NFHS Adjusts Team-Control Fouls

By Staff

Coaching Management, 13.6, August 2005,

Beginning this season, team-control fouls will no longer result in free throws for the defensive team, thanks to a rule change passed at the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee meeting in April. The rulebook now treats team-control fouls the same as player-control fouls, awarding a throw-in to the non-offending team.

According to NFHS Basketball Rules Editor and National Interpreter Mary Struckhoff, there were two primary reasons for the change. “We wanted to make it easier on officials, so they’re not forced to determine whether the offending player did or didn’t have control of the ball during the foul in a close play. From now on, any team-control or player-control foul will be treated just like a violation,” she explains. “Also, by awarding the ball instead of foul shots, we’ll be treating an offensive foul like a turnover, which is what it should be, rather than giving the defense an immediate opportunity to score.”

The restart procedure following double personal, double technical, and simultaneous fouls was also revised by the committee. Instead of using alternating-possession throw-ins, play will now resume from the point of interruption. If one team was clearly in possession at the time of the whistle, that team will retain the ball. If neither team had clear possession, alternating possession will remain in effect.

“No one should gain an advantage when both teams are penalized,” Struckhoff says, “and there was a sense that the team with the possession arrow was benefiting. Officials told us they didn’t always call double fouls when they were warranted because they knew who had the arrow. We’ve eliminated that concern.”

In another rule change, the penalty for intentionally stepping off the court, such as crossing behind the baseline during play, was reduced from a technical foul to a violation. The committee felt that the more severe penalty made referees hesitate to blow the whistle except to call the most egregious infractions. The committee also added a rule assessing a technical foul if a player removes his or her jersey within the visual confines of the playing area.

For a complete list of changes, go to:, click on Sport & Rules Information, and click on Basketball.