Section 1 - Team, Captain
Each team consists of five players, one of whom is the captain.
NOTE: A team must begin the game with five players, but if it has no substitutes to replace disqualified or injured players, it must continue with fewer than five. When there is only one player participating for a team, the team shall forfeit the game, unless the referee believes that team has an opportunity to win the game.
The captain is the representative of his/her team and may address an official on matters of interpretation or to obtain essential information, if it is done in a courteous manner. Any player may address an official to request a time-out or permission to leave the court.
Section 2 - Rosters, Starters, Numbers
At least 10 minutes before the scheduled starting time, each team shall supply the official scorer with the name and number of each team member and designate the five starting players. Failure to comply results in a technical foul (see 10-1-1 PENALTY).
After the 10-minute time limit specified in Article 1, a team is charged with a maximum of one technical foul regardless of how many infractions of the following are committed (see 10-1-2 PENALTY):
a. Changing a designated starter, unless necessitated by illness, injury, illegal equipment or apparel, etc., or to attempt a technical foul free throw.
b. Adding a name to the team member list.
c. Requiring the scorer to change a team member’s or player’s number in the scorebook.
d. Requiring a player to change to the number in the scorebook.
e. Having identical numbers on team members and/or players.
Section 3 - Substitution
A substitute who desires to enter shall report to the scorer, giving his/her number.
a. Between quarters, at halftime and during a time-out, the substitute must report or be in position to report to the scorer, prior to the warning signal which is sounded 15 seconds before the end of the intermission or the time-out.
NOTE: When the substitute(s) is not properly reported, the player(s) in the game at the conclusion of the quarter when the time-out was granted shall begin play for the new quarter after the time-out.
b. Substitutions between halves may be made by the substitute or a team representative.
c. During multiple free throws resulting from personal fouls, substitutions may be made only before the final attempt in the sequence and after the final attempt has been scored.
EXCEPTION: When a player is required by rule to be replaced prior to administering the free throw(s), then all other substitutes who have legally reported may also enter the game.
d. If entry is at any time other than between quarters, and a substitute who is entitled and ready to enter reports to the scorer, the scorer shall use a sounding device or game horn, if, or as soon as, the ball is dead and the clock is stopped.
e. A captain may request a defensive match-up if three or more substitutes from the same team enter during an opportunity to substitute.
The substitute shall remain outside the boundary until an official beckons, whereupon he/she shall enter immediately. If the ball is about to become live, the beckoning signal should be withheld. The entering substitute shall not replace a designated jumper or a free thrower except as in 8-2 and 8-3. If the substitute enters to replace a player who must jump or attempt a free throw, he/she shall withdraw until the next opportunity to substitute.
A substitute becomes a player when he/she legally enters the court. If entry is not legal, the substitute becomes a player when the ball becomes live. A player becomes bench personnel after his/her substitute becomes a player or after notification of the coach following his/her disqualification.
A player who has been replaced, or directed to leave the game shall not re-enter before the next opportunity to substitute after the clock has been started properly following his/her replacement.
A player not wearing the pants/skirt properly and above the hips and/or a player not tucking in a team jersey (front and back) designed to be worn inside the pants/skirt, shall be directed to leave the game as in 3-3-4; a charged time-out shall not alter this requirement.
A player who has been injured to the extent that the coach or any other bench personnel is beckoned and comes onto the court shall be directed to leave the game, unless a time-out is requested by, and granted to, his/her team and the situation can be corrected by the end of the time-out.
A player who is bleeding, has an open wound, has any amount of blood on his/her uniform, or has blood on his/her person, shall be directed to leave the game until the bleeding is stopped, the wound is covered, the uniform and/or body is appropriately cleaned, and/or the uniform is changed before returning to competition, unless a time-out is requested by, and granted to, his/her team and the situation can be corrected by the end of the time-out. (See NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Sports Hygiene, Skin Infections and Communicable Diseases)
NOTES: (ARTS. 6, 7)
1. If players from both teams are directed to leave the game because of injury/blood, both teams must request and be granted a time-out in order to keep each player in the game, as in 5-11-8.
