By VAN HOLLAND
During a recent session in April, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee made five rule changes to the game.
The first part of the session talked about safety and fighting on the court. After voting, the board decided to revise Rule 10-4-5.
Beginning in 2014, the revised rule states that head coaches in high school basketball will be allowed to come onto the court in an effort to break up a fight or to keep a situation from escalating into one.
Before the rule was revised, head coaches could only enter the court if beckoned by an official.
While the head coach and his/her assistants must continue to ensure that players remain on the bench during a fight, the committee agreed that the presence of the head coach on the court could be instrumental in preventing the situation from escalating. The coach could also assist game officials in controlling the situation at hand.
"By removing the requirement of the head coach being beckoned onto the floor by the officials it should result in a more expedient resolution of the situation and restoration of order," Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials education, said in a press release. "The change also will allow the officials a greater opportunity to assess appropriate penalties by being able to observe the situation because of the increased assistance the head coaches will provide by their presence."
In other changes, the rules committee approved the use of electronic devices during the game in certain instances. Rule 1-19 now will allow a coach to take advantage of electronic devices for the use of coaching and gathering statistics.
Teams however, cannot use electronic equipment for voice communication with players on the court and the use of electronic audio and/or video devices are not allowed to review a decision of the contest officials.
In an effort to thwart the use of leg-compression sleeves for non-medical reasons, the committee added leg-compression sleeves to the requirements of arm-compression sleeves in Rule 3-5-3.
Leg compression sleeves shall be white, black, beige or a single solid school color. It shall be the same color for each team member and must meet the logo requirements in Rule 3-6. It must only be worn for medical reasons.
The final rule change approved by the committee for the 2013-2014 season will permit a single, visible manufacture's logo or trademark/reference on the team jersey and it is not to exceed 2 1/4 square inches with no dimension more than 2 1/4 inches. The manufacture's logo may be located no more than five inches below the neckline on the back of the jersey or in either side insert.
In addition to these rule changes, the committee approved a new defensive tip signal that will be added to the Basketball Officials Manual. This signal will be given by the official when the ball enters the backcourt as a result of contact with the defensive player.
Basketball is the second-most popular sport for girls and third-most popular for boys at the high school level, according to the 2011-2012 High School Athletics Participation Survey that was conducted by the NFHS. The survey shows that 435,885 girls and 535,289 boys participate nationwide.
The sport ranks first in school sponsorship of girls and boys teams with 17,768 schools sponsoring the sport for girls and 18,099 sponsoring the sport for boys.