Of course we all know that refs are probably the most hated people on a basketball court, football field, or in any other sport. Which is probably why I became one 9 years ago. I've had a many people ask me why I do it if I am constantly being yelled at by fans, coaches, players, mascots (yes those guys can be a little feisty too). So I decided to write about it to answer their question and the question about the most yelled about call in basketball.
Well I'll tell you this, if it bothered me or hurt my self esteem in any way shape or form I wouldn't do it. People can yell at me all they want about a call but to let you know when you yell, I'm probably laughing back at you. The reason is because I would say 95% of people when they are yelling and screaming at the tv or at a game or an official, honestly don't even really know what they're yelling about and don't know the actual rules. Oh and by the way, with football in high school, college, or grade school they don't use Sunday rules. Just remember that because it's a rule in the NFL, doesn't mean it's a rule across the board. One example of people not know the rule is in basketball. We hear it everytime we go to a game, watch it on tv, or sit next to someone who has their team playing. This is the famous "OVER THE BACK!!!!" call.
Well I hate to break it to you but there is no such thing as over the back in basketball. This is your Basketball 101 lesson. There is no foul for over the back, it's when your on the back that it's a foul. (This same sentence was actually used by Clark Kellogg in a game a few years ago between Valpo and Marquette when Tom Crean was still coaching there. Crean wanted an over the back and of course didn't get it. That's when Clark said that sentence. One of the only people that I have ever heard on tv actually get this right! I still have it on my TiVo if you would like to see it because I couldn't believe that someone got it right when they were announcing a game.) Let me explain. A player can physically reach over the top of someone to grab a rebound or steal the ball away from someone and it's not a foul. This is because you can not penalize someone for either being taller or out jumping the other person. In this situation you would be penalizing a persons physical abilities to out perform someone else.
Now it is a foul if there is displacement of an individual to get the rebound or steal. Basically it is a foul if the person rebounding the ball has position and the player going over the top of the rebounder pushes, hits, or climbs on the rebounders back to get to the rebound. The best way to describe it is that the player went through the back of the rebounder not over the top. Now sometimes this occurs and there is no foul that is called. This is because the rebounder was able to get the ball with no problems even though the defender was going through them to get to it. Usually this occurs if it is only slight contact, because you do not want to interupt the game for a small foul like this when there was really no advantage gained by either team. It slows down the game and saves a foul while keeping the flow. You don't want to be stopping the game every 5 seconds for a foul. Now if there is a decent amount of contact, the foul usually is called. This usually happens if the player loses the ball for a second or has to take a few steps to regain the rebound.
So just remember the next time you are yelling for "OVER THE BACK!!!", it's not a foul. You have to be on their back or going through it for it to even be a foul. Hopefully this clarifies things a bit for you. I'll probably put a few other rules on here as well eventually, but this was the one that I had the most questions about.