply touching the player with the ball is not an automatic foul.

Intended Outcomes:
• Defenders will need to move their feet as opposed to using their arms/hands to negate an offensive opportunity.
• Increased emphasis will create a less physical game.
• Enhancement of freedom of movement principles and a smoother game flow.

Block / Charge Plays

What Changed:
In a review of recent seasons, two types of plays were identified as the most difficult to call correctly: Defenders moving forward at the time of contact (even though the contact may occur in the defender’s torso) and the time frame when the defender must be in legal guarding position during airborne shooter situations. Now, when a player begins his upward motion to pass or shoot, the defender must be in legal guarding position.

Intended Outcomes:
The expectation is that by providing a longer timeframe for the officials to see the actions of both the offense and the defense, the accuracy of officiating these plays will improve. It is important to note that there is no default call in this rule; officials are to call the play as it develops.