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HS basketball referees will now stop play for misconduct warnings

Beginning next season, high school basketball referees will stop games to give misconduct warnings to coaches and other personnel who are unruly.

The National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee made the change at last month’s meeting and it was announced today by the organization. According to the NFHS, referees will be required to stop play to give an official warning, which must also be recorded in the scorebook. Any offense determined to be “major” will result in a technical foul.

“Stopping play and making sure that the bench and the coach know that an official warning has been given sends a clear message to everyone in the gym and impacts the behavior of the coach, and in some cases the behavior of the opposing coach,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials and liaison to the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee. “This change in behavior creates a better atmosphere and, many times, avoids the need to administer a technical foul.”

In addition to misconduct violations related to Rule 10-5, the head coach will be officially warned for the first violation of Rule 10-6-1 regarding the coaching box.

The rule change was one of five approved by the committee. Here is information from the NFHS regarding the other changes:

The rules committee approved enlarging the coaching box from 14 feet to 28 feet. The coaching box now shall be bounded by a line drawn 28 feet from the end line toward the division line. A line drawn from the sideline toward the team bench becomes the end of the coaching box toward the end line. State associations may alter the length and placement of the 28-foot coaching box.

“The committee thought the restriction of the (14-foot) coaching box limited the level of communication between the coach and players,” Wynns said. “Allowing a coach freedom to move within the new box between the 28-foot mark and the end line provides a coach more access to his or her players.”

Changes in Rules 3-4-1d and 3-4-4 regarding uniforms were approved by the committee, including restrictions on identifying names that can be placed in the allowable area of the jersey. Identifying names on uniforms must adhere to the following: school name, school nickname, school logo, player’s name and/or abbreviation of the official school name. The panel in the shoulder area on the back of the jersey may be used for placing an identifying name as well.

The committee also approved a change in the way officials signal a foul against a player. After verbally informing the offender, the official shall use fingers on two hands to indicate to the scorer the number of the offender and the number of free throws.

“This change was made to minimize reporting errors that occur between the officials and the scorekeepers,” Wynns said. “Two-handed reporting is easier for the scorekeepers to see and comprehend, and it is less confusing.”  

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One thought on “HS basketball referees will now stop play for misconduct warnings”

  1. Referees need to have mandatory improvement sessions. On court live improvement sessions and take their hobby/craft and become MUCHbetter at what they do. Take it seriously or get out. Be more consistent on calls and please understand the game.
    No women should be allowed to ref a boys or men’s game. The game is to fast and they are not able to keep up. I have prof on film that they can’t keep up. I have plenty more to say about this but it would take a long time.

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