You may have heard of the misapplication of the rules at a critical time in the Minnesota -Virginia Tech game last week. There are a couple of interesting learning points for all of us in this situation.
The play involved a throw-in that was never controlled by the player in front court receiving the pass and the ball was muffed into the back court where he was the first to touch it. The covering official ruled a back court violation on the play. We know that while there is team control on a throw-in, the throw-in ends when the ball is legally touched. After a throw-in ends a team must re-establish player and team control in the front court. In the play we are discussing Team A never established player or team control in the front court and so the first touching by Team A in back court was not a violation. (See CB ruling 4.12.2 Situation on page 4 of the 2011-12 casebook.)
A second point of discussion I find interesting is why one of the official’s crew mates couldn’t have come to his aid at this crucial moment of the game. Maybe they were so intently focused on their PCA that they didn’t see the action. The video seems to show that the Center official had nothing to look at, so it would seem plausible that he may have known what happened and could have given information to the calling official.
The point here is that if one of your partners ever goes brain dead on a play similar to this one, do not hesitate to go and to him/her and offer your information. Had this happened in Minnesota, and the ruling corrected this situation would have been completely forgotten.