Hi Rules Gurus,
There have been a number of situations occurring recently regarding bidding from a players blind-side.
This situation seems to come up quite frequently and can be quite dangerous. It's usually a huck down the line and a poacher comes across from the far side to D the disc and cuts the receiver off, either stepping right in front to box-out the play, or jumping very close, perhaps contacting the receiver on the way to grabbing the disc. Often the receiver is running with their head turned.
The relevant rule is XVI.3.C (shown at the end of this email).
1. A player cannot move solely to impede another player - this seems clear. You must be attempting some kind of play on the disc.
2. A player cannot take an unavoidable position, considering time, distance and line of sight.
2 requires some consideration. There are some obvious foul scenarios - ie jumping in front of a player when they already have that space, or have left the ground to land in that space, or have enough momentum into that space that they could not possibly avoid it - taking the unavoidable position is a foul.
HOWEVER, some cases will require judgment. The receiver has a responsibility to be aware of the space they are moving into as much as the defender. You must decide: is the contact unavoidable because they changed direction into your space, or is it unavoidable because you were looking somewhere other than where you were running for too long.
Usually, the rule favors a player that leaves the ground first, since the late jumping player will have ground contact(s) to avoid the contact and the player already in the air can't change direction or speed.
The situation is dangerous because players don't know where each other are and are moving at speed. The receiver is entitled to look back to read the disc, but it isn't reasonable for them to run around while looking behind them all the time, expecting others to get out of their way.
" time, distance, and line of sight"
- If you come out of nowhere, jumping in front of your opponent on the way to the disc and there is no way for them to avoid contact, you are committing a foul by taking unavoidable space.
- If you take a position in front of them and run at or close to their pace, still tracking the disc (boxing out), they should have enough time to see you and avoid contact. No foul.
These are not rules, rather advice for avoiding contact.
- Receiver, you would be well advised to take regular glances to 'know the field' as you're running. FYI- It's a good practice and will make you a better player.
- Defender, if you are attacking the disc, you would be well advised to announce yourself if you are making a play - 'ALAANS DISC!' for example - so that the player is at least aware you are there and can avoid contact. And be aware of whom you are bidding against. If you consider yourself to have a significant physical advantage over the other player, burden yourself with more effort towards avoiding contact.
- If you are moving towards each other at speed and can't make the other player aware in time, pull out of the bid unless you KNOW you can avoid contact. You may lose the disc, but it's not worth anyone getting hurt.
When the disc is in the air a player may not move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc
Solely. The intent of the player’s movement can be partly motivated to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc, so long as it is part of a general effort to make a play on the disc. Note, if a trailing player runs into a player in front of him, it is nearly always a foul on the trailing player.
and any resulting non-incidental contact is a foul on the blocking player which is treated like a receiving foul (XVI.H.3.b).
A player may not take a position
If you are already in a position, you maintaining that position is not "taking a position."
that is unavoidable by a moving opponent when time, distance, and line of sight are considered. Non-incidental contact resulting from taking such a position is a foul on the blocking player.