International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc.

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Notes from Commissioner


December 2014

Rule Change 9.1.3

Players in free throw lane line marked spaces may enter the free throw lane upon the release of the ball by the free thrower. Officials must be vividly aware of the following:

  • Free throw lane line player’s foot/feet, prior to the release of the ball, may not break the outside plane of the free throw lane line. A violation may occur – penalize.
  • A player who breaks the outside edge/plane of the free throw line with a foot/feet, prior to the ball contacting the backboard or basket ring, has committed a VIOLATION. Display the delay signal (arm extended with a closed fist) and if the free throw is not successful, sound the whistle, explain the violation, and then administer a new free throw.
  • Based upon history, there will be considerable more action within the free throw lane. Monitor the play closely and penalize illegal contact.

New Rule Addition 10.6.12 (CONTACT)–

A continued major concern about illegal contact and the need for enforcement of the rules pertaining to contact by the defense and offense once again has been addressed.

  • Rule 10.6 (contact) is directed at all contact situation. It is not simply about the defense or the offense, it is about both. It is not simply about the ball handler/dribbler, it is about all situations and players located anywhere on the court (review rule 10.1 through 11 and past points of emphasis).
  • Enforce the rule governing contact and all other rules. While doing so, have no regard for the score of the game, the time of the game or any team or player situations.
  • The rules are not more concerned about the defense’s contact than it is about the offense’s contact. Example: A offensive player bumping/jumping into/backing into an opponent , is to ruled as illegal just as the bumping,/jumping into/leaning on an opponent, by the defensive, is to be ruled as illegal.

Other Rules Needing Attention/Improvement

  • Coaching Box marks and the “X” at the Division Line in front of the Table, must be in place prior to the game beginning.
  • The Coaching Box rule is not to be treated differently than all other rules. The rule needs appropriate attention and is to be enforced. The rule and the schools expect enforcement of illegal movement and/or behavior. The rules do not allow for WARNING.
  • Dunking is legal. Upon dunking, a player’s finger(s), hand, or forearm may be in contact with the basket ring. The finger(s), hand or forearm contact will not break down the basket ring. However, grasping (closing fingers around the basket ring) will and does break down the basket ring, it is ILLEGAL. Always, penalize such action.
    Maine officiating must not have some official penalizing, Grasping and others not penalizing it.
  • Palming is the ending of a dribble. A player attempting to dribble behind the back cannot be allowed to have the ball come to rest in the hand and then throw/begin a second dribble = illegal/double dribble.
  • Traveling: Situations needing more attention and improved rulings; 1) post player with back to basket often mini-jumps, then releases the ball to dribble (traveling) which enhances the result of the overall move; 2) a player in transition, receiving a pass from a rebounder/teammate and does not handle the ball properly, resulting in the pivot foot being lifted prior to the ball being released to begin a dribble . Usually this overall movement appears fluid and athletic. However, it is a traveling violation and must be ruled as such. Simply stated, in order to make accurate traveling rulings, the official must first IDENTIFY the pivot foot.
  • Substitute(s) & Procedure:
    1. By rule substitute(s) are not to be beckoned into play prior to the HORN sounding. Honor the Table officials.
    2. The MAINE mechanic is when a throw-in or free throw is involved, is ONLY the official administering the throw-in or free throw shall admit substitute(s). Doing this eliminates illegal substitution, as only the administering official knows when the ball is about to become live.
  • Time-Out:
    1. The time-out procedure is, if possible recognize/identify the REQUEST, then if possible CHECK to learn if the request can be GRANTED, and then GRANT or do not GRANT the REQUEST;
    2. There are time-out request situations that can’t be recognized/identified nor granted.
    3. An official who is away from the location of the ball and near a Head Coach is very often guilty of illegally granting a time-out.
    4. A reminder that there MUST be Player Control, when the ball is live and in play, prior to granting a time-out.
  • 3-Point Try Situations, see the entire play - “Shooter” and defender up and down. “Shooter” back on the floor is no longer in the act of shooting; “Shooter” not back on floor and fouled – if successful, 1 free throw; if not successful, 3 free throws.

Mechanics & Signals Needing Attention/Improvement

  • Announcers are to be included in the Referee’s pre-game Table instructions….
    1. Referee, introduce self/meet the announcer;
    2. Ask – Are you aware of the standards expected of the announcer and announcements?
    3. Thank you, enjoy the game
    4. From that point on, the Athletic Director will address the announcer if there should be a need to do so
    5. Move on to the Scorer & Timer.
  • At the Site of Foul & Reporting the Foul – See & Review IAABO Manual pages 52 & 53.
  • At the Site of Violation – See & Review IAABO Manual page 36.
  • Crew of 2 & Quarter Intermissions – At game sites when there are no cheerleaders, the Umpire may be positioned in front of the center restraining circle, as per IAABO Manual page 88, and facing the Table. This positioning is more practical for informing both teams of the first horn.
  • Color - When signaling a direction, always, simultaneously announce the COLOR. Do so when ruling a violation, beginning a quarter, after a time-out, Intentional foul throw-in, Technical Foul throw-in, following a delay. etc.
  • Designated Spot – Official always begins at the side of the thrower-in; signal the designated sport, then may hand or bounce pass the ball to the thrower. Signaling is not a “secret”, it matters to all 10 players.
  • Stop the Clock Signal, every time the whistle is sounded. Upon stopping the clock, don’t hurry the signal down. Hold the signal and make eye contact with a partner(s) prior to further signaling and/or movement.
  • Lead Official –
    1. Give up the ball when it leaves your PCA. Trust partner(s), don’t ball watch.
    2. Be positioned wide toward the 3-point line and the endline intersection when the ball is on Lead’s side of the basketline;
    3. Never turn your head toward the near sideline, doing so is an indication that you are not wide enough.
    4. There is no “magic spot”, move to improve the coverage.
  • Trail Official/Trail & Center Officials –
    1. Position wise, get into the game;
    2. Be aware of PCA, FOV Cones and A,B,C coverage concepts;
    3. Prior to releasing after a try for goal, successful or unsuccessful, remain/stay and read the situation.
  • Overtime Meeting –
    1. Referee, invite Captains & Head Coaches;
    2. inform – 4 minutes, 1 additional 60-second time-out; may use remaining time-outs, AP Arrow to be reset; begin with jump ball, teams going in same direction;
    3. Instruct Timer to start the 1 minute intermission;
    4. Instruct the Scorer & Timer of overtime factors.
  • The Officials’ Role Does Not Include Being Anti-Head Coach, however;
    1. Don’t delay the game to talk with a coach, the other team wants to play and play must continue;
    2. Don’t be positioned near a Head Coach, during dead ball time or free throws, unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Officials are not to wear any form of jewelry. As with players, arms and hands are moving throughout the game and the risk of injury is present.


  • Send Technical Foul Report Form to Board Interpreter and copy the Commissioner.
  • Report any unusual incident to the Board Interpreter and copy the Commissioner.
  • Send Ejection Report to Board Interpreter and copy Commissioner. Make a personal telephone call to the Interpreter, not later than 8:00 AM the following day.
  • Keep in mind that we are servicing sport within education and the school administration is depending upon the crew of officials to assist in ensuring the experience is positive and beneficial.
  • There are two teams and each team is affected by each and every situation. Each ruling, legal or illegal, MATTERS to both teams.
  • Hopefully, the goal of each Maine IAABO official is to be improved over the 2013-14 season.

On behalf of the MPA , the MPA Basketball Committee and the MPA Basketball Commission, Thank you for your service. Best wishes for an enjoyable and successful 2014-15 season.