Basketball Rules Changes

Football Rules Changes

2017-18 Basketball Rules Changes

1-13-2: The coaching box shall be outlined outside the side of the court on which the scorer's and timer's table and team benches are located. The area shall be bounded by a line drawn 28 feet from the end line towards the Division line. At this point a line drawn from the sideline toward the team bench becomes the end of the coaching box going towards the end line.

Note: State Associations may alter the length and placement of the 28 foot (maximum) coaching box.

Effective Immediately. Tape may be used to extend the 14-foot line to 28 feet.

Rationale: The restriction of the coaching box penalizes the level of communication between coach and player. Allowing a coach freedom to move within the new box between the 28’ mark and the end line provides a coach more access to coach his/her players.

2-9-1: When a foul occurs, an official shall signal the timer to stop the clock. The official shall verbally inform the offender, then with finger(s) of two hands, indicate to the scorer the number of the offender and the number of free throws.

Rationale: To minimize foul reporting errors, that occur between the officials and the scorekeepers when the information gets lost in the translation. Two handed reporting is easier for the scorekeepers to see and comprehend in addition to being less confusing.

3-4-1d: 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 (see Article 3-4-4).

Rationale: Provide guidance on the forthcoming restrictions for this area of the jersey.

3-4-4: Identifying name(s) shall adhere to the following:

a. If used, lettering with school name, school’s nickname, school logo, player’s name and /or abbreviation 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 an identifying name as well.

Rationale: Provide guidance to persons purchasing uniforms in determining what wording should go onto the jersey.

4-48 NEW: Warning for Coach/Team Conduct
A warning to a coach/team for misconduct is an administrative procedure by an official, which is recorded in the scorebook by the scorer and reported to the Head Coach:
Art. 1 . . . For conduct, such as that described in rule 10-5-1a,b,d,e,f; 10-5-2; 10-5-4 the official shall warn the head coach unless the offense is judged to be major, in which case a technical foul shall be assessed. Note: A warning is not required prior to calling a technical foul.
Art. 2 . . . For the first violation of rule 10-6-1, the official shall warn the head coach unless the offense is judged to be major, in which case a technical foul shall be assessed. Note: A warning is not required prior to calling a technical foul.

Rationale: Stopping play and making sure that the bench and the coach know that an official warning has been given, sends a clear message to everyone in the gym and impacts the behavior of the coach, and in some cases the behavior of the opposing coach. This change in behavior creates a better atmosphere and many times avoids the need to administer a technical foul.

2017  Football Rules Changes

1-3-1h (NEW):  Added that commercial advertising is not permitted on the ball.  

Rationale:  The ball cannot have commercial advertising added to the surface.  The only permissible items on the ball are the ball manufacturer's name and/or logo; school name, logo and/or mascot; conference name and/or logo; state association name and/or logos; and NFHS name and/or logos.

1-5-1b(3):  Further clarifies that the jersey of the home team shall be dark color clearly contrasting to the white jersey required for the visiting team.

Rationale:  Home game jersey specifications were further revised to provide schools and manufacturers additional clarification regarding the current trend of utilizing lighter gray shades.  The implementation date of 2021 affords schools and manufacturers the opportunity to ensure that newer dark jerseys will clearly contrast with white.  The requirement for contrasting colors to white is not a new rule, and this new clarification will allow changes to be made during normal replacement cycles.

1-5-1a(2) NOTE, 1-5-4:  This change now permites any of the game officials to accompany the referee to meet with the head coach for equipment verification.

Rationale:  Member state associations may determine the game official who is to accompany the referee during the required pre-game meeting with each head coach.

2-3-10 (NEW), 9-4-3n (NEW), 9-4 PENALTY:  Added a new definition for a blindside block and specifies a penalty for an illegal blindside block.

Rationale:  Continuing with the focus on risk minimization, the committee created a definition for a blindside block.  This block involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury.  Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.

2-16-2h:  Clarified that illegal participation fouls by R occurring during the kick are now enforced under post-scrimmage kick fouls.

Rationale:  Illegal participation fouls by R occurring during the kick are now enforced under post-scrimmage kick fouls, illegal substitution and illegal participation fouls by R occuring at the snap continue to be enforced from the previous spot.

2-24-10 (NEW), 6-1-11 (NEW), 6-1 PENALTY:  Added a new definition for a pop-up kick and specifies a penalty for a pop-up kick.

Rationale:  Continuing with the committee's efforts to minimize risk, a pop-up kickoff has been defined.  A pop-up kick is  a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee.  Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction.

2-32-16:  Expands the definition of a defenseless player by incorportating specific examples.

Rationale:  The committee adopted specific examples of a defenseless player.  By adding these examples, the committee continues to focus on risk minimization and responded to requests on the annual NFHS football rules questionnaire from participating coaches, game officials and state association representatives.

3-4-7 (NEW):  Added a new option to the offended team to start the clock on the snap for an accepted penalty inside the last two minutes of either half. 

Rationale:  The committee added an option for the offended team on an accepted penalty inside the last two minutes of either half.  The referee continues to have the authority to start or stop the clock if a team attempts to conserve or consume time illegally.

4-2-21 (NEW):  Specifies that the ball is declared dead if a prosthetic limb comes completely off of the runner.

Rationale:  With this change, the ball becomes dead when a prosthetic limb comes completely off of the runner.

7-1-6:  Now stipulates that it is encroachment to strike the ball or the snapper's hand/arm prior to the snapper releasing the ball.

Rationale:  Defensive players are restricted from contacting the ball or the snapper's hand(s) or arm(s) until the snapper has released the ball. 

7-5-10:  Removes non-contact face guarding from the pass interference restrictions.

Rationale:  The change eliminates the previous foul for non-contact face guarding forward-pass interference. 


1.  Responsibility on players to avoid illegal contact.
2.  Illegal helmet contact.
3.  Sideline management and control, professional communication between coaches and game officials.
4.  Proper enforcement of penalties for violations of the equipment rules.