Points of Emphasis


Previous years Points of Emphasis

Granting Time-out –
Coaches and
officials are reminded of the proper procedures in requesting and granting time-out. Coaches are encouraged to give both a visual signal and verbal request when a requesting time-out. Officials need to know the status of the ball and whether it is in player control. Having a full view of the player in control who is requesting the time-out is critical to determining if you may grant a time-out. It’s vital to know the situation of the game, the proper sequence of calling a time-out, then using proper signals to notify the scorer.

Guidelines to Enforce Illegal Contact -When contact occurs that affects the rhythm, speed, quickness and balance of the player, illegal contact has occurred. When illegal contact occurs, fouls must be called. Officials must not refrain from calling these type of actions that create an advantage for the opponent. Illegal contact must be called regardless of time and score.

Intentional Foul - An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul that may or may not be premeditated and is not based solely on the severity of the act. It is contact that: 

  • Neutralizes an opponent’s obvious advantageous position.

  • Contact on an opponent who is clearly not in the play.

  • May be excessive contact.

  • Contact that is not necessarily premeditated or based solely on the
    severity of the act.

This type of foul may be strategic to stop the clock or create a situation
that may be tactically done for the team taking action. This foul may be
innocent in severity, but without any playing of the ball, it becomes an
intentional act such as a player wrapping their arms around an opponent. The act may be excessive in its intensity and force of the action. These actions are all intentional fouls and are to be called as such.

POE for Officials’ Manual

Dead ball officiating – See the whole play. See the actions of all players. Don’t react too quickly that you do not see the second action or antics of a player that is inciting an opponent to react. Be aware of the whole situation so to penalize the correct player.

Proper Mechanics and Signals - The use of proper mechanics and signals are imperative to the success of the contest and the officiating team. Proper mechanics and signals will assist in communication
to your partners and will aid in the effectiveness of all officials’ calls.
Officials need to continue to study, emphasize and practice proper mechanics and signals with your partners and reviewing these items in a thorough pre-game conference. This will assist the crew of officials in their game preparation and performing their duties as a cohesive unit. Officials are reminded to use non-verbal cues to communicate with your partners and assist them in their efforts. Use only proper NFHS approved mechanics and signals, enforce the rules of the level being played and call the game accordingly.

Last Year's POEs:

1. Closely guarded situations

Well officiated closely-guarded situations provide for better balance between offense and defense. When the closely-guarded rules are not followed properly, there is a significant advantage for the offense. The
following areas should be emphasized:

a. Rule basics. A closely-guarded situation occurs when a player in control of the ball in his or her team’s frontcourt is guarded by an opponent who is within 6 feet or the player who is holding or dribbling the ball; the defensive player must obtain a legal guarding position. A player shall not hold the ball for five seconds or dribble the ball for five seconds while closely guarded in the frontcourt. A player can legally hold the ball while closely guarded for
four seconds, dribble the ball for four seconds and hold the ball again for four seconds before violating.

b. Multiple defenders. The closely guarded count should continue even if there is a defensive switch, provided the 6-foot distance is maintained by one or more defenders. There is no requirement for the defender to remain the same during the count as long as the offensive player is closely guarded throughout. The closely- guarded count ends when no defensive player is within 6 feet.

2. Contact above the shoulders. With a continued emphasis on reducing concussions and decreasing excessive contact situations the committee determined that more guidance is needed for penalizing contact above the shoulders.
a. A player shall not swing his/her arm(s) or elbow(s) even without contacting an opponent. Excessive swinging of the elbows occurs when arms and elbows are swung about while using the shoulders as pivots, and the speed of the extended arms and elbows is in excess of the rest of the body as it rotates on the hips or on the pivot foot. Currently it is a violation in Rule 9 Section 13 Article.
b. Examples of illegal contact above the shoulders and resulting penalties.
1. Contact with a stationary elbow may be incidental or a common foul.
2. An elbow in movement but not excessive should be an intentional foul.
3. A moving elbow that is excessive can be either an intentional foul or flagrant personal foul.

3. Intentional Fouls. The committee is concerned about the lack of enforcement for intentional fouls during any part of the game but especially at the end of a game. The intentional foul rule has devolved into misapplication and personal interpretations. An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul that neutralizes an opponent’s obvious advantageous position. Contact away from the ball or when not making a legitimate attempt to play the ball, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from starting, shall be intentional. Intentional fouls may or may not be premeditated and are not based solely on the severity of the act. A foul also shall be ruled intentional if while playing the ball a player causes excessive contact with an opponent.
a. Anytime during the game. Acts that neutralize an opponent’s obvious advantageous position and must be deemed intentional include:
1. Excessive contact on any player attempting a try
2. Grabbing or shoving a player from behind when an easy basket may be scored
3. Grabbing and holding a player from behind or away from the ball
These are "non-basketball acts" and must be considered intentional fouls

b. Game awareness. The probability of fouling late in the game is an accepted coaching strategy and is utilized by many coaches in some form. Officials must have the courage to enforce the intentional foul rule properly.

4. Guidelines to enforce illegal contact. Escalating fight situations can often be traced back to illegal contact not being properly enforced and penalized. Examples of illegal contact are:
a. Hand checking. Any tactic using hands or arms that allows a player on offense or defense to control the movement of an opposing player.

Examples of hand checking foul.
1. Both hands on an opposing player
2. Jabbing a hand or forearm on an opponent.
3. Continuous contact by a hand or forearm on an opponent

b. Post play. Any tactic using hands, arms or body to control the movement of an opposing player.
Examples of illegal post play.
1. Hooking by the offensive player
2. Pushing, holding or slapping an opponent
3. Dislodging an opponent by using a leg or knee to the rear of an opponent
4. Dislodging an opponent by backing them down

c. Rebounding. Any activity to illegally gain rebounding position on an opponent.
Examples of illegal rebounding activity.
1. Displace, charge or push and opponent
2. Extend the arms or elbows to impede the movement of an opponent
3. Using the hips or knees to hinder or impede an opponent
4. Violation of the principle of verticality
5. Contact between players in free throw lane spaces prior to the ball contacting the ring
a. It is illegal to physically contact an opponent prior to the ball legally contacting the ring.