A new rule change in high school basketball could change the way coaches and referees interact.
Starting next season, play will be stopped and an official warning will be given to the head coach – and recorded in the scorebook – for misconduct by the coach or other bench personnel, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
If the offense is judged to be major, a technical foul shall be assessed.
The new rule was one of the five changes recommended by the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee at its April 10-12 meeting in Indianapolis, and all changes were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Per the NFHS, in addition to misconduct violations related to Rule 10-5, the head coach will be officially warned for the first violation of Rule 10-6-1 regarding the coaching box. Additionally, Rules 4-48-1 and 4-48-2 will both have a piece stating that a warning is not a requirement prior to calling a technical foul.
“Stopping play and making sure that the bench and the coach know that an official warning has been given sends a clear message to everyone in the gym and impacts the behavior of the coach, and in some cases the behavior of the opposing coach,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials and liaison to the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee. “This change in behavior creates a better atmosphere and, many times, avoids the need to administer a technical foul.”
With the new warning perhaps in mind, the rules committee also approved enlarging the coaching box from 14 feet to 28 feet. State associations may alter the length and placement of the 28-foot coaching box.
There are several other additional rules, per the NFHS:
Changes in Rules 3-4-1d and 3-4-4 regarding uniforms were approved by the committee, including restrictions on identifying names that can be placed in the allowable area of the jersey. Identifying names on uniforms must adhere to the following: school name, school nickname, school logo, player’s name and/or abbreviation of the official school name. The panel in the shoulder area on the back of the jersey may be used for placing an identifying name as well.
The committee also approved a change in the way officials signal a foul against a player. After verbally informing the offender, the official shall use fingers on two hands to indicate to the scorer the number of the offender and the number of free throws.
The misconduct warning for coaches, of course, is the new rule that stands out. We just have to wait until the 2017-2018 season to see how it plays out.