Correctable Errors

To understand and properly apply the correctable error rule, 4 questions must be answered:

  • WHAT are the correctable errors?
  • WHEN are they correctable?
  • HOW are errors corrected?
  • WHO may appeal?

What are the Correctable Errors?

There are only 5 correctable errors. 4 of the 5 involve free throws and occur when the ball is dead. They are:

  • Failure to aware a merited free throw
  • Awarding an unmerited free throw
  • Permitting a wrong player to attempt a free throw
  • Attempting a free throw at the wrong basket

Only the fifth correctable error can occur while the clock is running (ball is live) and that is:

  • Erroneously counting or canceling a score

When are Errors Correctable?

Errors can only be corrected¬†“BEFORE the ball becomes live AFTER the next dead ball.”¬†Each of the 5 correctable errors may be corrected if they are recognized before the second live ball after the error occurs and after the clock starts or is already running.

  • an error that occurs when the clock is stopped can be corrected no later than the first dead ball after the clock has properly started
  • an error that occurs when the clock is running can be corrected before the second live ball

How are Errors Corrected?

To correct an error, the official must:

  • recognize it as one of the 5 correctable errors
  • determine that the time frame for correction has not elapsed
  • apply the correction
    • cancel any unmerited, wrong basket or wrong player free throws and activity during such free throws other than unsporting, flagrant, intentional or technical fouls
    • administer any bypassed, merited, right basket or right player free throws
    • count any errroneously canceled score
    • cancel any erroneously counted score

Who may Appeal?

NFHS Rule 5-8-4 specifies that a head coach may appeal by requesting that a correctable error be recognized by an official. When such an appeal is made it must be honored by a review by an official. A head coach may, by rule, request a timeout to prevent or rectify a correctable error. When such a timeout is requested by the head coach and a correctable error is recognized as result, no timeout is charged. NFHS Rules also allow the head coach to confer with personnel at the scorer’s table to request a timeout to prevent or rectify a correctable error. In practice, a coach, table personnel or player may alert an official to the possibility of a correctable error.