Rules & Regulations


Rules and Regulations

2021-22 NFHS Rules Changes

Basketball Rules Changes - 2021-22

By NFHS on May 14, 2021

2-14 (NEW): By state association adoption, effective with the 2022-2023 season, member state associations may establish a shot clock in which the team in control shall attempt a try for field goal within 35 seconds after gaining team control. ART. 1 This shall be regulated by a visible shot clock. ART. 2 The tap or try for field goal shall leave the shooter's hand before the expiration of time and subsequently strike the basket ring or enter the basket before or after the shot clock period has expired. 

Rationale: This proposal allows each state to authorize the use of the shot clock as a state adoption. The use of the guidelines, provided in the rules book, encourage standardization among those who choose to adopt.


3-5-4e (NEW): Head coverings worn for religious reasons shall not be made of abrasive or hard materials; and must fit securely so that it is highly unlikely to come off during play. NOTE: The State Association shall be notified, after the contest, if there is a concern about a head covering worn for religious reasons. 

Rationale: The addition of this provision allows for religious head coverings to be permitted without state association approval provided they are secured properly and not made of abrasive or hard materials.


3-5-4f EXCEPTION: Head decorations and headwear, except those specified above, are prohibited. EXCEPTION: State associations may on an individual basis permit a player to participate while wearing a head covering if it meets the following criteria:
a. In the event a participant is required by a licensed medical physician to cover the head with a covering or wrap, the physician’s statement is required before the state association can approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and which is attached in such a way that it is highly unlikely to come off during play. 
Delete: b. For religious reasons: In the event there is documented evidence provided to the state association (or designee) that a participant may not expose his/ her uncovered head, the state association may approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely to come off during play. 

Rationale: The playing rules were modified to add a provision that allows for religious head coverings to be permitted without state association approval.


The MANUAL- Part 3 SIGNALS 36 & 37: Eliminate signal #37 (Team Control Foul) Maintain use of signal #36 for Player Control and Team Control Foul

Player/Team Control Foul #36
Preceded by stop clock (Signal 4). The same hand used to stop the clock is placed at the back of the head (Signal 36). The directional signal (Signal 6) shall be given and then indicate the ensuing throw-in spot (Signal 7).

  • A common foul committed by a player while that player is in control of the ball or by an airborne shooter.
  • A common foul committed by a member of the team that has control.

Rationale: It is redundant to have different signals to communicate that a foul will be charged to a member of the team in control of the ball.  Officials do not understand the need to differentiate between a player control foul and a team control foul and many game participants, table personnel, and fans do not know the difference.  This change would not alter any rules or rule definitions.

Rule 3-5-4e was added to allow players to wear head coverings for religious reasons without obtaining state association approval. The head covering shall not be made of abrasive or hard materials and must be attached so that it is highly unlikely to come off during play. Basketball is the sixth sport in which a rule related to the wearing of head coverings or other equipment for religious reasons has been adopted, following volleyball, field hockey, soccer, spirit and swimming.

The official signals were also modified to use the same hand signal for a player control foul and a team control foul. Officials should use Signal 36, which is a hand placed at the back of the head, for both types of fouls. Previously, a team control foul was communicated with a punch of the hand.

“It is redundant to have different signals to communicate that a foul will be charged to a member of the team in control of the ball,” Wynns said. “Officials don’t understand the need to differentiate between a player control foul and a team control foul, and many game participants, table personnel and fans don’t know the difference.”

A complete listing of the basketball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Basketball.”

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, a total of 540,769 boys participated in basketball in 18,617 schools, and 399,067 girls participated in the sport in 18,210 schools across the country. It is the third-most popular sport for boys and girls.

Official Basketball

The Spalding TF1000 Legacy basketball will be the official tournament basketball for sectional and state tournament games in 2021-22

Preseason / Season Reminders


  • Make sure coaching box is properly marked on floor.  Measure 28 feet from the baseline and place a tape line outside the boundary. That gives you a 28 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.
  • 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
15 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



  • 15:00: 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".



A daith piercing would be considered jewelry and needs to be removed prior to competition unless a waiver is requested and granted from the WIAA. In order to get a waiver, a medical statement from a licensed doctor would need to be submitted to the WIAA. Coach will be provided with a waiver to show to officials prior to the game if approved.  Piercings must be taped/covered.


Headbands:  Wrap Around w/Knot

Specific procedures have been established for allowing a head covering to be worn for medical reasons.  A player who is required to wear a head covering for medical reasons must provide a physician statement or appropriate documented evidence to the WIAA for approval.  If approved, the WIAA shall provide written authorization to the school to be made available to officials.

Wrap-around headband with knot - Illegal.  Skylar Diggins-type headband - illegal.

Pink Events

In basketball, not much is allowed when it comes to pink events.  If one team wears pink uniforms, the other team must wear white.  

