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Basketball Rules Changes - 2015-16

By NFHS on May 20, 2015 Basketball Share

10-6-12: The following acts constitute a foul when committed against a ball handler/dribbler.  A player becomes a ball handler when he/she receives the ball.  This would include a player in a post position.


  1. Placing two hands on the player.
  2. Placing an extended arm bar on the player.
  3. Placing and keeping a hand on the player.
  4. Contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.


Officials Signal Chart and Officials Manual: Establish a signal to be used after a basket is made and there is a stoppage in play.  The signal is used by the officials to indicate the team inbounding the ball may run the baseline. 

The signal will be executed by extending the arm laterally, bending the elbow at a 90-degree angle, moving the hand and forearm from the elbow in a waving motion horizontally along the end line.  A new picture will need to be added to the signal chart.

2015-16 Major Editorial Changes

3-4-2c: By state association adoption one commemorative/memorial patch may be worn on the jersey. The patch shall not exceed 4 square inches, shall not be a number and must be located above the neckline or in the side insert.

3-5-3c: All sleeves/tights shall be the same solid color and must be the same color as any headband or wristband worn.

3-5-4a: Headbands and wristbands shall be black, white, beige or the predominant color of the jersey and the same color for each item and all participants. They must be the same color as any sleeve/tights worn. See 3-6 for logo requirements.


  1. Post Play
  2. Rebounding
  3. Free Throw Shooter
  4. NFHS Signals and Mechanics

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National Federation of State High School Associations

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF STATE HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS Sign In Register Activities & Sports NFHS For You We Are High School™ Resources Home Sports Resource Content Basketball Rules Interpretations - 2015-16 Basketball Rules Interpretations - 2015-16 By NFHS on October 14, 2015 basketball Share Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.

Robert B. Gardner, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2015

Rule Book Corrections: Page 56, 2015-16 NFHS Basketball Rules omission: 9-1-3 Penalty 4b should read “If the second violation is by the free thrower or a teammate behind the free-throw line extended and the three-point line, both violations are penalized, as in penalty item (3).

Rule 9-1-3a: delete “or backboard”

Case Book Corrections:

Page 22, Situation 3.5.3 B: Substitute A6 reports to enter the game to replace A1. A5, presently in the game, is wearing beige compression sleeves on his/her arm and leg. A6 is wearing a black headband and wristbands. Ruling: A6 and A5 are is not allowed to enter the game because the rules require all team players to wear the same allowable color sleeves, headbands and wristbands. No penalty is involved. A6 and A5 simply cannot participate until the color restrictions are corrected. (3.5.3)

Clarification Preseason Guide Article “Enforce Illegal Contact on Free Thrower and Violations During Free Throw”, page 6, second paragraph: The free thrower must remain within the free throw semi-circle until the ball contacts the basket ring or the shot is made or missed. The same rule applies to all other players who do not occupy free throw lane line marked spaces. Players who occupy free throw lane line marked spaces during free throws may enter the free-throw lane upon the free thrower releasing the ball; however, should a defensive player cross the free-throw line too soon, it is a violation. A delayed violation signal is to be displayed. If the free throw is successful, the violation is ignored. If a defender contacts the free thrower, a personal foul is the correct ruling. If the free throw is unsuccessful, the violation is enforced and a substitute free throw is awarded. If a defender contacts the free thrower, a personal foul is the correct ruling. Whether the free throw is or is not successful, the penalty for the personal foul is awarded. If the free thrower’s team is in a bonus situation, the free thrower would be awarded a one-and-one or two free throws. If the free thrower’s team is not in a bonus situation, his or her team would be awarded a throw-in along the end line.

Comment: Rule 9-1 does not address the issue of players, other than the free thrower during the free throw, entering the semi-circle. The national interpretation on this issue is during the free throw, anyone entering the semi-circle has created a violation. If it is a team member who violates, the ball should be blown dead immediately. If an opponent violates, it is a delayed lane violation and the free thrower should be awarded a substitute throw if the free throw is missed.

SITUATION 1: The opponent makes contact with the free-throw shooter before the free throw reaches the basket. The free throw is missed. RULING: The official should rule a violation on the opponent and a personal foul. (9-1-2g Penalty 2b)

SITUATION 2: After A1 releases the ball on a free throw try, B1 steps into the lane and backs across the free-throw line to box out the free-throw shooter then makes contact with the free-throw shooter. The free throw is missed. RULING: The official should rule a delayed violation on the opponent. A1 will be awarded a substitute free throw and the contact is ruled a foul. The substitute free throw would be administered with the free-throw lane spaces unoccupied. (9-1-2g Penalty 2b)

SITUATION 3: During a free throw by A1, B1 pushes A2 and B2 is in the lane before the ball is released. RULING: Delayed violation and penalize the foul. If Team A is in the bonus, shoot one-and-one. If Team A is not in the bonus, A gets the ball for a throw-in along the endline. If the free throw is not successful, award a substitute free throw and also penalize the foul as a personal foul (live ball). The substitute free throw would be administered with the free throw lane spaces not occupied. (9-1-2 Penalty 2b)

SITUATION 4: An official notices members of Team A are wearing headbands that have extensions. RULING: Illegal. The coach should be informed that the headbands with extensions are illegal and the players will not be allowed to enter the game wearing them. (3-4-5b)

SITUATION 5: During warm-ups, A1 is wearing black tights, A2 is wearing a white headband and matching white wristbands. Both meet the definition of the rule as it relates to color. RULING: The officials should work with the coach, prior to the game, when they see several colors being worn by team members. Officials should be proactive in this situation. The coach needs to take responsibility to make sure team members are dressed properly. (3-5-3,4)


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