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|Explanation of Selected Rules
Loose Ball Recovery
If a player dives for a loose ball, gets control of it and her momentum causes the player to slide with the ball, there is no violation. It does not matter how much distance the slide covered. Once the sliding player has stopped, the player may sit up, but the player cannot roll over or attempt to rise from the floor while holding the ball.
2016-17 Rule Revisions
Protecting the Free Thrower: Players occupying marked free-throw lane line spaces may not enter the free-throw semicircle until the ball touches the ring or until the free throw ends. (NEW: Rule 9-1-3)
2014-15 Rule Revisions
For the 2014-15 season, players in marked lane spaces will be able to move into the freethrow lane when the ball is released by the free-throw shooter. However, the free thrower and players not in marked lane spaces must wait until the ball touches the ring or backboard before moving. Previously, players on the freethrow lane could not release until the ball touched the ring or backboard or until the free throw ended. (Rule 9-1-4)
In an effort to eliminate excessive contact on ball-handlers and dribblers outside of the lane area, Article 12 was added to Rule 10-6 related to player contact. As a result, the following acts will constitute a foul when committed against a ball-handler/dribbler: 1) placing two hands on the player, 2) placing an extended arm bar on the player, 3) placing and keeping a hand on the player and 4) contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.
The definition of an intentional foul in Rule 4-19-3d now states that an intentional foul is "excessive contact with an opponent while the ball is live or until an airborne shooter returns to the floor." This revision is to address the issue of contact with the elbow and should reduce the subjectivity in making rulings on intentional fouls, and recognizes an interntional foul call should be made against any player, not only on the person playing the ball.
Rule 3-5-3 was expanded to permit players to wear arm and/or leg sleeves, including tights, provided they meet the color and logo restrictions in Rule 3-5-3.
7 Basketball Rules Myths
There are certain calls made in a basketball game that are accepted as reality, when it fact they aren't at all.
The truth is, some of the most common truths about the rules of basketball actually aren't true at all.
Need proof? No problem. Here are seven myths about basketball rules, and the actual truth behind all of them. They'll make you think twice about what you thought you knew.
1. A defensive player must be stationary to take a charge.
Reality: Once a defensive player has obtained a legal guarding position, the defensive player may always move to maintain that guarding position and may even have one or both feet off the floor when contact occurs with the offensive player. Legal guarding position occurs when the defensive player has both feet on the floor and is facing the opponent. This applies to a defensive player who is defending the dribble.
2. A dribble that bounces above the dribbler's head is an illegal dribble violation.
Reality: There is no restriction as to how high a player may bounce the ball, provided the ball does not come to rest in the player's hand.
3. "Reaching in" is a foul.
Reality: Reaching in is not a foul. The term is nowhere to be found in any rulebook. Why? There must be contact to have a foul. The mere act of "reaching in," by itself, is nothing. If contact does occur, it is either a holding foul or a pushing foul.
4. "Over the back" is a foul.
Reality: Similar to the reaching in myth, there must be contact to have a foul. Coaches holler for over the back fouls when their shorter player has seemingly better inside rebounding position and the ball is snared by a taller opponent from behind. Penalize illegal contact; don't penalize a player for being tall.
5. If it looks funny, it must be traveling.
Reality: The traveling rule is one of the most misunderstood in basketball. One of the basic tenets is that a player cannot travel unless that player is holding a live ball. A bobble or fumble is not "control" of the ball, therefore, it cannot be a traveling violation. If you immediately identify the pivot foot when a player receives the ball, you're well on your way to judging traveling correctly.
6. After a player has ended a dribble and fumbled the ball, that player may not recover it without violating.
Reality: A dribble ends when the dribbler catches the ball with one or both hands or simultaneously touches the ball with both hands. A fumble is the accidental loss of player control when the ball unintentionally drops or slips from a player's grasp. It is always legal to recover a fumble. The rules do not penalize clumsiness.
7. Referees should not make calls that decide the outcome of a game.
Reality: Officials do not make calls that decide the outcomes of games. Players commit fouls and violations; officials view those infractions, judge the action and then apply the rules of the game to what they have viewed. The rules then determine the penalty. The officials do not decide the outcome of the game; the players do. If the rule results in the imposition of a penalty that determines the outcome of the game, such is life. Ask yourself this: If you would have called it in the second quarter, why not call it at the end of the game? You are a credit to the game when you are consistent from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
2008-09 Rule Revisions
Rule revisions for 2008-09 are minor, but one rule change will be noticeable to those watching the game. All players will move up one lane space during a free-throw attempt. The two marked lane spaces closest to the basket will remain vacant. This change is intended to reduce the rough play in free throw situations and may provide the defense a rebounding advantage. (Rule 8-1-4)
One of the most miscalled violations is the kicked ball. Rule 4-29 states that "kicking the ball is intentionally striking it with any part of the leg or foot." (emphasis added) The key words in this rule is "intentionally striking." If the ball accidentally strikes the foot or leg of a player, and the player made no move to strike the ball, this is not a violation.
Back Court/Front Court
Once the basketball is inbounded into the back court, nornally a team has only 10 seconds to get the ball into the front court. However, in California, for girls basketball, there is no 10-second time limit to advance the ball to the front court.
In order for the ball to be in the front court, three items must be out of the backcourt, i.e. the left foot and right foot of the player with the ball and the basketball. Therefore if the player is straddling the division line and pivots into the back court, that is okay. If player straddles the division line and passes to the back court, that is also okay. If the player straddles the division line and pivots into the front and then places a foot into the back court, that is a back court violation.
If team control is established in the front court and the basketball goes into the back court, that is a violation and the basketball is awarded to the opposing team.
If the basketball is inbounded in the front court, the basketball can be thrown into the backcourt without violation.
If a player in the front court inbounds the ball to a team mate in the front court and the ball goes off her hand and into the backcourt, she (or any of her team mates) may go and get the ball without penalty.
Same play as above, except she throws to a team mate who jumps from the front court, catches the ball in the air and lands in the back court, that is a violation.
If a defensive player jumps from her team's front court and intercepts a pass from the offense and lands in the back court, this is okay.
Three-Second Free Throw Lane Rule
Many times those watching a basketball game get upset when the referees don't call a three second free-throw lane violation. The lack of a call isn't necessarily because the referees missed something, but because of a misunderstanding of the rule by the audience.
The three-second rule is in the National Federations of State High School Association's Basketball Rules Book. In part, Rule 9-3-7 states:
"A player shall not remain for three seconds in ... his/her free-throw lane ... while the ball is in control of his/her team in his/her frontcourt. Allowance shall be made for a player who, having been in the restricted area for less than three seconds, dribbles in or move to try for goal." (emphasis added)
Note that the three second rule applies only "while the ball is in control" of the team on offense.
Rule 4-12-3a provides that "... team control continues until the ball is in flight after a try or tap for a goal."
This means that the three second count stops when the ball is shot. The three second count starts over when control of the ball is regained, i.e., when the ball is rebounded. If there are multiple shots and rebounds by the team on offense, the three-second count stops each time the ball is shot. In this situation, players can remain in the free-throw lane for several seconds without causing a three second violation.
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Last Updated: October 19, 2022