Rules Changes for Previous Years
WCAC & IAC Rules for
Shot Clock, 10-second Backcourt Counts and 5-second Closely Guarded
(Updated for the 2017-18 Season)
Written by Michael V. Statham, Rules Interpreter - IAABO Board 12
Insight is defined as "the ability to see clearly and intuitively into the nature of a complex situation,” The goal of the articles in this section are to provide Insight into various rules and game situations.
There is NO Backcourt During a Throw-in... But Why?
One of the many adages that have carried me through my years as an official was first verbalized during my own Applicant Class – THERE IS NO BACKCOURT DURING A THROW-IN. Now as a Rules Interpreter I have been asked to explain why the rules pertaining to backcourt violations do not apply to the throw-in, or better still, how they apply in various situations – in this case an airborne recipient of a throw-in in the frontcourt. In order to apply the adage requires an understanding of the particulars of the Rules pertaining to Team Control, Ball Location, Backcourt and Throw-In.
Let’s start with RULE 4 SECTION 12 CONTROL, PLAYER AND TEAM which states at:
Art. 2 … A team is in control of the ball:
a. When a player of the team is in control.
b. When a live ball is being passed among teammates.
c. During an interrupted dribble.
d. When a player of the team has disposal of the ball for a throw-in.
The recent implementation of part (d) eliminated the anomaly of shooting free throws on a foul committed by the offensive team. But doesn’t it still leave open the validity of the adage in the situation where A-1, during a throw-in from A’s frontcourt or backcourt, passes the ball to A-2 who leaves the floor from the frontcourt, catches the ball in the air and lands in the backcourt? In fact, RULE 4 SECTION 4 BALL LOCATION, AT DISPOSAL states at:
Art. 1 … A ball which is in contact with a player or with the court is in the backcourt if either the ball or the player (either player if the ball is touching more than one) is touching the backcourt.
Art. 2 … A ball which is in contact with a player or with the court is in the frontcourt if neither the ball nor the player is touching the backcourt.
Art. 3 … A ball which is in flight retains the same location as when it was last in contact with a player or the court…
If you stop the analysis there, then the adage is a fraud – Team A had team control during the throw-in and A-2 caused the ball to have frontcourt status when he caught it in the air after jumping from his team’s frontcourt. So when A-2 lands in the backcourt and the official does not blow his whistle to indicate a backcourt violation but instead initiates a new 10 second backcourt count, is the official correct? Fortunately YES!
What the official was aware of is the exception to the backcourt violation rule found in RULE 9 SECTION 9 BACKCOURT:
ART. 1 … A player shall not be the first to touch the ball after it has been in team control in the frontcourt or if he/she or a teammate last touched or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went to the backcourt.
ART. 2 … While in player and team control in its backcourt, a player shall not cause the ball to go from backcourt to frontcourt and return to backcourt, without the ball touching a player in the frontcourt, such that he/she or a teammate is the first to touch it in the backcourt.
ART. 3 … During a jump ball, throw-in or while on defense, a player may legally jump from his/her frontcourt, secure control of the ball with both feet off the floor and return to the floor with one or both feet in the backcourt. The player may make a normal landing and it makes no difference whether the first foot down is in the frontcourt or backcourt.
So in this situation the adage survives. But let’s add one addition to the scenario – what if the throw-in was legally tipped by an intervening player from either Team A or Team B and A-2 then controls it in the air after leaving the floor in the frontcourt before landing in the backcourt. Same ruling? NO!
The throw-in protection afforded A-2 in the first situation ENDS in the second situation since according to RULE 4 SECTION 42 THROW-IN, THROWER, DESIGNATED SPOT ART. 5… The throw-in ends when: a. The passed ball touches or is legally touched by another player inbounds… As such, when the airborne A-2 caught the ball in the second scenario, he was not catching a throw-in but a tipped ball, establishing player and team control and giving the ball frontcourt status before landing in any part of or in any way in the backcourt – a VIOLATION. If A-2 fumbles the ball and continues to fumble the ball upon landing or otherwise fails to establish control prior to landing then no backcourt violation would occur.
So as the old adage goes, “THERE IS NO BACKCOURT DURING A THROW-IN” is still the case in this situation.