2. A time-out granted to keep a player in the game must be requested before the replacement interval begins.
Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional. (See NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion in Sports)
Section 4 - Uniforms
Team jersey color and design shall adhere to the following:
a. The torso of the team jersey shall be the same single solid color for all team members.
b. The torso is the portion of the jersey from an imaginary line at the base of the neckline extending to each armhole, down to the bottom hem of the jersey and from side seam/insert to side seam/insert. The imaginary line at the base of the neckline shall not extend beyond 1½ inches from the lowest point of the neckline apex/opening.
c. The torso color shall be white for the home team and a contrasting dark color for the visiting team.
NOTE: It is recommended that the dark torso color for the visiting team be the darker color of the school’s color scheme or black.
d. There are no color/design restrictions in the area of the team jersey from the imaginary line at the base of the neckline to the top of the shoulder and in the corresponding area on the back of the jersey. There are restrictions on what identifying names may be placed in this area. (3-4-4)
e. Side inserts, including trim/piping/accent color(s), shall be no more than 4 inches in width (2 inches on each side of seam) of any color(s) or design, centered vertically below the armpit. Side inserts for all team jerseys shall be the same width.
f. Trim, piping or an accent color differing from the torso color shall not exceed 1 inch around the arm openings, except as in item d above.
Logos/flags/patches shall adhere to the following:
a. A visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference is permitted on the team jersey, not to exceed 2¼ square inches with no dimension more than 2¼ inches. The manufacturer’s logo may be located no more than 5 inches below the shoulder seam on the front of the jersey, or 2 inches from the neckline on the back of the jersey; or in either side insert.
b. The American flag may be worn anywhere on the team jersey provided it does not exceed 2 x 3 inches and does not interfere with the visibility of the player’s number.
c. By state association adoption, one commemorative/memorial patch may be worn on the jersey. The patch shall not exceed 4 square inches, shall not be a number and must be located above the neckline or in the side insert.
d. A school or conference logo/mascot may be located at the apex/opening of the neckline or above it, in the corresponding area on the back of the jersey and/or in either side insert.
Numbers shall adhere to the following:
a. Team jerseys shall include the team member’s number, which shall be at least 6 inches high on the back and at least 4 inches high on the front and not less than 3/4 inch in width excluding the border.
b. The number(s) shall be centered vertically and horizontally on the portion of the jersey that is intended to be visible.
c. The number(s) on the front and back of the team jersey shall be the same color and style.
d. Each team member shall be numbered on the front and back of the team jersey with plain Arabic numerals. The following numbers are legal: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 00, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55. A team member list shall not have both numbers 0 and 00.
e. No more than three colors may be used on the number. The style of the number must be clearly visible and conform to one of the following:
1. A solid contrasting color with no more than two solid color 1/4-inch borders around the entire number. If the team jersey color is used as a border, it must be counted as one of the allowed colors.
2. The team jersey color itself when bordered with not more than two 1/4-inch solid border(s) contrasting with the team jersey color.
3. A solid contrasting color with a “shadow” trim of a contrasting color on part of the number not to exceed 1/2 inch in width and may be used with one 1/4-inch border.
Identifying name(s) shall adhere to the following:
a. If used, lettering with school name, school’s nickname, school logo name, player’s name and/or abbreviations of the official school name shall be placed horizontally on the jersey.
b. The panel in the shoulder area of the jersey on the back may be used for placing identifying names as well.
c. Lettering above a number may be arched, but the first and last letters must be on the same horizontal plane, such plane shall not be below a plane extending through the top of the number(s).
d. Lettering below a number must have the first and last letters on the same horizontal plane and said plane shall not be above a plane extending through the bottom of the numbers(s).
e. Any point on any letter shall not be closer than one inch to any point on any number(s).
f. Any form of decorative accent (e.g., paw, halo, crown, star) in an identifying name or abbreviation is only permitted if the name or abbreviation is located above the number.
g. If a tail is used in the lettering of an identifying name or abbreviation, the name or abbreviation must be located below the number.
Uniform pants/skirts shall have only one visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference. See 3-6-2 for size requirements. Showing multiple manufacturer’s logos on the waist band of the pants/skirts makes the item illegal.
Section 5 - Team Member's Equipment, Apparel
The referee shall not permit any team member to wear equipment or apparel which, in his/her judgment, is dangerous or confusing to other players or is not appropriate.
