Face protection is defined almost exactly as it sounds. It happens when a defender intentionally obstructs the line of sight of the player they are defending but does not make contact with them.
Morelli is wrong about at least one thing: Face-guarding (i.e. a defender looking at the player he is covering instead of looking at the ball) is not illegal at the NCAA level. Rather, college football has the same penalty threshold as the pros – face shields are legal as long as there is no contact.
Face protection occurs when a defender blocks or interferes with the offensive player’s view, whether or not that player has the basketball. If you put your hand in front of the eyes of a player who is shooting instead of defending the ball, you are guilty of face protection.
The answer is yes, it is illegal to put your hands in front of a player’s face with or without the ball and can be scored a T. However, common sense must prevail when a player is attempting to block a shot or just defend and his or her hand goes past the defender’s eyes. We can’t overstate that.
Bill LeMonnier, Editor of USA Soccer Rules, is a former college referee who currently serves as the ESPN-NCAA Rules Analyst.
The NBA rule book states: “Eye guarding (placing a hand in front of an opponent’s eyes while guarding from behind) of a player who is not in possession of the ball is illegal and an unsportsmanlike one Technique is to be evaluated.” The rulebook makes no mention of blocking the view of a…
(intransitive, basketball) committing a foul by pushing against an opponent to both accelerate faster and push the opponent in the opposite direction.
In most cases, teams try to protect them: when a player is specifically assigned to an attack to limit their space and ball options.
If a player jams a leg or knee into an opponent’s buttocks, it is a foul. It is a foul for a player to dislodge an opponent from an established position by pushing or “putting in”.