10-Second Backcourt Count With 35-Second Shot-Clock
The National Federation Of High Schools (NFHS) rules do not include procedures regarding the use of a shot-clock in competitive high school basketball. Private and public schools that elect to include a shot-clock in their games are free to institute any set of rules most likely to positively impact the game or remedy a perceived problem. In most instances, schools have chosen the men’s or women’s NCAA model when introducing the shot-clock as a requirement.
Since the inception of the shot-clock into WCAC and IAC boy’s basketball games, the NCAA model has been the basis for rules regarding the 35 second shot-clock period. The Athletic Directors and Head Coaches of the WCAC and IAC have decided to adopt and implement immediately a recent change to those rules regarding the use of the shot-clock.
Specifically, on a throw-in following a made basket or foul requiring a resetting of the shot-clock, the 35 second period starts once the ball is legally touched by any player in the backcourt. Prior to this year, the 10-second backcourt count began when a player gained control of the ball in the backcourt. As a result of the rule change, the 10-second backcourt count will now also begin when the ball is legally touched by any player in the backcourt.
As a result of this change, matching the start of the 10-second backcourt count to the start of the 35 second shot-clock period. Officials will now use the shot-clock to administer the 10-second backcourt count without a visible count and rely upon it as the determiner of a 10-second backcourt violation. The only exception to this new rule is when there is no visible shot clock (less than 35 seconds) at the end of a period, which would then require a visible 10-second count by the official.
To practically apply this change, officials administering a throw-in following a made basket or foul requiring a resetting of the shot-clock, will have to confirm the start of the shot clock as usual and periodically check the shot clock as it approaches 25 seconds. If there is an interruption of play as the ball is advanced in the backcourt due to a time out, a violation or out-of-bounds situation caused by the defense, the 10 seconds will be measured from the remaining time on the shot-clock.
These same rules will apply after control is obtained by the defensive team after a missed try, tap or free throw, or by either team after a jump ball. To assist the administering trail official in the monitoring of the 10-second backcourt count, both the Center and new Lead official will now be allowed to make the 10-second backcourt violation call.
Obviously, this change makes it imperative that there is competent shot-clock operation on the administrative side, and heightened shot-clock awareness on the officiating side. We believe both can be achieved this season which would allow the WCAC to remain current on rule changes impacting their game.
CREW OF TWO – TABLE SIDE MECHANICS
As a result of the mandate by the Office of the State Interpreter, tableside mechanics will be introduced to Board 12 officiating standards as prescribed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). This change in reporting shooting fouls will result in the calling official remaining at the table.
Specifically, Part 2.4.2 (E) of the 2013-15 NFHS Basketball Officials Manual states in part:
1. Officials should switch positions on all non-shooting fouls.
2. For shooting fouls, the calling official reports the foul to table, then remains table side at Trail. The calling official has the option of going to Lead (opposite table) to avoid a confrontational situation with coach/bench, i.e. after a technical foul or disqualifying foul. The practice should be rarely used and should be discussed thoroughly in the pregame conference.
It should be noted that “shooting fouls” include fouls resulting in bonus free throws, as well as those in the act of shooting. As discussed at the November 6, 2013 meeting, this change is effective immediately in all Board 12 scrimmages and games (including Crews of Three) and will likely impact the opportunity to communicate with head coaches. Both the Crew of Three mechanics and coach communications will be discussed in subsequent Rules Interpretations. In the interim, coaches have been advised of this change and encouraged to ask “questions” which in turn will result in “answers”.
This mechanics change, while relatively minor, still presents a challenge to our ability to officiate at a high level by increasing interaction with coaches. Rules knowledge, crisp signs and accurate playcalling combined should insure our success.
For those interested, I highly recommend the NFHS Officials Manual as a resource. It addresses such topics as Basketball Officiating Philosophy, Personal Characteristics and Game Management/Awareness. It is available at the NFHS website (www.nfhs.org) or can be purchased (as I did) from MPSSAA for around $8.00. There is no discount for bulk sales through NFHS but members of NFHS should have the opportunity to view it online. I am waiting for a response from NFHS as to membership and hopefully will have an answer at the November 13, 2013 meeting.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Michael V. Statham