Commentary

A fair idea for a foul problem

Updated: February 13, 2013, 11:40 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I have a real problem with something that is happening in college basketball.

A star player picks up two quick fouls and they immediately become an assistant coach or a cheerleader. They are on the pine, baby because of a couple of quick whistles. Lately, I have seen it happen too often.

Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming referees.

The bottom line is basketball is the only sport where you penalize a star and put him on the sidelines. Think about it, that doesn't happen in baseball or football. You can set up a game plan with a quarterback and it is not an issue. In hoops, your best player could get a questionable call or two against him and then he ends up watching from the sidelines for the rest of the half.

It can change the complexion of the game.

Personally, I think some coaches are too conservative by not playing a guy with two fouls. Years ago, a lot of coaches kept guys in longer despite foul problems.

I have a potentially controversial idea to remedy this situation. Leave it up to the coach by giving a player five fouls-plus. If a player picks up a fifth foul, give him the opportunity to stay in. If he gets a sixth foul and beyond, the opponent gets two free throws plus the ball.

That is a good penalty for the extra foul.

Fans pay to see the best players on the court and not on the bench.

Let's give these kids the opportunity to play. We have seen enough of foul trouble being an overriding factor in the game.

I know that the odds of this being adopted are slim to none. This is outside the box, but I think it would help the game I love. Offensive efficiency is hurt by good players sitting out too much.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.