Basketball Rules Expert YouTube Show takes the rules off the printed page and breathes life into them so that officials can have them on the court where it’s most important.
Twice weekly episodes focused on NFHS National Federation of High Schools Basketball Rules.
Hello and welcome to the show basketball rules expert where we explore the ins and outs of high school basketball rules. Our discussions lift the rules off of the printed page through your ears and firmly into your brain so that you too can become a basketball rules expert.
Our goal here is to give you rules discussion and instruction in an audio/visual format to bring the rules off of the printed page and breathe life into them so that you could take them with you onto the court with the confidence that you can adjudicate any situation that arises on the court correctly by rule.
Today we’re going to get started with an exploration of backcourt rules in high school basketball. Backcourt Violations and backcourt rules are misunderstood by a great number of officials, players, coaches, and other stakeholders in the game. The rules are inconsistently applied at the high school level, and it’s just a straight up fact of life. Part of the inconsistency that occurs with the National Federation of High School Basketball Rules, is the existence of other levels of play. Backcourt rules at the NCAA level, and the NBA level are different than at the high school level, who watches NCAA level and NBA level. Officials, players, coaches, and other stakeholders in the game. they receive a level of training about what’s legal and what’s not legal from other rulesets that do not apply.
Here’s the great news. The rules of high school basketball are simple and straightforward. Let’s understand though that in adjudicating backcourt plays, there’s challenges. It happens over a period of time. The development of all the factors that go into making a determination about whether it’s a violation occur over a period of time, when somebody steps out of bounds. That’s an easy call. But when somebody steps on the division line, there are other factors that we have use to determine about Team Control, frontcourt status, etc. that cause us to have more processing time as basketball officials. just recognize that going in, but also recognize that the rule set itself is very straightforward. And that’s what we’re gonna do today we’re going to cover the rules that govern Backcourt Violations in National Federation of High School Rules.
Let’s take a very hard look at Rule 9-9 Backcourt. There’s three sections in the rule and they cover the Backcourt Violation. This is straightforward.
Article One, and this is by far the most important. Article One, a player must not be the first to touch the ball, after it has been in Team Control in the frontcourt if he or she, or a teammate last touched, or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went into the backcourt. That is not language that’s easily processed, we’re going to break it down. we’re going to create a formula that basically reflects that in a much simpler format.
But before we do that, let’s look at article two. Article two is a very rare occurrence. while in Player and Team Control in the backcourt, a player must not cause the ball to go from the backcourt to the frontcourt and returned to the backcourt without the ball touching a player in the frontcourt, such that he or she, or a teammate is first to touch in the backcourt.
You might remember in our lightning round episode that we just concluded, we had a play where from the backcourt, a team, pass the ball to the frontcourt hit an official who was standing in the frontcourt, the ball bounces into the backcourt and is touched by that same team. That is what this refers to, causing the ball to go from that court to frontcourt to backcourt without touching a player, being the last to touch in the backcourt, and the first touch when the ball comes back into the backcourt.
Easy to imagine a player, standing with the ball at the division line throws the ball forward with a spin on it and it bounces back to them, they catch it. That’s a violation under this clause, or throw-in a pass you’re near the division line maybe you throw a cost score bounce pass with English, that contacts the frontcourt and bounces to your teammate who’s still, you know the division line in the backcourt something strange and unusual. How often is this kind of going to play going to come up super rarely, it’s not a common scenario.
Article three because that’s critical to our understanding of the rule. During a jump ball. Throw in or while on defense, a player may legally jump from his or her frontcourt secure control of the ball with both feet off of the floor and returned 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 the backcourt. This is commonly known as the exception. It applies during a jump ball. When a player is making a defensive play. during a throwing, it’s super important to understand this exception exists, and it will come into play.
Now let’s take a look at the simple formula that reflects Article One of the rule. Simply put, there are three elements that are required for a Backcourt Violation in National Federation of High School Rules. We must have Team Control on the court. And let’s remember the National Federation of High School Rules, gave Team Control during a throw in. But it’s only for the administration of bowels it has no bearing on Backcourt Violations or three second violations or anything like that. It’s an artificial Team Control. But that Team Control exists during a throw in, but to have a Backcourt Violation. We have to have Team Control on the court. How is Team Control established in high school basketball?
