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NCAA releases officiating guidelines for 2013-14, emphasizes physicality

Published on October 26, 2013


The NCAA released officiating guidelines for 2013-14 with an emphasis on physicality. In order to help coaches, media and administrators understand the rules, the organization prepared a document outlining expectations for the upcoming season.

“The current rules must be enforced to allow the freedom of movement so important to our game and that officials be consistent in administering these rules. An instructional video has been prepared for coaches and officials alike so that a unified message is clear on rules related to physicality in our game and the expectations for all involved. The message for officials is clear that not all contact is illegal, but when it is, put a whistle on it regardless of time or score.”

Areas of Concern

1. Contact on and by the Ball Handler

  • Contact ON the ball handler is disrupting offensive sets and many times preventing teams from scoring.
  • Complaints and philosophical differences about too many whistles on plays away from the basket and ‘unnecessary stoppages in play’ creates an environment of hesitancy on the part of officials to call a foul on the second touch despite instructions to do so.
  • Officials are being instructed on the following points:
    • A defender is permitted one ‘measure-up touch’ and the second touch of any kind BY THE DEFENDER is a foul.
    • Defenders must not be permitted multiple touches or constant contact of any kind on the ball handler.
    • Officials must know who created the illegal contact – the ball handler or the defender.
    • Defenders must not be penalized when ball handlers create contact with legal defenders.
  • Not all contact is a foul.

2. Contact on the Shooter

  • Shooters must be protected during and after their shot attempt.
  • Officials must continue to watch the shooter’s defender to ensure that there is no illegal contact after the shot is released.
  • It doesn’t take much contact on a shooter to effect the flight of the ball.
  • When a shooter goes airborne, a defender is not permitted to move her while she is in the air, step under her or reach forward onto her arms.

3. Freedom of Movement

  • The ball handler, dribbler, cutter, rebounder or shooter must be able to move without being illegally impeded, re-routed or displaced.
  • A player’s rhythm, speed, balance and quickness (RSBQ) must not be affected by illegal contact.
  • Defenders must either get to spot ahead of the cutter or choose not to impede the cutter’s movement.
  • The constant leaning that causes displacement and the entangling of the arms is illegal.
  • Defenders who hold and impede must be penalized.
  • Every player is entitled to a spot on the floor and that spot extends from her feet upward toward the ceiling.
  • Extending one’s arms, other than vertically, is illegal when it keeps other players from being able to move freely when they contact the arms.

4. Screening

  • Setting a legal screen requires that the screener
    • Stay within her vertical plane.
    • Stance not wider than shoulder width apart.
    • Not lean into the path of the opponent.
    • Not extend hips into path of the opponent.
  • It is not an illegal screen unless there is illegal contact.
  • There will be contact on a screen and this contact is legal as long as the screener doesn’t ‘cause’ the contact or the opponent doesn’t displace the screener.
  • When a screen is set outside the visual field of an opponent, the screener must allow the opponent a normal step to move or to avoid contact by stopping or changing directions.
  • It is a legal move when someone tries to set an illegal screen and the opponent goes around it and there is no contact or marginal contact occurs that does not displace the opponent.
  • The most common mistakes screeners make is moving into an opponent and creating contact, leaning into the path of an opponent or extending the hips into the path of an opponent.

5. Sportsmanship

  • Player/Substitute technical fouls are the highest in 6 years.
  • Officials are expected to penalize unsporting behavior by players, coaches and all
  • other bench personnel regardless of time or score.
  • Egregious behavior needs no warning before assessing a technical foul.

6. 10-second back court violation (same rule as MBB)

  • First time in women’s collegiate basketball history.
  • Purpose: to reward good defense, add another strategy to our game, add excitement, increase pace of play.
  • Officials will use the shot clock to determine the 10-second count. When shot clock is off, the trail official will count and use a visible signal instead of using the shot clock for the 10-second count.
  • The ball must gain front court status before 10 seconds expires (example: count starts at 30 on the shot clock and there is continuous control in the back court, the violation occurs at 20 on the shot clock).
  • Any time there is a new throw-in into the back court, the team gets a new 10 seconds in the back court.
  • 10 second count begins:
    • On a throw-in: on a touch by any player.
    • On a jump ball or rebound: when a player controls the ball.
  • 10 second count ends (front court status gained):
    • When a passed ball touches the front court or anyone in the front court.
    • When a dribbler has both feet and the ball in the front court.

7. Elbow Foul

  • No longer an automatic Flagrant 1 for illegal contact with an elbow above the shoulders of an opponent.
  • Officials will determine whether this kind of contact is a common foul, a flagrant 1 or 2 foul or a contact dead ball technical foul.
  • The Rules Committee recognizes that officials should have the option of calling a common foul when the illegal contact is not excessive.
  • Officials are strongly encouraged to call a Flagrant 1 foul for contact that is excessive.

8. Restricted Area/ Lower Defensive Box

  • The restricted area (RA) has forced secondary defenders to come out from under the basket to guard a player who has beaten by her defender on a drive to the basket.
  • RA has kept help side defenders from being able to take a position under the basket and wait there to draw a charge. This was the intent of the rule.
  • Unintended consequence of the rule has been that defenders who do not have time to leave the RA have been unduly penalized with blocking fouls. This often happens after short rebounds, inbounds plays under the basket, and on post moves from the low post area, in particular, against zone defenses where a secondary defender is hard to identify.
  • Professional basketball has used a lower defensive box to eliminate these problem areas.
  • The women’s basketball rules committee determined that the use of this box would keep defenders from being unfairly penalized when they do not have time or space to get out of the RA and would also encourage post players to have to pull up and shoot a jumper instead of running over a defender in the RA.
  • When the player with the ball starts her move to the basket when she is outside the Lower Defensive Box (LDB) the Restricted Area rule is in effect.
  • When the player with the ball starts her move to the basket when she is inside the Lower Defensive Box (LDB) the Restricted Area rule is not in effect.
  • When in doubt whether the player with the ball is in or out of the LDB, she is out of the LDB.
  • When a player is straddling the LDB, she is considered to be inside the LDB.

9. Media Timeouts

  • A team called timeout that occurs within 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeout, replaces that media timeout (exception: first called timeout of second period).
  • 1st half- 16:30 team calls timeout this timeout replaces the 16-minute media timeout. First dead ball under 16 minutes will not be a media timeout.
  • 2nd half- 16:30 team calls timeout which is the first called timeout of the second half- this timeout does not replace the 16-minute media. First dead ball under 16 will become a media timeout.

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