With the high school post-season basketball tournaments heating up, I thought it timely to pass on some basic rules interpretations so that you fans and arm-chair coaches can know just as much as the refs do.
These rules interpretations were sent as clarification this winter to all registered basketball officials in Iowa by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. The IHSAA called them "The most commonly misunderstood rules."
I thank MMC Jr. High athletic director Mark Brighton for this heads up.
*"That's a block! The defensive player was moving!"
Here's the call - Once a defensive player has obtained legal guarding position with both feet on the playing floor and facing the opponent, that player may move to keep that guarding position. If the offensive player initiates the contact with a defender in legal guarding position, even while that defender is moving, it's a foul on the offense. A defender doesn't have to be stationary to draw a foul.
*"The ball bounced over his head! That's a carry!"
Here's the call - How high the ball bounces while dribbling isn't the key factor in determining a carry violation. Where the dribbler's hand is when in contact with the ball is the key factor. If the dribbler's hand is on top of, or on the side of the ball, the dribble is legal regardless of the height of the ball or the number of steps the dribbler takes between bounces. If the hand rests underneath the ball, it's a violation.
*"There's got to be room to come down!"
Here's the call - An airborne player who catches the ball does not always have to have room to land. The key is determining who is at fault when the offensive player left the ground and when the defender obtained legal guarding position. If the defender obtained legal guarding position after the offensive player went airborne, it's a foul on the defender. If the defender obtained legal guarding position before the offensive player went airborne, the onus for getting out of the way is on the offensive player. The cry, 'You've got to give the player a step!' only applies to a defensive player who jumps in front of an opponent without the ball.
*"You can't pass it to yourself. That's traveling!"
Here's the call - Following a try for a goal, neither team is in control. An airball, which is determined by the official to be a legitimate try for a goal, may be rebounded or caught by any player, including the shooter.
*"They're reaching in!"
Here's the call - Reaching in is not a foul. There must be contact for a foul.
*"Call the foul! He's over the back!"
Here's the call - Over the back is not part of the terminology used in classifying fouls. A player who snares a rebound either caused contact and put the other player at a disadvantage (a foul) or the play was a no-call. Contact is needed for a foul, even though a player might have reached over the back.
*"The ball hit the player's foot! That's a kick!"
Here's the call - A kicking violation can only be called if it's done intentionally with any part of the leg or foot.
*"The ball hit the top of the backboard! That's out-of-bounds!"
Here's the call - The ball is only out-of-bounds when it touches the supports, the back of the backboard, or goes over top of the backboard. This is for rectangle boards only. The front, sides, bottom and top of the backboard are all areas where the ball is still in play.
*"He hit the dribbler's hand! That's a foul!"
Here's the call - Contact with the dribbler's hand doesn't automatically mean a foul. If a player hits the dribbler's hand while the dribbler's hand is on the ball and that player was making an attempt to play the ball, it's not a foul.
*"You can't slide on the floor with the ball!"
Here's the call - The key is momentum. If a player dives for a loose ball, gets control of it and his momentum causes the slide with the ball, there is no violation. Once the sliding player has stopped, he may sit up, but he cannot roll over or attempt to get up off the floor while holding the ball.
*"The ref made the call that cost us the game!"
Here's the call - Officials do not make calls that decide outcomes of games. Players commit fouls or 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.
There. Now get out there, support your favorite team and make that call!