Let’s start here: this play from a recent boys basketball game in Maine between Scarborough and South Portland was called a technical foul.
You saw that correctly.
As the Portland Press Herald reports, basketball referees in Vacationland are suddenly enforcing a national rule that limits how much one is allowed to grasp the rim when dunking a basketball.
Maine may have signs that say “The Way Life Should Be” when you enter the state, but that certainly doesn’t apply to the enforcement of basketball rules.
Especially to those involved in the state’s basketball scene.
“The grasping the rim rule is archaic and it needs to go,” Hampden (Maine) Academy boys coach Russ Bartlett, whose team is one of 10 playing for state championships this week, told the Press Herald.
The Press Herald reports that at least four players have been called for technical fouls on dunk attempts during the playoffs, but that none of the players hung on to the rim for more than a split-second or behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner.
In a case of “you can’t have it both ways,” similar dunks in both the tournament and during the regular season in Maine have not drawn technical fouls.
“I think it has been called differently in the playoffs than in the regular season,” Scarborough coach Phil Conley said told the Press Herald. “I just think we need to come up with a better rule because a dunk in basketball is exciting.”
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations official rule book, Rule 10, Section 4, Article 3 states: ”a player shall not: grasp either basket at any time during the game except to prevent injury; dunk or stuff, or attempt to dunk or stuff a dead ball.”
“The problem with that is we’re the only state calling it this way,” said Mike Rutherford, a Portland resident who serves as a basketball game official at both the high school and college level.
Speaking of the college level, University of Maine head coach Bob Walsh was among the many to look at the enforcement of this rule with what had to be a quizzical expression.
Rutherford told the Press Herald he believes the rule is being enforced more in the playoffs at the behest of the head of the Maine Basketball Commission.
That’s an odd rule to start enforcing, and at an odd time on the basketball calendar. Expect the refs to either scale back on calling dunk technicals, or for Maine high school hoops players to start perfecting their George “The Iceman” Gervin finger rolls. Something’s got to give.
(h/t Portland Press Herald)