Connecticut State Board of Approved Basketball Officials

Interpreters Bulletin


The 2006-2007 season is well underway. We are receiving many questions and rule situations from coaches and officials. This issue will highlight play situations that occurred since games began in December. As a reminder, the Connecticut High School Basketball Rules Interpreters have developed this “Bulletin” as a communication tool to share among basketball officials, athletic directors, and coaches. Our objective is to promote a common understanding to the rules that govern the game of basketball.

Connecticut has five (5) area rules interpreters and a state interpreter who serves as our liaison to the CIAC. We are members of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) organization and annually train our officials to follow the rules promulgated by the CIAC and the National Federation of State High School Associations.


Situation A - Team B has 7 fouls. Player B1 has the ball on a throw-in. Official calls foul on Player B2 for setting an illegal screen on A1. Is A1 entitled to free throws? Ruling – Yes, since there is no team control on the throw-in. However, if B1 completes the throw-in to B3 and then B2 sets an illegal screen on A1, A1 will not be entitled to free throws but rather will be entitled to a throw-in. This is an example of a team control foul.

Situation B - On a throw-in by a Team A, A1 rolls the ball on to the court. No player from Team A possesses the ball within 5 seconds. Is this a throw-in violation? Ruling – No, A1 only has to release the ball directly on to the court within 5 seconds.

Situation C - The playing court at a certain gym is marked with permanent black lines - one on each side of and within two feet of the black division line. The referee near the division line makes a mistake and uses the wrong line to call a backcourt violation. Can the official correct that mistake? Ruling – Yes, the spirit and intent of the rules allows the official to correct this mistake.

Situation D - The fans for Team A are using cowbells. Officials rule this is not allowed during live ball. Are they correct? Ruling - Yes, Rule 1-18 prohibits the use of any artificial noisemakers. If the fans continue, Team A may be assessed a technical foul

Situation E – A1 is on his/her knees and receives the ball. A1 tosses the ball ahead, gets up, and then dribbles the ball. Official rules legal play. Is the official correct? Ruling – Yes. If, however, A1 attempted to stand up while still possessing the ball, A1 would have traveled.

Situation F – Team A is warned for delaying resumption of play by huddling in the free throw lane. How should officials handle this? Ruling – Officials should notify Team A’s coach and also notify the scorers for Team A and Team B. Scorers should make notation in score book. Reminder – a second team warning, for any of the four delay of game warnings, will result in a team technical foul.

Situation G – A1 is dribbling in their frontcourt. B2 hits the ball which deflects off A1’s leg and goes to Team A backcourt. A1 (or any Team A player) is first player to retrieve ball in Team A backcourt. Official rules no backcourt violation. Is official correct? Ruling – No, this is a backcourt violation. Although the ball was deflected by B2, it is still in control of Team A. Thus, a Team A player cannot retrieve the ball since it was last touched by A1.

Excessive Time-outs

If a team uses its allotted number of time-outs during a game and a player(s) or coach requests a time-out from an official, then the official must grant that time-out. It is the responsibility of the head coach, once the official notifies him/her that they have no time-outs remaining. Then it is their responsibility to inform their respective team. The officials are not to take it upon themselves to ignore an obvious request for a time-out.

If an official makes a conscious decision to ignore such a request, he/she has placed one or both teams at an unfair disadvantage not intended by the rules. Officials need to be aware that personal interpretations of the rules have a negative impact on the game.

Rules enforcement is a “Point of Emphasis”!

Bench Conduct/Decorum & Coaching Box

For the past several years, bench conduct and the coaching box have been major “Points of Emphasis” for the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO). The CIAC has been extremely instrumental and supportive in spearheading the need for proper and consistent enforcement of the coaching box rule. These organizational leaders understand and realize that players and fans follow and take on the persona of the teams’ respective coaches. Therefore, it is imperative that the coaching box rule be adhered to by all participants involved in this great game.

There must be a marked coaches box. Officials are instructed to work with school administrators to mark the coaches box. If school administrators refuse to mark the coaches box, then officials are instructed to inform the home team they have lost their right to stand in the coaches box but the visiting team is allowed to stand.

Also, if a varsity head coach is seated on the freshmen or junior varsity team bench, he/she is considered bench personnel and must comply with Rule 10-4 and Rule 10-5. Failure for any bench personnel to comply with appropriate conduct during any game shall be penalized with a technical foul. For example, if a head varsity coach is ejected from a freshmen or junior varsity game, CIAC rules will not allow he/she will to coach the varsity game that follows. In addition, they cannot be present for the next game(s) before the next varsity game.

Officials must be diligent and address inappropriate bench conduct during the game. Inappropriate conduct, comments and behavior are not part of the interscholastic educational sportsmanship tradition set forth for student-athletes, articulated by the NFHS and CIAC. Officials have the tremendous duty and responsibility of being “Guardians of the Game”. As unbiased arbitrators of the rules of basketball, officials must maintain and promote a fair and equal playing field for all its competitors.