Team Control is established by a player holding or dribbling the ball that’s in my pocket and taking with me on the court that I know, holding or dribbling the ball player control that establishes Team Control on the court. we must have Team Control on the court. That is the first part of the formula. The second part is that the offending team must be the last to touch in the frontcourt to know that we need to know, frontcourt status, we need to be aware of status. And thirdly, the team that the defending team needs to be the first to touch in the backcourt. there we have Team Control on the court. Last to touch in the frontcourt. First, to touch in the backcourt. It’s as simple as that. If those three conditions are met. We have a Backcourt Violation. If any of those conditions is not met, we do not have a Backcourt Violation. And we have a legal play by rule, or I let’s look at question,
A1 is dribbling in the frontcourt. The one reaches, and deflects the ball which hits off a one’s knee and caroms into the backcourt. A1 runs into the backcourt and is the first to touch the ball. The officials give the approved nfhs tip signal and roll this a legal play where the officials Correct, yes or no. Let’s review Team Control how it’s established, how it ends and some other factors about it. We have to know and understand fully player control Team Control to officiate the game of high school basketball Rule 4 Section 12 Control Player and Team. Let’s remember article 2 A team is in control of the ball when
A a player of the team is in control. That would be holding or dribbling the basketball.
D when a player of the team has disposal the ball for throwing, and we understand that this is only for the administration of fouls. If there is a foul by the throw-in team during a throw in or its aftermath. There is a Team Control foul we will not shoot free throws the ball will be awarded to the offended team for a throw-in nearest the spot of the foul article 3 :
A Team Control continues until the ball is in flight during a try or tap for goal,
B, an opponent secures control
C, the ball becomes dead. Those are the only three ways that Team Control can end.
Let’s take a look at very important article. Article 4, which is also part of the one of the 20 Rules fundamentals of National Federation of High School basketball rules.
While the ball remains live, a loose ball always remains in control of the team whose player last had control.
Try per tab for goal.. This makes sense, because we know when Team Control ends, and if the ball is loose that doesn’t mean Team Control as and that’s a very important understanding, because in other rules sets.. That is not necessarily the case collegiate officiating on the men’s side, NBA, when the ball becomes loose, things change rules wise.. we just have to be aware of that fact that those other rule sets exist, and they’re going to affect the energy that comes at us in a basketball game from people who don’t know or understand the High School Rules. In our play players dribbling the basketball in the frontcourt. Do we have Team Control on the court? Yes. Yes we do.
The ball is deflected by the defense and caroms off the offensive players leg. And they were the last touch the ball in the frontcourt ball goes into the backcourt, they go and retrieve the basketball and they are the first to touch in the backcourt Team Control on the court. Last to touch in the frontcourt first to touch in the Backcourt Violation by rule. Okay. Team Control on the court. That’s the key part of this equation. The Team Control and. No, the defensive touch did not end Team Control. This is a violation by rule, invariably coaches can be on the sideline going. They tipped the ball. They took the ball. It’s not a factor in the play. in this case were the officials correct? No, no, they were not
A1 attempts to try for A 3-point goal. The ball hits the backboard, and is batted backwards by A2. While still in Team A’s frontcourt, A3 touches the ball with both hands, but muffs the ball, which then bounces into Team A’s backcourt. A3 then grabs the ball.
The officials rule that this is a legal play.
Were the officials Correct? yes or no.
We have a team with the ball and Team Control in the frontcourt. A player releases a try for A 3 point goal. The ball misses the ring and hits the backboard. One of the teammates of the player who attempted to try. Bats the ball towards the backcourt, their teammates stationed near the backcourt says “I got it, I got it,” but muffs the ball goes caroms into the backcourt, and they retreated.
let’s just break down what has happened on this play. We have Team Control in the frontcourt, we have Team Control on the court. That’s number one. But then there’s a try for goal. When does Team Control and one of the elements, it ends on a try for goal. now there is no longer Team Control. we need to determine how do we regain Team Control the ball is batted by the player, attempting to rebound is a bat Team Control is the bat control of the basketball is control of the basketball holding or dribbling the ball that player has not established in control.
The player who attempted to catch the ball. It contacted them, but they never had control of the ball by rule, and went into the backcourt, and they retrieved the basketball. That is a legal play by rule. The reason is what’s missing Team Control on the court, we had last attempt we had last attach in the frontcourt and first to touch in the backcourt, but Team Control, no no no no. that’s missing. It’s a legal play by a rule. in this instance where the officials Correct, yes. Yes, they were.
While making a throw in there the 28 foot mark in teammates frontcourt. A1 passes the ball to A2 in the frontcourt near the division line. A to muffs the ball and the ball bounces directly into the backcourt, where A2 on runs back and retrieves the basketball. The officials rule this to be a Backcourt Violation on Team A. Were the officials Correct? yes or no.
