NFHS Case Book

Pre-Rule Content

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The basketball case book has been designated as an official supplement to the rules book by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The case book is universally used by officials who are interested in basketball game administration; by coaches and by instructors as a textbook for directed study by basketball squads; and in sports officiating courses. Basketball leaders in all sections of the country have contributed accounts, reports and summaries of situations in games under their jurisdictions. Many of the play rulings and comments are from the files of the NFHS. Much assistance has been given by the executive staffs of the member state high school associations and all who use this book in their basketball training program.


A1 and B1 are players of Team A and B respectively. A2 is a teammate of A1.

Unless stated, all plays involved a two-point field goal or try and not a threepoint goal or try.

The play numbers identify the primary Rule, Section, Article of the rules book which supports the interpretation. Play numbers are designated with a “decimal” whereas a rule reference is shown with a “dash.” Example: 7.6.1 is the case book play and 7-6-1 is the rules book reference.

New or Modified Play Rulings: Part One – All material in Part One is new. Part Two – All plays which have been revised or which are new are preceded by an asterisk(*). All material has been brought up to date to correlate with the current rules.


The interpretations and rulings for all play situations have been approved by the rules committee and are official. Additional interpretations may be secured from your state association office. The NFHS will assist in answering rules questions from state associations whenever called upon. Questionable points will be relayed to the editor of the basketball rules.

Part 1

Comments on the 2018-19 Revisions

1.13.2 SITUATION C: Officials arrive at a contest with a court length of less than 84 feet. There are no lines on the floor for the coaching box. Where should the coaching box be marked? RULING: On a court of less than 84 feet, the coaching box should be marked from the division line 14 feet toward the end line. The coaching box will extend from that mark toward the end line based on the state association’s permitted coaching box length. In this case, because the court is not 84 feet, the box may be shorter than 28 feet. On a court that is 84 feet in length or more, the coaching box will be marked from the end line 28 feet toward the division line. A mark off the court on the sideline is placed at the 28-foot line, and another mark off the court at the end line will indicate the end of the coaching box if the state association adoption is a 28-foot coaching box.

4.40.2 SITUATION: A1 sets a stationary screen with one foot on or outside a boundary line. B1 makes contact with A1 in the torso. RULING: A blocking foul is charged to A1 because a player may not be out of bounds to set a legal screen.

8.1.4b SITUATION B: A1 is fouled and is at the free-throw line. Team B refuses to occupy the first marked lane spaces. RULING: A technical foul shall be charged to Team B for unsporting conduct. The lane shall be cleared and A1 shall be given the warranted free throws. Team A’s coach will then designate who will shoot the free throws for the technical foul. The technical foul free throws will be shot. The ball will then be administered at the division line to Team A. (10-4-5)

9.9.1 SITUATION F: A1 is holding, dribbling or passing the ball near the division line in the frontcourt. B1 deflects the ball into the air. Prior to the ball touching the floor in the backcourt, the ball is (a) caught by (b) touched by (c) touches A2 who has backcourt status (or is located in the backcourt). RULING: Legal in a, b and c. (9-9-1 EXCEPTION)

Part 2

Other Play Situations

NOTE: Play number is also the principle rule reference. Other related rule references are shown at the end of the ruling. An asterisk (*) indicates a new play in Part 2 or a revised play ruling.