What's the Call Ref?

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In this section Tony Chodan, former CYO Head official-Assignor and current NFHS Basketball Rules Advisor will highlight certain rules or game situations.

Don’t Forget the Tip!  

There has been change this season to the backcourt rule. If while the ball is in the front court it is tipped by the defense into the backcourt , an offensive player who has already established backcourt status prior to the ball being tipped may recover the ball without penalty.  In previous seasons, this would have been a violation. (Rule 9.9.1 exception)



Watch those feet!   

During a free-throw, players in lane spaces only may enter the lane once the ball is released. The defender boxing out the free-thrower shall not cross the free-throw line into the semicircle until the ball contacts the ring or backboard. If that defender touches the free-throw line, it is a violation. If he or she contacts the free-thrower, it is a foul. Also, be advised that the term boxing out refers to gaining position and not sticking your rear end, shoulders, or elbow into a player in order to gain that position.



Hands Off!


You may have noticed a few more fouls being called this year during basketball games. That is the result of the new rule added to the NFHS RULES BOOK. Rule 10-6-12 states that the following acts constitute a foul when committed against a ball handler/dribbler:


1.Placing two hands on the player


2. Placing an extended arm bar on the player


3. Placing and keeping a hand on the player


4. Contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands


For years, these infractions were points of emphasis in the rule book. However, officials were not consistent in handling these situations. Thus, a specific rule now addresses these actions which give officials little latitude in addressing them..


During a recent high school game I was officiating, my partner and I called four quick fouls on the home team for the illegal actions described above. The coach complained that he taught his team to play defense that way. My response: "You better teach them something else, coach." A game which could have become physical ended up being a very well played contest.


A major misconception among fans and coaches is that the defender must be stationary to take a charge. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once the defender has established a legal guarding position, he or she may move backward or laterally to keep pace with the ball handler. As long as the defender does not move into the offensive player, any contact should be called against the offense. For example, if a player decides to dribble up the sideline, there is no rule that the defender has to allow that player to do so with impunity. As long as he or she has established a legal guarding position, the contact goes against the offensive player, and a player control foul is the called. If player A is dribbling quickly up the court, passes the ball and then runs into a defender, that is a team control foul. Remember that player control and team control fouls are never shot even if a team is in the bonus.
I am not talking here about a trip to some exotic location, but rather what happens on a basketball court. I would like to clear up some misconceptions. A player who dives on the floor, gets possession of the ball, and then slides for ten feet is not guilty of a violation. If the player is on his or her back, that player may sit up without penalty. If the player is on his or her stomach with the ball and then turns over or attempts to get up, that is a violation of the traveling rule. In order to be called for traveling, the player must have control of the ball. Thus, if A1 passes to A2, and A2 is fumbling the ball, the travel rule is not in effect until control is gained. Also, once a player lifts the pivot foot, the player must pass or shoot before putting that pivot foot back onto the floor in order to avoid a whistle.
Let's Get Technical
Both shots for a technical foul do not have to be taken by the same player. Any starter or substitute may attempt one or both shots. However, if a player fouled in the act of shooting is unable to go to the line due to an injury, his or her substitute must shoot all shots. The injured player may not return to the game until the next opportunity after the clock has started. Whenever there are double fouls of any type, no shots are taken, and the team who had the ball prior to the fouls being called retains possession at the point of interruption.

Can you say "disconcertion"?
This is one of my favorite calls because it usually sends coaches and fans alike scurrying for their dictionaries. When players are lined up along the lane for a free throw, if the defense does anything to distract the shooter like talking to him or her, clapping their hands, waving fingers in the lane, have a sudden coughing fit, etc., this qualifies as disconcertion. The official will hold out his or her fist out to the side to signal that the violation has occurred and wait to see if the free thrower makes the shot. If the shot is good, the official will simply put the hand down. If the shot is not made, the disconcertion call will be made, and the shooter will be allowed another shot.

Uniform Numbers:
It's a game of numbers. At all levels of basketball except for the pros, no single digit on a uniform can be higher than 5. Thus, 55 is the greatest number that can appear on a player's uniform. The reason for this is so that the official does not have to use more than one hand when signaling the number of a player who has committed a foul. The penalty for violating this rule is a technical foul assessed directly to the head coach since he or she is responsible for making sure that the team's uniforms are legal. While we do allow some latitude in this area when it comes to CYO, it is incumbent upon coaches and atheletic directors to keep the rule in mind when ordering uniforms. Do not assume that the company you order from will automatically supply you with jerseys that have legal numbers. You should specify the numbers you want.

