RULE CHANGES APPROVED FOR 2017-18 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL SEASON
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has approved five rule changes for the 2017-18 basketball season. Highlights include an official warning before a technical foul is given, an extension of the current coaching box and a change in the way officials communicate with the scorer's table.
Much like the NCAA at the collegiate level, the NFHS serves as the national governing body for high school athletics. Individual state associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, implement rule changes as directed by the NFHS. Although most NFHS directives are followed universally, some states choose to take matters into their own hands on some rules. Although the NFHS does not endorse or require a shot clock, for example, seven states have chosen to use them.
The major rule change for the 2017-18 season is with regard to misconduct during games that is not deemed a major offense (verbal abuse towards officials, etc.) Referees will now stop play and give an official warning to the head coach, and such warnings will be recorded in the scorebook.
“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 accordance with the above rule, coaches will also be warned the first time they leave the coaches box. To prevent such violations, coaching boxes will be extended from 14 to 28 feet.
“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.”
The last significant rule change, which could go unnoticed, is that officials must use fingers on both hands when communicating the number of a player who commits a foul to the scorer's table.
“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.”