When National Federation of High School, added the clause in the rule where Team Control exists on throw-in it created a lot of problems with officials on these kinds of planes. They know well they were last to touch in the frontcourt, first to touch in the backcourt and they had Team Control right? That makes sense. But in order for a violation to occur, we have to have Team Control on the court. A player on the court must establish player control. In this instance, we make a pass the player never had control then muffed it. It went into the backcourt and then they retrieve it. That is a legal play by rule. Maybe the defense deflects the ball goes off the players leg and goes into the off of the teammate of the thrower bounces off their legs are the last to touch and into the backcourt. In all these cases we do not yet have team control on the court. As a result, we do not have a violation. This is a legal play.
Before we leave this play. Let’s also note. We will be exposed to a number of rules questions on tests and quizzes, etc. And oftentimes they’re prefaced with the location of the throw-in spot. throw-in near the division line, throw-in a 28 foot line, throw-in on the end line under their basket, etc. Understand this, it doesn’t matter where the throw-in is, all locations are the same, by rule. They are off the court. Anywhere off the court for the throw-in the rules are the same location of the throw-in has no bearing on the play.
On this play, the officials ruled a Backcourt Violation. Were the officials correct? No, no, they were not
A1 releases a throw-in pass. A2 jumps from Team A’s frontcourt and catches the ball while in the air, then lands first with a foot in the frontcourt, and then with a foot in the backcourt. The officials rule a Backcourt Violation on Team A.
Were the officials Correct, yes or no.
If we think back to rule nine dash nine dash three which we covered at the beginning of the video. There’s an exception, that’s built into the rule and that is evidence in this play through thrower releases the throw-in pass teammate jumps front with frontcourt status catches the ball lands in the backcourt, having one foot in the backcourt here is backcourt status that player has landed in the back corner. One foot lands first, the second foot lands in the backcourt. But remember the exception says that player may jump in the air, catch the ball and make a normal landing. If it matters not which foot lands first foot lands in the backcourt, then the frontcourt. First the frontcourt then the backcourt or both simultaneously, if it’s a normal landing. It’s a legal play. This is the exception to the rule.
During a throw-in jump ball, or when making a play on defense. A defensive play. There was an exception that allows this player to make this play. A Backcourt Violation was ruled. In this case were the officials correct? No, no, they were not
A1 is dribbling in the backcourt as A1 nears the division line. They first bounce the ball in the frontcourt, then step into the frontcourt with their right foot. Then A1 backs out, and continues to dribble in the backcourt. The officials rule, a Backcourt Violation on Team A were the officials Correct, yes or no. Dribbler dribbling in the backcourt approach approaches the division line. They’re close to the division line, they bounce the ball in the frontcourt, one of their feet contacts the frontcourt. At that point, they retreat into the backcourt. To understand player location we have to look at rule four dash four rule four the most important rule in the rules book for new officials rule four dash four section. Six. During a dribble from backcourt to frontcourt, the ball is in the frontcourt. When the ball and both feet of the dribbler touch the court entirely in the frontcourt, clearly defined by rule.
You will see people refer to this clause, a lot misunderstanding it. This only applies to a dribbler in the backcourt, establishing frontcourt status. It has no effect when we throw the ball to a player in the frontcourt and they fumbled the ball and it goes in the backcourt or something like that. Well, they didn’t have three points. That is not a factor, it only applies when dribbling the ball from the backcourt to the frontcourt in order to establish frontcourt status for the ball, and the player. All three points have to contact the frontcourt, super important to understand one to contact, they retreat, and they come back and again one to contact, and they retreat legal legal by rule, we may have a 10 second count that’s putting pressure on them to do something going forward. But the act of not coming into the frontcourt fully is a legal play. on this play, where the player did not establish three points were the officials correct? No, no, they were not.
A1 is making a throw and along the sideline in Team A’s backcourt A1 makes the throw in towards A2 , who is standing in Team A’s frontcourt B one deflects the throw-in pass after it’s released A2 jumps from Team A’s frontcourt catches the pass in the air and lands in the backcourt. B officials rule this to be a legal play with the officials Correct, yes or no. That sounds familiar, a player jumping from the frontcourt to the backcourt they can catch the ball by rule right let’s remember that the rule applies. During the jump ball. When a defensive player makes a play. And during a throwing. Okay, well this was during a throw-in let’s remember that the throw-in has a start and a throw and has an end. And when does the throw in. And in high school basketball. throw-in ends when it is legally touched by any player in balance. the deflection by the defensive player removes the exception.
