What Is a Player Control Foul?

A player control foul, also referred to as a “charge,” occurs when the offensive player initiates major contact with the defensive player once the defender has established legal guarding position. As a result of the foul, the offensive team loses possession and the offending player is charged with a personal foul. No free throws are awarded to the defensive team, even if they are already in the bonus.

The rules state that a defensive player is in legal guarding position if he has both feet planted down and is facing the offensive player. However, it is possible for the defensive player to be moving and still draw the player control foul. For example, if the defensive player is moving laterally or even backward before the offensive player is airborne and takes contact to the chest or torso, the defensive player is often given the benefit of the doubt. However, contact between the legs, shoulders and arms usually indicates the offensive player has gotten past the defender, putting the burden back on the defense. Additionally, if the defensive player jumps straight up prior to the offensive player leaving the floor and contact ensues, this is a player control foul by rule, though it is not uncommon for officiating crews to side mistakenly with the offensive player, by way of a “no-call” or issuing a blocking foul.