Otherwise, the only things allowed would be:  1) pink socks, 2) pink shoe laces, and/or 3) pink warmups/t-shirts.   Pink wristbands or headbands are not allowed — unless the jersey is pink.  

A pink ball is not allowed.

Officials may use a pink whistle.

Q & A

January 2121

QUESTION:  Is it mandatory to exchange the COVID Verification form before each game?

ANSWER:  Yes, mandatory.  If one team does not have the form, and cannot produce it by game-time, the game can result in a forfeit.

QUESTION:  Has there been a change to the Sectional Semifinal and Sectional Final sites?

ANSWER:  Yes.  All Sectional games will be played at the home of the higher seed.  This change was made due to the many cancellations by neutral sites and the inability to get all of these sites replaced.  This model was utilized in volleyball in the Fall.  In order to move forward in this manner, a re-seeding will occur on the Sunday after the Regional Finals.  We need hosts for these seeding meetings.  


December 2020

Question:  When can my team play games after quarantine?

Answer:  Use the following chart:

Missed Days of Practice Practices before competition
7 - 13 3
14+ 5
  • Count all calendar days
  • Practice on the day of a competition does not count
  • Practices must be in-person for acclimatization purposes
  • Socially Distanced practices in the gym with a coach DO count.

November 2020

Question:  If my team is unable to play a full schedule of games, could we replace the game with local scrimmages? And, do scrimmages have to be in the beginning of the season?

Answer:  Currently, basketball is allowed 24 games and 1 scrimmage.  Games can be “traded” for scrimmages.  In other words, if you are unable/prefer not to fill the 24 game maximum on your schedule, you may replace games with scrimmages.  A scrimmage may be played at any time during the WIAA basketball season (regular season or WIAA Tournament Series) provided:

  • Three different days of practice have elapsed
  • Does not count in either team’s win/loss record
  • No loss of academic class time
  • All athletes participating, meet all WIAA and school eligibility requirements (exceptions:  students ineligible due to academic deficiency, cod of conduct violations, or those required to miss the next competitive event, due to being ejected from their last competitive event, may participate at the discretion of the school)

April 2019

Question:  Can Middle Level Coaches use the 28-foot coaching box?

Answer:  Only High School Coaches are given the opportunity to use the coaching box.  This applies to grades 9-12, and all levels (i.e. Freshmen, JV, Varsity, etc.)

Question:  Team A is behind late in the game.  They have no time outs.  The shoot and make a shot.  After the ball goes through a player from team A immediately grabs the ball and throws it into the crowd.  It was an intentional act to stop the clock and to set up their press. 

Answer:  Refer to the NFHS Basketball Case Book (Page 77, Rule 10.2.1 Situation D)

Immediately following a goal by A1, A3 slaps the ball away so that Team B is unable to make a quick throw-in.  RULING:  The official shall sound his/her whistle and go to the table to have the scorer record a team warning for delay.  The warning shall then be reported to the head coach of Team A.  Any subsequent delay by Team A shall result in a team technical foul charged to Team A (4-47-3)

Question:  Towards the end of the game (say under 2 minutes), the coach for the defensive team is yelling and telling the players to foul, foul, foul - to stop the clock and maybe give their team a chance to get the ball back​. What is the ruling?  Please let me know the rule or case book ref, and follow-up on this situation.  I thought this was not legal.  Some coaches use a code word (red or similar) to indicate the team should foul, but I did not think it was ok to yell, foul, foul, etc. to stop the clock.

Answer:  Refer to the NFHS Basketball Case Book. (Page 28, Rule 4.19.3 Situation D)

Late in the fourth quarter Team B is trailing by six points.  Team B’s head coach begins to yell to his or her player to ‘foul, foul, foul!”  B1 responds by (a) grabbing A1 from behind, or (b) reaching for the ball but illegally contacting A1 on the arm.  RULING:  In (a), an intentional foul shall be ruled.  In (b), a common foul shall be ruled as B1 was making a legitimate attempt to ‘play the ball’.  COMMENT:  Fouling near the end of a game is an acceptable coaching and playing strategy.  Officials must determine if a foul is intentional by judging the fouling act itself, not wheter or not the coach instructed a player to perform the act.

Question:  Team A has the ball on the base line and inbounds it, touched by Team A then goes in the backcourt and is again touched by Team A.  This is over and back call - violation, is this correct?

Answer:  This would not be an over and back situation. There is TEAM control when the ball is in possession out of bounds.  There is not PLAYER CONTROL until the ball is entered.  Therefore, if PLAYER CONTROL has not been established, there cannot be an over and back.

Rule Reminders

WI Adaptations to NFHS Rules

WIAA Adaptations to NFHS Rules - Please print and place in your rules book for reference.

2020-21 COVID-19 NFHS Adaptations - Print and place in your rules book for reference.