Now, that player is not allowed that exception. when they catch the basketball, they jump from the frontcourt and catch the basketball. They have frontcourt status, the ball has frontcourt status, they land in the backcourt. They have backcourt status, the ball has backcourt status. When the player caught the ball we had player control we had Team Control on the court with frontcourt status. They were the last to touch in the frontcourt to their status of catching the ball while leaving the frontcourt and catching it in the air, and they were the first to touch the ball in the backcourt, when they land. This is a violation by rule, were the officials correct on this play. Nope. No, they weren’t.
Thanks everybody for joining us today on basketball expert. If you find value in a show like this. The first thing to do for everybody is to hit like that helps us with the YouTube algorithm gets our videos out to more people. It’s super helpful. Like the video if you found value. If you’re new to the channel. First order of business, hit subscribe, and the notify bell so you don’t miss out on any of our content, and then most importantly share the video with other basketball officials who can find value, Thanks to our show supporters Jeff Harris, Brian Norfleet Dave Hedge Thomas Anticola. Much appreciated and much love. If you want to support the show, you can always buy us a coffee, there’s a link above in the show notes below. As always, we’ve created a quiz it’s back at the website abetterofficial.com, there’s a link above, and a link in the show notes below. As always we have additional video content for you here. I’ve put a link to the lightning round from last episode, that has that backcourt play where the balls bounced off the official check that out, or check this video out as well. Make your choice. Choose wisely. And we’ll see you in the next video. Take care.
Today we’re going to get started with our Lightning Round Episode. Quick questions quick answers. Not a deep dive into the rules, just an emphasis on the things that we need to know.
While A1 is attempting a three-point try they are fouled by B1. The officials rule an intentional foul on B1. The try is successful. The officials award one free throw to A1 and the ball to team A for a throw-in. Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
Simple question. An Intentional Foul in National Federation of High School Basketball Rules. What is the penalty? This would also apply to a flagrant foul; the penalty is the same. Two free throws for the offended player or their eligible substitute and a throw-in to the team at the spot nearest the foul. This ALWAYS applies except one instance: a three point try that is missed and then it is three tries for free throw.
We need to know the rule. Simple and straightforward it is two free throws always! Always two free throws to the offended player or their substitute if they were injured and the ball to the team at the spot nearest the foul. Ding! The one exception is if the three-point try is missed. Then it is three tries for free throw to the player or their substitute and the ball for throw in at the spot of the foul.
This applies to intentional fouls. It applies to flagrant fouls. All the same. Simple and straightforward. In our instance here the try was successful. A natural inclination may be “and one.” But we know what the penalty is. In this instance Were the officials correct? No, they were not.
As time expires in the fourth quarter with the score tied, player A1 is fouled in the act of shooting. Team B head coach is granted a time out. Before the time out has ended, the Team A head coach requests a timeout. The officials deny the timeout request. Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
This is a funky part of the rules book. It is near the end of the game after time has expired but the game has not ended. In this situation there is a rule that we will not allow successive timeouts. A successive time out that is defined in the rules book as a second time out after time has expired
It is an odd quirk of the rules, but it is what it is. Were the officials correct in not allowing a successive timeout at the after time had expired in the game? Yes. Yes they were.
It’s important to know that the clarifier is”after time has expired.” not that the game has ended. after time has expired we will not allow successive timeouts to be granted. so, in this instance Were the officials correct? Yes. Yes they were.
A1 requests a timeout while airborne holding the ball and heading out of bounds. The officials grant the timeout request Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
A fact of life for high school basketball officials is that the stakeholders in the game: our partners, ourselves, we’re fans of basketball. We watch basketball. We watch NBA basketball. We watch collegiate basketball. The rule sets in those different levels of play can be different. That understanding of what the rules are sometimes erroneously filters down into high school. In NCAA Mens or the NBA, when A player’s momentum is carrying them out of bounds a timeout shall not be granted. This doesn’t apply to high school. In NFHS Rules, a player holding the ball may request a timeout and it should be granted. There’s no restriction that they cannot be in the process of having their momentum carry this off the court. Were the officials correct? Yes. Yes they were.
A1 has the ball for a throw in. B1 reaches through the boundary plane and fouls A1. The officials rule a player Technical Foul on B1 Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
It’s an atypical play. one that can catch us off guard. easy to remember though that during a throw-in. when a defensive player contacts the thrower, by rule it is an intentional foul. if a defensive player breaks the boundary plane and contacts the basketball that is a player Technical Foul. in this instance the officials should have ruled an intentional foul on B1. Were the officials correct? No. No they were not.
