Possession turnover

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We had a call the other night where the defender (player on our team) on an intended receiver of the other team made a defensive play on the disc. However, this defender dropped the disc after catching it. The other team called a 'turnover', claiming the individual had caught the disc and established possession. The individual who caught the disc contested the call, saying he did not have 'possession' of the disc (He had jumped to make the defensive play and the disc came out as he hit the ground). The other team thought that the disc should go back to the original thrower on their team, however, our team contended that possession cannot change hands on a contested call. What is the right answer?

If the defender in question lost the disc due to contact with the ground (or before contact with the ground), then the case is easily resolved; that is, the disc is considered "blocked" and not "intercepted," and the defender's team can pick up the disc.

Your case sounds like a textbook example, if everyone agrees that the defender lost possession before surviving all the related ground contact.

Relevant rules include II.F (ground contact), II.O.2 (possession) and XII.C (interceptions).

II.o.2: Loss of possession due to ground contact related to a catch negates that player’s possession up to that point.

As a result, because the defender dropped the disc as he hit the ground, it's as though he never caught it, but merely blocked it. The original defender's team should have taken possession. If you were unable to come to a decision, the appropriate resolution would have been for the disc to go back to the original thrower (ie: a do-over). Hopefully, this won't become an issue again, though.

As for your reasoning (no possession change on a contested call), that's not true.

Deuce: "The other team thought that the disc should go back to the original thrower on their
team, however, our team contended that possession cannot change hands on a contested call.
What is the right answer?"

As Gin-Boh mentioned, that rationale is not true. Possession can certainly change hands on a
contested call.

In your case however, it wouldn't be the right resolution to send it back to the previous
thrower after a contest. Both teams agree that that throw resulted in a turn-over. That play
was over and certainly wasn't affected by the later disputed action, there's no way that throw
should go back.

For the sake of dealing with the contest, let's pretend that the team understood that ground-
contact causing a drop negates all possession, but doesn't think that applies.

As you describe the scenario, the disagreement seemed to be whether the D had possession
or not after the turnover.

This isn't really any different from one team saying a player picked up a disc on the ground,
while the other said, no, they just touched it and changed their mind before picking it up. This
scenario obviously wouldn't result in the disc going back to the previous thrower.

The idea behind a contest is to 'rewind' to before the disputed action occurred. Since there's
no argument that the original throw resulted in a Turnover, there's no justification for
rewinding beyond the point where the disc was turned over.

So, even with a contest, the Defense becoming Offense will get the disc at the spot of where
the dispute arose (note, the D player doesn't have to take possession). This resolution is
essentially siding with one side of the contest, but that's not uncommon during contests.

The literal interpretation of the rule is admittedly murky here, but I don't think there's much
murkiness in the spirit of the rule. I'll add it to the list of things to bring to Mort for the next
version.

My rationale for suggesting the do-over was that the outcome of the play was uncertain (to those on the field) and that awarding possession to either team at that spot would effectively be deciding that one side was right. The only way to avoid the argument that arose regarding the interception/drop would be to go back further.

I assume that the rule you refer to as having a murky interpretation is the continuation rule as it applies to a situation where possession depends on an instantaneous event that can't be recreated? The rule concerning the actual events is pretty clear.

Could someone provide an example of when possession would change on a contested call? I can't think of one.

Gin-Boh,

Like Temple, I agree that a dispute over the outcome should not return to the original thrower. I say that because the outcome of the throwing play was clear: it was an incomplete pass.

The question that arose was over the rules of possession: did the intercepting defender lose the disc in such a way that his team still gains possession, or did he lose the disc it in such a way that his team loses possession (a second turnover).

In that respect, the scenario is nearly identical to cases where an established thrower accidentally bobbles the disc. Did he drop it? Did he throw it to himself? If a dispute arises concerning the legitimacy of his possession, control of the disc will not revert to the previous thrower -- the outcome of the previous play has already been determined.

"Could someone provide an example of when possession would change on a contested call? I can't think of one. "

Deuce,

That's a hard question to answer, just because the two aren't really related. Possession doesn't change because of an uncontested infraction call, either.

For example, on any kind of foul or violation where it is ultimately decided that the infraction did not affect the outcome of the play, it is immaterial whether the infraction was contested or not. There may or may not be a turnover, regardless of how many contested infractions were called.

"Could someone provide an example of when possession would change on a contested call? I can't think of one."

Contested stall where the throw was incomplete. Contested travel or offensive foul where the pass was incomplete.

Atanarjuat,

The reasons for which I was suggesting the resolution I did are:

- that the rules of possession were evidently not known to at least one party involved, so that applying the logic of the rules was apparently not working,
- that awarding the disc to either team at the spot of the interception/block would effectively be resolving the dispute/argument in favour of one team or the other,
- The last time there was no dispute/confusion was really while the disc was in the air. Since it's pretty hard to recreate that, put the disc back in the hands of the thrower.

