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New Rules for the 2023-24 High School Season

For the 2023-2024 season, the NFHS has adopted significant rules changes. Should we be filled with trepidation?

The most significant change pertains to bonus free throws. Gone is the one-and-one!

Bonus Free-Throw Changes

Eliminating the one-and-one. Instead, a player will be awarded two free throws commencing with an opponent’s fifth foul in a period. The fouls are then reset to zero at the end of periods 1, 2, & 3.

The rationale for the change is to provide a better flow by allowing teams that run into early foul trouble the opportunity to self-correct their style of play at the outset of both the second and fourth quarters.

In addition, by eliminating the one-and-one, the number of opportunities for correctable errors that result from awarding an unmerited free throw or failing to award a merited free throw is significantly reduced.

Also, the guarantee of two free throws eliminates the physical play that has often been associated with rebounding action on the first free throw.

Of course, if a game goes to overtime there is no reset of the team fouls for the extra periods.

We give this change 3 thumbs up! 👍 👍 👍 – Excellent for the Game!

Throw-In Spots in the Frontcourt

Another big change is a simplification of throw-in spots for fouls by the defense in the front court that do not result in free throws, or for any stoppage other than an out-of-bounds violation by the defense, the subsequent throw-ins will be no longer be at the spot nearest the foul but rather at one of four spots.

The four throw-in spots:

  • the nearest 28-foot mark along each sideline or
  • the nearest spot 3-feet outside the lane line on the end line.

The rationale given is that it eliminates much of the judgment for an official about where exactly the throw-in spot should be located and allows teams to develop throw-in plays both offensively and defensively from four pre-determined locations.

We give this change 2 thumbs up! 👍 👍 – Good for the Game.

Visitors’ Undershirts May Now All be Black!

Previously, Visitors’ undershirts had to be of a single solid color that matched the color of the torso of the jersey. Starting this season, Visitors may instead wear black undershirts! All participating players must wear the same color still applies. So, color of jersey OR black.

The rationale is that the previous restriction put undue hardship on teams with hard-to-find colors.

This will take a lot of pressure off of officials in their role as fashion police.

We give this change 3 thumbs up! 👍 👍 👍 – Excellent for the Game!

Wrong Team given the Throw-in – Fixable!

Oops! We gave the ball to the wrong team for a throw-in. The throw-in ends and then it is recognized. Previously there was nothing that could be done. But, new this year, the crew can make these situations right!

Now, in a situation where the ball was awarded to the wrong team, the crew can correct the mistake before the first dead ball after the ball becomes live unless there is a change of possession. This provides an appropriate amount of time to correct a mistake.

So, it is not a Correctable Error, but rather a “Fixable Error” that is codified in the rules.

We give this change 3 thumbs up! 👍 👍 👍 – Excellent for the Game!

Players may now step out of bounds voluntarily

9-3-3 — Establishing that a player may step out of bounds without penalty unless they are the first player to touch the ball after returning to the court or if they left the court to avoid a violation allows the game to continue without stoppage when the player’s actions did not create an advantage. When an advantage is gained by a player purposely leaving the court and being the first one to touch the ball or leaving the court to avoid a violation, an advantage is gained, and a violation has occurred.

We give this change 3 thumbs up! 👍 👍 👍 – Excellent for the Game!

Other Rules Include

As a result of the increased use of large video boards that allow timers to utilize tablets to control the clock from anywhere in the facility and the increase in schools utilizing the shot clock, it became necessary to include language requiring the shot clock operator, if used, to sit at the scorer’s and timer’s table. Officials need to have easy access to the scorer, timer and the shot clock operator during contests.

We give this change 1 thumbs up! 👍  – A simple Clarification.

Clarifying the requirements for uniform bottoms makes it easier for coaches and athletic directors to address the individual needs of their student-athletes when ordering uniforms. Teammates must all wear like-colored uniform bottoms but may wear multiple styles. This clarification allows for an athlete to wear a skirt or pants of the same color as the athlete’s teammates without contacting the state association for a uniform accommodation.

We give this change 3 thumbs up! 👍  – A simple Clarification

It will take a few reps in the early season to get used to the bonus free throw changes. It is to be expected.

Overall we believe these to be fantastic changes that will make the game better.


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