Referee with FORCE! 12 tips to get your next Backcourt Violation call correct!

Confused about backcourt violation in High School Basketball? In this video we break it down in easy to understand terms. We cover the differences between High School rules and NCAA and NBA. If you want to make sure to never miss another backcourt violation call again, stick around!

Introduction to the Backcourt Violation

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.

BRE Brand Slice

Shout Out to our Show Supporters:

Paul Sullivan

John Turzer

Brandon Mason

Gregg Becker

Chris Hirano

Much Appreciated and Much Love!

If YOU want to support the show you can always buy us a coffee!

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. 

NFHS Rule 9-9 Examination

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. 

BRE Subscribe Now

9-9-2 A Rare Occurrence 

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.

9-9-3 The Throw-In Exception

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. 

BRE Think you Know

The 3-Part Formula for Making a Backcourt Ruling

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, 


Play Scenario 1 – Ball Deflected by Defender

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. 

  1. The ball a live ball is being passed amongst teammates players holding the ball player control releases the ball to a pass to a teammate, there’s no longer player control but Team Control continues. 
  2. during an uninterrupted dribble player dribbling the ball loses control of the ball. It bounces off their leg, their foot. Get bounces away. Is there still Team Control? Yes. Yes, there is. And 

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 

Play Scenario 2 – Rebound batted back

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. 

Play Scenario 3 – Muffed Throw-In Pass

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 

Play Scenario 4 – Throw-In Exception Play

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 

BRE Brand Slice

Play Scenario 5 – Dribbler 3-points Play

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.

Another Throw-In Exception Play

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. 

Show Wrap-up Let’s do all the things!

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, 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.


Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Get our Best

No spam, notifications only about new episodes and updates.

On Key

Related Posts

Default Coffee Donation Form

Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $5.00

have a rules question?

Submit a Question or Play Scenario!