I agree that a do-over by the original thrower isn't ideal (obviously, simply knowing the rules would be far better), and that this uncertainty is similar to a thrower bobbling the disc. If the players can agree to somehow restart play at the spot of the interception, then great, but if doing this is going to necessitate a protracted argument, why not return to a point where there was no argument and get the game going. Surely playing ultimate from a slightly incorrect situation is better than arguing?

"Could someone provide an example of when possession would change on a contested call? I can't think of one."

If a defender intercepts a pass and (temporarily) establishes possession, but the intended receiver calls a foul against that defender. If the defender doesn't contest the disc goes to the intended receiver, if he does contest it goes back to the thrower. Either way possession reverts to the original offense.

Alex, just to clarify, in all three of those situations the original offense would lose possession. However, the player contesting the call still loses possession.

"The last time there was no dispute/confusion was really while the disc was in the air. Since it's pretty hard to recreate that, put the disc back in the hands of the thrower."

Gin-Boh,

I accept that a dispute occurred (probably over confusion of the rules of possession). I'm just urging the players to agree that the pass was recognizably incomplete before the dispute began. That is, I think confusion begins after that interception, when one side accuses a player they believe to have had possession of losing it.

The resolution to the dispute (according to XVI.D) is "back-to-thrower," of course, as we both agree. My stance, though, is that I'd like players to agree that the defender in question is that "thrower" if they are going to accuse him of losing possession.

If that's in dispute too . . . well, it sucks when the dispute is in dispute.

Gin-Boh: "- that the rules of possession were evidently not known to at least one party
involved, so that applying the logic of the rules was apparently not working, "

The lack of rules knowledge shouldn't dictate that the play roll-back further than where both
people agree it was a turn over. Regardless of what the rules say, that makes no sense
whatsoever.

Gin-Boh: "- that awarding the disc to either team at the spot of the interception/block would
effectively be resolving the dispute/argument in favour of one team or the other"

That occurs quite frequently when there is a dispute.

--

Again, the rule is "if there is a dispute regarding the outcome of a play". Since both parties
agree that the outcome of that play is a Turn-Over, then there is no dispute about the
outcome of that play. Therefore the rule does not apply to that play, and the thrower of that
play will never receive the disc again.

That's a semantic interpretation of the rules, but it's just as easy to use common sense to
know that since everybody agrees that the thrower threw a turnover, and nothing affected
that turn-over, no possible rule will overturn that turn over.

Not only does going back to the previous play's thrower fail to pass the test of the rules, but
it fails hard on the 'sniff' test.

Each of the examples provided are not examples of the disc changing possession on a contested call. An incomplete pass where a foul is called and contested is not a change in possession as the play in question was challenged.

You've lost me, Deuce.

As I said earlier, any time an infraction is determined to have no effect on the outcome of the play, the outcome of the play stands, regardless if the infraction call is contested or not.

There are many possible examples, of which all of those above are legitimate.

If the marker calls a contested foul as the thrower throws, and a turnover results, then the turnover stands.

If a contested travel is called on a throw and a turnover results, then the turnover stands.

If there are five simultaneous contested foul calls (by either offense or defense) on the field, but the throw is nevertheless unaffected and flies wildly and uncatchably out-of-bounds, then the turnover will stand.

Maybe you're thinking of a more specific situation?

Deuce,

Are you asking for an example of a contested infraction call in which the infraction specifically affected the outcome of the play?

Yes, I'm also confused as to your question, Deuce.

When you say possession changing hands... do you mean changing hands from who had it before the throw related to the dispute?

If so... here's an example. Team 1 has disc and throws deep. Team 1 receiver and Team 2 defender tangle legs and both go down mid-field, and Team 1 receiver calls foul. Team 2 defender contests suggesting that it was Team 1 receiver that actually caused the tangle.

However, they both agree that the disc was too high and too far for either of them to catch up to it. And so, they both agree that the incompletion turnover should stand because the foul didn't affect "the play", but rather only "continued play".

It's a contested call, but the possession still changes hands to the was-defensive team.

But regardless of whether there actually IS a valid example supporting that "possession cannot change hands on a contested call", this is not explicitly stated anywhere in the rules and resultantly I don't think that this comment would easily resolve a dispute, because it's too difficult to 'know' whether or not it is the truth.

I stand corrected. Atanarjuat actually provided an example where a contested call resulted in a turnover. Mortakai's example doesn't really prove the point as the foul and subsequent contest were irrelevant - the contest was not that the disc was not catchable but that the player didn't believe that they fouled the other player.

I am just being difficult now.

I wouldn't necessarily say you're being difficult...

...unless you mean being difficult because you still haven't explained what you're asking -- because I still have no idea what your original question meant.

If you don't want to be more specific, at least let us (/me) know which of Atanarjuat's examples you think answers your question, and I can try to figure out on my own what you may have meant.