Is a fall a foul?
Whenever a player falls, most fans and coaches are looking for a whistle. The fact is that players fall for many reasons, and not all of them constitute a foul being called. If a player trips over an opponent's foot, or falls while trying to squeeze between two defenders for a lay up, these are not situations that require a call. The same goes for two players who arrive at a spot at the same time going for a loose ball, collide, and fall. There are also times when the shooter is off balanced and falls after making a shot without any contact. Of course, the pee wees are known for falling over imaginary obstacles all the time, but they usually bounce back quite nicely. :)

Kicked Ball
Many times fans think that if a ball hits a defender's foot, it is automatically a "kicked ball". In order for the official to make that call, it must be an intentional act by the player with any part of his or her leg. If the offensive player makes an errant pass that hits the defender's foot, it is not a kick. It's just a bad pass. Also, please remember that the three quarter automatic substitution rule is just for the pee wees. Fifth and sixth grade teams must switch every four minutes for the first half only. If the coach wants to do it for three quarters anyway, that is up to him or her, and the opposing coach does not have to abide by the same procedure.

Nothing but Air:
What's the call when a player takes a shot and it misses everything including the backboard and it lands back in his or her hands? If that player in the NBA, it's a travel. If he she is playing high school ball or at a lower level, there is no call! Growing up in Brooklyn, we used to call that a "self". However, in organized ball as long as the official feels that the player made a legitimate attempt to shoot at the basket, he or she can shoot again or start a new dribble. On another note, when is it a good idea after a game to complain to an official about a call? Answer-NEVER


Over the Back:
Aren't you going to call "over the back"? You will at times hear fans and coaches at basketball games yelling about "over the back". The fact is that there is no such violation or call in basketball. If a player is a foot taller than the person in front of him, he will certainly be over his back, but we do not penalize someone for being tall just like we do not look the other way when a shorter player is pushing his way through a larger one to gain a better position on the court. If a player pushes another one in order to get a rebound, then the call is a push and not "over the back". Another call you will not find in the rule book is "reaching in". A player can reach as much as he or she likes. If the reaching results in contact, then the contact is called and not the act of reaching.


Three Second Rule:
Got a second? How about three? I often hear fans, players, and coaches alike yelling about "three seconds". While it is true that an offensive player cannot occupy the offensive lane for more than three seconds, once a shot is taken, there is no team control and thus, no three second call. So if player A who has a big height advantage goes in for a lay up, misses, gets the rebound and continues shooting, there is no call unless he or she gets the rebound and simply holds on to it. Also, officials will tend to be more lenient with this call on the pee wee level. If you have ever watched one of these contests, you know that there is no real advantage gained by staying in the lane as the ball bounces off hands and heads before someone finally gains control.


Team Uniforms and undershirts
On another matter, this year in CYO we have stated that gray t-shirts can be warn under the jersey as a neutral color. Therefore, all players on a team can wear t-shirts that match the predominant color of the uniform or gray t-shirts. You cannot have both on the same team!
Have fun

CYO Leaue Rules:
A Little Housekeeping It is important for all site managers to make sure that the CYO rules are accessible to officials and coaches alike. Also, keep in mind that the pee wee division is instructional. The defense must stay within the three point arc or behind the designated line if the gym does not have a three point arc as is the case with the Caldwell School. However, once the ball breaks the plane of either as the result of a pass or the ball handler dribbling past it, the defense is then allowed to come out and defend anywhere in the front court. Please feel free to contact me if further clarification is needed. Each gym should have some type of arrow on the table to indicate possession. It would also not be a bad idea for coaches to have a bottle of hand sanitizer for their teams or one placed at the scorer's table. Doing this would give new meaning to "keeping the game clean".


Coaching styles:
Team A is up by 20 points with 3 minutes to go and Team A puts 5 substitutes in the game. Team B sees that team A has its non-starters in and puts in his starters in and presses. Team A coach says to Team B coach “why are you pressing me? Do you want to put my starters back in and beat you by 40!” I did that so we can get the rest of the team in and give them more time.

Who is correct in their coaching style?............NEITHER is the answer. Though the coach of Team “A” thought he was being “nice” by letting Team B’s coach the opportunity of getting in his substitutes in earlier. Thus was not the case, you see that was the first time Team A’s star player sat down. It was pretty apparent at 16-0 who was going to win the game. As for Team B’s coach pressing is not the right thing to do either. We all want to teach our kids never to quit, but look at the big picture. Put your subs in and let them run and have fun. Let us be good Catholics and don’t run the scores up, substitute the entire game (not just at the end) and let the kids and yourselves have fun.


NOVEMBER 18, 2019  - Backcourt Ruling

Backcourt rule changed AGAIN! Last year rule 9.9.1 (exception) stipulated that if a ball was deflected by the defense into the backcourt, an offensive player could only retrieve it without penalty if he or she had established position in the backcourt prior to the ball being deflected. That stipulation has been removed allowing any offensive player to retrieve it after the ball has been deflected by a defensive player without being assessed with a backcourt violation.  


NOVEMBER 18, 2019 - HeadBand Ruling

This year a headband can now be three inches wide as opposed to two