Excel H Sports “Shootin’ the Stars” Returns

Shootin’ the Stars: Rules changes effective this season start at the free throw line

By Mike Beas

Between the era of school consolidations, long-lost sectionals and cherished memories of iconic gymnasiums years removed from their last bounce pass, Indiana high school basketball has demonstrated an ability to weather change.

This time around, we’ll have company.

Rule changes implemented in time for the start of the 2023-24 girls’ and boys’ seasons are being recognized nation-wide, per the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Some, honestly, are pretty subtle. The kind of changes that probably won’t be detected during the course of a game.

Then there is one that, at least early in the season, will have fans exchanging bewildered looks.

It is:

Rule 4-8-1: Eliminates the one-and-one for common fouls beginning with the seventh team foul in the half and establishes the bonus as two free throws awarded for a common foul beginning with the team’s fifth foul in each quarter and resets the fouls at the end of each quarter.

Rationale: Improves flow by providing an opportunity for teams to adjust their play by not carrying over fouls from quarters 1 and 3 to quarters 2 and 4 while significantly reducing the opportunity for correctable errors to occur. Minimizes risk of injury by eliminating the one-and-one and reducing opportunities for rough play during rebounding opportunities.

“It’s the biggest rule change, I think,” said, Mike Armstrong, Franklin girls basketball coach, who previously coached at Perry Meridian, and ranks 15th all-time in career victories among Indiana girls’ basketball coaches with 449. “I think it’s a chance to more align the rule with the women’s collegiate rule in games that are played in quarters, and not in halves.

“I wish we would have kept the one-and-one. But I think it’s a positive rule change in that, one, your team doesn’t get buried in the bonus with fouls early in the game. I’m hoping maybe officials will call more fouls knowing that you won’t get to the bonus early and extend the length of the game or whatever.”

Other rules changes aren’t so obvious.

Rule 7-5-2 thru 4: Establishes four throw-in spots (the nearest 28-foot mark along each sideline or the nearest spot 3-feet outside the lane line on the end line) when a team gains or retains possession in their frontcourt after the opponent commits a violation, a common foul prior to the bonus, or the ball becomes dead (i.e. inadvertent whistle or a held ball).

Rationale: Simplifies throw-in procedure when a team gains or retains possession for situations other than an out-of-bounds throw-in.

Rule 7-6-6: Allows the official administering a throw-in to the wrong team to correct the mistake before the first dead ball after the ball becomes live unless there is a change of possession.

Rationale: Allows for a correction of an official’s mistake in a more reasonable timeframe.

9-3-3: Establishes that a player may step out of bounds without penalty unless they are the first player to touch the ball after returning to the court or if they left the court to avoid a violation.

Rationale: Allows a player to step out of bounds if they gain no advantage and penalizes a team only if they gain an advantage by leaving the court and returning to avoid a violation or to be the first to touch the ball.

“I think they’re subtle,” Armstrong said of the other rules changes. “They’ve gone to the four spots where you can take the ball out of bounds in the half-court. Those rules changes are more for officials to clean up the game.

“I don’t think they have an impact on the game like the free throw change.”

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