Boys Basketball - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

The rule prohibiting excessive contact in high school basketball has been expanded to include all ball-handlers on the court, include post players.

This revision in Rule 10-6-12 and a new signal for officials were recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee at its April 20-22 meeting in Indianapolis. Both changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Last year, the rules committee added Article 12 to Rule 10-6 in an effort to eliminate excessive contact on ball-handlers and dribblers outside of the lane area. Beginning next season, excessive contact on any ball-handler will be a violation of the rules.

The new language states that “a player becomes a ball-handler when he/she receives the ball. This would include a player in a post position.”

The acts that constitute a foul when committed against a ball-handler are a) placing two hands on the player, b) placing an extended arm bar on the player, c) placing and keeping a hand on the player and d) contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.

“The current rule covers the ball-handler/dribbler situations but ignores the action that goes on in the post area with the hands, arm bars, etc.,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials. “The additional language will clarify that the illegal acts should be ruled for every position on the floor.”

The rules committee also approved a new signal to be used after a basket is made and when there is a stoppage in play. The signal will be used by officials to indicate that the team in-bounding the ball may run the baseline. This signal would be used to restart play when a time-out is called or an injury occurs after a made basket.

In addition to these changes, the Basketball Rules Committee approved four points of emphasis for the 2015-16 season: post play, rebounding, protecting the free-throw shooter and NFHS mechanics and signals.

The committee noted that new information has been added to the rules book that addresses cleaning up post play and urged fouls to be called when violations occur. In addition, the committee emphasized that illegal tactics related to rebounding should be called since these violations are among the leading causes of injury in high school basketball.

Protecting the free-throw shooter is another area of emphasis for next season. The committee noted that the rule change last year allowing a player occupying a marked lane space to enter the lane on the release of the ball by the free thrower calls for added protection of the free-throw shooter.

The final point of emphasis concerns the use of NFHS mechanics and signals.

“Communication is vital to the game of basketball, to the officials and all others involved in the game,” Wynns said. “It is essential for officials to master and use only the NFHS-approved mechanics and signals.”

The rules committee also devoted significant time to updating the NFHS 2015-17 Basketball Officials Manual. Wynns said the revised publication will be improved and expanded to include diagrams helpful to new officials as well as the more experienced ones.

Printable Version - Please print and place in your rules book for reference.

The Spalding TF1000 Classic basketball will be the official tournament basketball for sectional and state tournament games in 2015-16.


  • Make sure coaching box is properly marked on floor. Measure 14 feet from the baseline and place a line. Measure 28 feet from the baseline and place a second line. That gives you a 14 foot box.
  • If you have a design/logo in the center of your basketball court, make sure that you have the center restraining circle and center line properly marked as required by NFHS rules. See page 9 of the current NFHS Basketball Rules book for details.
  • Please review the timing guidelines along with the introduction format. Please share this information with your scoring table personnel and announcer.
  • You are not allowed to play a game in halves.
  • Check the pressure of your rims. Many of you may have never had your rims pulled down and may not be "in proper condition". Check with the manufacturer to insure that your rims meet specifications -- pages 12-13 of the NFHS Basketball Rules book.


60 second time-out --- buzz warning horn with 15 seconds remaining
30 second time-out --- buzz warning horn with 15 seconds remaining
20 seconds to:

  1. replace a disqualified player (5 fouls) - buzz warning horn with 15 seconds remaining
  2. replace an injured player - buzz warning horn with 15 seconds remaining. Don't start clock until official indicates.
  3. replace a player directed to leave the game - buzz warning horn with 15 seconds remaining


  • 18 minute halves
  • 1 minute interval prior to any overtime periods
  • 10 minute halftime (unless otherwise arranged ... parent nights, etc.)
  • Overtime periods - 4 minutes in length


  • 20:00: Warm-up Begins - officials enter court and go directly to positions to supervise warm-up.
  • 12:00: Officials conduct pregame meeting with team captains.
  • 10:00: Officials proceed to scoretable and check scorebooks, brief scorer and timer, check game ball for NFHS authenticating mark, and check alternating-possession arrow.
  • 1:30: Officials introduce themselves to coaching staff and inquire about legality of player equipment. Remove jackets and prepare to begin game.
  • 0:00: National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance followed by introduction of players.

To honor America and those defending our freedom, we ask those who are able, to stand, remove your hats and place your hand over your heart for the playing of the National Anthem.


All five starters of the visiting team shall be introduced first followed by the five starters for the home team. Players shall not seek out the opposing coach to shake his/her hand. Players should proceed to the free throw circle in front of their bench and not run to the center of the floor.  Player should not hold hands or swing their hands during the National Anthem.


We are required to follow NFHS uniform with regard to "pink events". Only pink socks, shoe laces, or shoes would be allowed. We have specific color requirements for wristbands and headbands. If you order uniforms, make sure you do not order pink as a color unless pink is very dark and can be used as your "dark uniform". White is required to be worn at home. Please proactive with your coach so that this doesn't become an issue if the team wishes to do a "pink event".


Players are not allowed to wear feathers in their hair. This would be considered adornment and is not allowed by NFHS Basketball Rules.


Deb Hauser will be processing the 3rd Half requests. There is a form that has been created that you must submit to Deb to request the waiver. Written conference approval is part of the approval process. No blanket approvals will be accepted.


Remember, frosh-only teams are limited to 22 games. Double check all of your schedules to make sure you are in compliance with the allowed number of games.

3-Half Waiver Request Form  -  submit completed requested form and supporting documents to Deb Hauser <>

A student who participates at multiple levels on the same day may not play in more than a total of two halves on that day with overtime period(s) considered an extension of the second half.  Note:  The half rule does not apply in situations where a student plays two games at the same level (varsity or nonvarsity) on the same day.

(1) For schools playing a 1 half JV game and a 2 half varsity game on the same day, a maximum of 2 halves, per player, is allowed.

(2) In emergency situations, a 3-half waiver may be requested.  Written approval of the conference and the WIAA is required.  A 3-half waiver request form can be found at the top of this page.  This form must be completed and submitted to the WIAA for approval.

a.  If a schedules three levels of teams, e.g., freshmen, JV and varsity (or any combination of 3 teams), they may allow an individual to participate in a maximum of 3 halves in one day if they have 23 or fewer players between the three levels.  Note:  A schedule of basketball games for each Board approved level must be provided.  A minimum of five scheduled games is required.

b.  If a school schedules two levels of teams, e.g., JV and varsity (or any combination of 2 teams) they may allow an individual player(s) to participate in a maximum of 3 halves in one day if they have 15 or fewer players between the two levels.  Note:  A schedule of basketball games for each Board approved level must be provided.  A minimum of five scheduled games is required.

(3) It is not the responsibility of game officials to enforce the half rule.  Schools must report violations to the WIAA following competition.  Violations are considered in the same manner as a school using an ineligible student.  The minimum penalty for such violations is forfeiture of game in which participant exceeded the maximum.

(4) It is strongly recommended that a student who is a varsity starter or leading reserve not play at the nonvarsity level.

Facebook    Twitter    YouTube    RSS

Wisconsin Interscholastic
Athletic Association
5516 Vern Holmes Drive
Stevens Point, WI 54482-8833
Phone (715) 344-8580
Fax (715) 344-4241
Mon-Fri: 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM