East Coast Basketball Officials Association

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2019/2020 Rules Changes/Edits

Rule Changes

Strike Rule 3-4-3e (2): The team jersey color itself when bordered with not more than two ¼ inch solid border(s) contrasting with the team jersey color.  (Effective 2023-24)


Rationale:  The number being the same color as the jersey, though bordered by a contrasting color, is difficult to see.  Two options for number design remain.





A headband is any item that goes around the entire head.  It must be a circular design without extensions.  If worn, only one headband is permitted, it must be worn on the forehead/crown. It must be nonabrasive and unadorned, and it must be no more than 3 inches wide.


Rationale: I am suggesting that we make the Basketball and Volleyball rule codes on headbands, the same.  Girls are wearing headbands that are wider than 2 inches in basketball but are allowed to wear up to 3-inch headbands in volleyball. I think it would help girls who are in these two sports to comply with the rule without confusion.





Add to (d) - Hair control devices are not required to meet color restrictions.


Rationale: To address inconsistent interpretations regarding items such as pre-wrap controlling hair.





Add Note: NOTE: Provided the shorts are not in conflict with 3-4-5, no drawstring or other part of the shorts intended to maintain them in a normal position causes potential harm to the player or others and wearing of the shorts is not objectionable in exposing the anatomy, there is no restriction on folding or rolling the shorts at the natural waistband seam.


Rationale: Rolling of the shorts is only illegal by interpretation, not by current rule. This is an attempt to modernize the rule and allow what players seem to want and what serves as no harm to the game or its integrity. In particular, this interpretation was made because allegedly manufacturers did not intend on the shorts to be rolled when in fact many manufacturer reps will tell you that the seams are intentionally made to offer options in the way they are worn.






1.  A tooth and mouth protector (intraoral), if worn shall:


     a.  include an occlusal (protecting and separating the biting surfaces) portion;


     b.  include a labial (protecting the teeth and supporting structures) portion;


     c.  cover the posterior teeth with adequate thickness;


2.  It is recommended that the protector be properly fitted, protecting the anterior (leading) dental arch and:


     a.  constructed from a model made from an impression of the individual’s teeth, or


     b.  constructed and fitted to the individual by impressing the teeth into the tooth and mouth protector itself.


3.  State associations may deem a tooth and mouth protector required equipment.


Change section 6 to 7; change section 7 to 8.


Rationale:  Provides another safety option with specific with coverage for the devise.




9-9-1: Exception:


A ball in team control of Team A in the front court that is deflected by a defensive player, which causes the ball to go into the backcourt, may be recovered by either team unless the offense was the last to touch the ball before it went into the backcourt.  If the offense was last to touch the ball in its frontcourt, only the defense can legally recover the basketball.


Rationale: This was the original intent of the proposal from 2017-18 and 2018-19. Despite the committee's best efforts, the wording adopted, which mirrored the intent, has caused issues. This wording is identical to the exception at other levels of play and easier to teach and understand.




10-5-5 Note:


The head coach and any number of assistant coaches may enter the court in the situation where a fight may break out - or has broken out - to prevent the situation from escalating.


Rationale: Based on some fight situations that I have seen and heard about over the last couple years at the high school level, I believe that this change, which was instituted at the NCAA level, is a change that is good for the game of basketball and in regard to player safety.  It is difficult in our society for officials to be able to help to separate players involved in a fight since our society has become very litigious.  Changing the rule to allow the head coach and assistant coaches to assist in these types of situations will help the officials to regain control of the entire situation more quickly and especially in regard to player safety.




Stop Clock for Jump/Held Ball-Part 3 of the NFHS Basketball Officials Manual-#3:


When a held ball occurs, covering official(s) shall stop the clock using signal #2 (straight arm, open palm extended) while simultaneously sounding their whistle. Then both arms are extended straight out, at chest level, with fist clinched. Thumbs are displayed as a part of the signal. Signal is given with both arms moving in an upward motion. Should be followed with a directional signal (See #6) indicating team possession.


*Occurs when opponents both have their hands on the ball and neither can gain control


*When an opponent places their hand on the ball and prevents an airborne shooter from passing or releasing the try.


Rationale: This change should help in the alleviation of conflicting calls by officials when a held ball occurs, ie jump ball and foul both called on the same play. We currently raise one arm to stop the clock for everything except the jump/held ball.


Points of Emphasis

1. Head Band and Hair Control Devices:

These items are often thought to be interchangeable.  They are not.  Each item has different guidelines to be followed as outlined in the rules book.  Coaches and players need to be aware of the differences between the two items, so players are not found in violation of the rules.


A headband is defined as any item that goes around the entire head, it must be circular in design without extensions.  The headband must unadorned, nonabrasive and be no wider than 3 inches.  Headbands have color restrictions.  3-5-4a, b

A hair control device is defined as an item that goes around the hair such as rubber, cloth, or elastic bands. Hair control devices have no color restrictions.  3-5-4dSMAC





2. Medical Bracelet:

It is the coach's role to know what the rules allowances and restrictions are, and insure the players are properly informed. The head coach, by rules, must not permit a team member to participate while wearing an illegal uniform, illegal equipment, illegal apparel, etc.  It is, therefore, incumbent on the coach to be sure the rules and restrictions have been reviewed by the team, including, and especially, allowable accessories.


Yes, it is also the officials' role to monitor the players, the uniforms and accessories. However, the head coach must be very much involved. The officials should not be placed in a position where they are often viewed as "being picky/searching for" illegal uniform and apparel items.


By rule, the medical alert medal or bracelet must be taped to the person securely while the medical information is visible.  Regardless of the type of material the medical alert bracelet is of, it must be taped to the arm securely with the medical information visible.  3-5-7





3. Throw-in Violations:

The throw-in and the throw-in count begin when the ball is at the disposal of a player of the team entitled to it.


The throw-in ends when:


a. The passed ball touches or is touched by another player in-bounds.


b. The passed ball touches or is touched by another player out-of-bounds. except as in 7-5-7.


c. The throw-in team commits a violation.


The designated throw-in spot is 3 feet wide with no depth limitation and is established and signaled by the official prior to putting the ball at the thrower's disposal.  Pivot foot restrictions are not in affect for a designated throw-in.  The thrower must keep one foot on or over the designated spot until the ball is released.


Violation - To leave the designated throw-in spot prior to releasing the ball

Violation - To not pass the ball directly into the court so it touches or is touched by another player (in-bounds or out-of-bounds) on the court before going out of bounds untouched.

Violation - To pass the ball so it goes directly out of bounds prior to touching another player.

Violation - To not release the ball on a pass directly into the court before five seconds have elapsed.

After ruling and signaling a violation, team-control foul, player-control foul held ball or time-out, it is vital that the ruling official, at the site of the ruling, indicate the designated throw-in spot (see Manual page 65, diagram 5-6).





4. Pre-Game Meeting with Administrator on Supervision and Crowd Control:

It is a necessity to have game an administration representative to meet with the official crew.  This meeting will allow for communicating the expectations of each group.  The contest officials are there to manage the contest which includes the players and coaches.  It is the expectation that school administration will manage the student body, parents and all other spectators.


Game administration is responsible to be proactive in crowd supervision and control. Administration should address inappropriate spectator behavior before it escalates.


Spectator behavior remains a critical concern. Too often, spectators are using abusive language toward coaches, players and officials. Spectators are also approaching the court, team areas and locker rooms - places that used to be "off limits" - to confront participants.


Game administrators must create and follow security procedures and support efforts to have offending spectators removed from the premises. Proactive policies lead to fewer problems. It is the game administrator's ultimate responsibility to provide a safe environment for coaches, players and officials. Do not wait for the official to point out the problem.