Team a substitute A12 enters and plays the second period. At halftime the official scorekeeper notices that A12 is not in the scorebook and informs the officials. The officials rule an Administrative Technical Foul and start the third period with free throws. Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
Logically this seems to be correct. But we have to remember with Technical Fouls there are periods of time that are allowed for the discovery of the Technical Foul. in this instance an Administrative Technical Foul can be assessed only if it is discovered while the player is violating. had the officials discovered that A12 is not in the book while A12 is playing, an administrative Technical Foul would be the appropriate penalty. But in this instance we’re outside of that period, so the officials have no authority to assess the Technical Foul. Should A12 come back into the game indeed then that would be the appropriate time. So in this instance Were the officials correct? No. No they were not.
Thrower A1 steps on the endline during a throw-in. The officials rule a throw-in violation Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
Sometimes, reflexively we see somebody step on a line and we think something illegal has happened. But the rule for a thrower is they are not allowed to step onto the court. The court begins with the inner edge of the boundary line so in this instance Were the officials correct? no the officials were not correct this is a legal play
A1 dives for a loose ball on the floor A1 slides controls the ball and then slides some more the officials rule a traveling violation has occurred. Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
A great hustle play. A player dives on the floor and controls the ball. The player slides some more. Before they stop official rules of travel. The gym erupts. everybody wants to travel. everybody knows you can’t do that — except yes. yes you can do that. This is a legal play by rule. Were the officials correct? No. No they were not.
A1’s try for goal fails to reach the basket and A1 catches the ball while it remains airborne. The officials rule a traveling violation Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
in National Federation of High School rules it’s legal for a player to catch their own air ball as long as it was a try. if the officials make the judgment that it was a try for goal then there’s no longer team control and the player can catch the ball. why would people think this is a traveling violation? because with other rule sets specifically the NBA this is a violation. we watch those games. we think those rules apply and they don’t. So in this instance, Were the officials correct? No. No they were not.
A1 while standing inbounds behind the backboard shoots the ball over the backboard and the ball passes through the basket. The officials rule this a legal play and allow the goal Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
National Federation of High School rules for dealing with a rectangular backboard. The ball cannot pass over the backboard legally by rule this is an illegal play. An out of bounds violation should have been ruled. The existence of other rule sets right? We see a highlight from an NBA game. In the NBA game they allow the goal. in National Federation of High School rules this is illegal it is a violation and the goal should not be scored. In this instance Were the officials correct? No. No they were not.
A1 throws the ball from the backcourt and hits the official who is in the frontcourt. The ball rebounds to the backcourt and is recovered by A2. The officials rule this to be a legal play Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
A1 makes the pass from the backcourt. That means that they are inbounds, they are holding the ball. There is team control on the court. A1 throws the ball to the frontcourt. The ball hits the official and the ball bounces back into the backcourt where A2 recovers the ball. This errant pass hit the official who was on the court. A2 collected it. What do we need to understand about status.
When the ball was in the backcourt it has backcourt status. The ball when it’s thrown still has backcourt status. when the ball contacts the official who is in contact with the frontcourt the ball gains frontcourt status. Then, the ball goes into the backcourt where A2 collects the ball. The team has caused the ball to go from the backcourt to the frontcourt and back to the backcourt without a player touching the ball. This is a backcourt violation by rule. Were the officials correct? No. No they were not.
A1 attempts a field goal the ball hits the rim then hits the top of the backboard and then passes through the basket the officials rule this a legal play Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
The backboard has six sides. it has the front side. it has the backside. it has the left side. the right side. the top side and the bottom side. only one of those sides is out of bounds and that is the backside of the backboard. A ball that contacts the top of the backboard can remain in play by rule. Were the officials correct? Yes. Yes they were.
A2 deflects a ball passed by A1. A2’s momentum carries him or her out of bounds A2 then returns to the court grabs the ball and scores the officials rule this illegal play Were the officials correct? Yes or No?
A1 passes to A2. A2 deflects the ball but their momentum carries them out of bounds. They immediately return to the court, grab the ball and score. Was that a legal play? yes, by rule a legal play. All the player needs to do is establish inbound status. That is achieved by having a part of their body touching the playing court and nothing touching out of bounds. Once the player has legal inbound status there is no restriction against grabbing the ball and scoring. so, Were the officials correct? Yes. Yes they were.
Thanks for joining us today for the Basketball Rules Expert YouTube Show. If you find this content to be valuable, let’s do all the things. let’s like, subscribe, notify and make sure to share the show with other officials who could find value. Again, we owe a debt of gratitude to our show supporters Robert, Peter, Matthew, and Tim. much appreciated and much love. If you want to support the show you can always buy us a coffee. There’s a link above and in the show notes below. we’ll have these questions from the lightning round in an online quiz back at the website abetterofficial.com. There’s a link above and in the show notes below. As always we have additional video content for you here. Make your choice. Choose wisely and we’ll see you in the very next video.