NOTE: Each state association may, in keeping with applicable laws, authorize exceptions to NFHS playing rules to provide reasonable accommodations to individual participants with disabilities and/or special needs, as well as those individuals with unique and extenuating circumstances. The accommodations should not fundamentally alter the sport, heighten risk to the athlete/others or place opponents at a disadvantage.
Guards, casts and braces must meet the following guidelines:
a. A guard, cast or brace made of a hard and unyielding substance, such as, but not limited to, leather, plaster, plastic or metal shall not be worn on the elbow, hand, finger/thumb, wrist or forearm; even though covered with soft padding.
b. Hard and unyielding items (guards, casts, braces, etc.) on the upper arm or shoulder must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than ½” thick.
c. Knee and ankle braces which are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production are permitted and do not require any additional padding/covering nor do the braces need to meet the color restrictions.
NOTE: A brace is defined as anything worn for a medical purpose to increase stability. In general, it is made of neoprene or elastic knit with an insert embedded to support the joint. It may or may not have a hinge and/or straps or an opening over the kneecap.
d. A protective face mask may be worn and made of hard material, but must be worn molded to the face with no protrusions.
e. Must be worn for medical reasons.
Arm sleeves, knee sleeves, lower leg sleeves, compression shorts and tights are permissible:
a. Anything worn on the arm and/or leg is a sleeve, except a knee brace, and shall meet the color restrictions.
b. The sleeves/tights, compression shorts shall be black, white, beige or the predominant color of the jersey and the same color sleeves/tights shall be worn by teammates.
c. All sleeves/tights, compression shorts shall be the same solid color and must be the same color as any headband or wristband worn.
d. Meet the logo requirements in 3-6.
Wristbands and headwear shall meet the following guidelines:
a. Headbands and wristbands shall be white, black, beige or the predominant color of the jersey and shall be the same color for each item and all participants. They must be the same color as any sleeve/tights worn. See 3-6 for logo requirements.
b. A headband is any item that goes around the entire head. It must be a circular design without extensions. If worn, only one headband is permitted, it must be worn on the forehead/crown, it must be nonabrasive and unadorned, and it must be a maximum of 2 inches wide.
c. If worn, only one wristband is permitted on each wrist, each must be worn on the arm below the elbow, each must be moisture-absorbing, nonabrasive and unadorned, and each must be a maximum of 4 inches wide.
d. Rubber, cloth or elastic bands may be used to control hair. Hard items, including, but not limited to, beads, barrettes and bobby pins, are prohibited.
e. Head decorations and headwear, except those specified above, are prohibited.
EXCEPTION: State associations may on an individual basis permit a player to participate while wearing a head covering if it meets the following criteria:
a. For medical or cosmetic reasons – In the event a participant is required by a licensed medical physician to cover his/her head with a covering or wrap, the physician’s statement is required before the state association can approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely that it will come off during play.
b. For religious reasons – In the event there is documented evidence provided to the state association that a participant may not expose his/her uncovered head, the state association may approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely it will come off during play.
Equipment which is unnatural and/or designed to increase a team member’s height or vertical reach or to gain a competitive advantage shall not be permitted. Equipment and apparel shall not be modified from the original manufactured state and shall be worn in the manner the manufacturer intended it to be worn.
Undershirts shall be a single solid color similar to the torso of the jersey and shall be hemmed and not have frayed or ragged edges. If the undershirt has sleeves, they shall be the same length. Only one visible logo is permitted. See 3-6 for logo requirements.
Jewelry is prohibited. Religious and medical-alert medals are not considered jewelry. A religious medal must be taped and worn under the uniform. A medical-alert medal must be taped and may be visible.
Section 6 - Logo/Trademark/Reference
One visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference or school logo/mascot is permitted on the wristbands, headband, compression shorts, undershirts, and arm and leg compression sleeves. (3-5-3, 3-5-4, 3-5-6).
The size shall be limited to 2¼ square inches and shall not exceed 2¼ inches in any dimension on any item.
Section 7 - Safety Concerns
The referee shall not permit any team member to participate if in his/her judgment any item constitutes a safety concern, such as, but not limited to, a player’s fingernails or hairstyle.