NCAA Officiating Points of Emphasis for the Coming Season 2021-22

Ignatius L Hoops

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From the NCAA Women's Basketball Rule Book for 2021-22 and 2022-23. Traveling returns as a point of emphasis...ugh.


Enforcing the Rules as Written

Enforcing the rules as written is a point of emphasis again after a two-year hiatus. The rules committee wants to ensure that officials, coaches, players, administrators, coordinators, and conferences focus on the playing rules as found in the rules book and to support officials in their enforcement of all playing rules. When the playing rules are enforced as written, it lends itself to consistency from game to game, division to division, and region to region. The playing rules are designed to create a balance of play, equally favorable conditions for both the offense and the defense, and provide reasonable safety protection for players; without the consistency in the application of the rules, the balance the rules committee seeks to provide through the playing rules is not accomplished. Officials are tasked with ensuring that the competing teams play within the rules. There is no room for personal philosophies or using “game management” to ignore enforcing a playing rule. Coaches should continue to familiarize themselves with the rules and teach the rules to their players; when players know what is legal or illegal, it reduces the number of stoppages for illegal acts and makes for a more enjoyable game. Except when a waiver is issued by the rules committee, no one has the authority to set aside a playing rule or interpretation.

Faking Fouls

The rules committee is concerned with an increase in the number of situations when players “flop” or fake being fouled to try to fool the official into believing a foul has been committed. Acts such as, but not limited to, embellishing the impact of incidental contact on block/charge plays, shooters “flopping” or flailing their arms to draw a foul, and dribblers using a “head bob” attempting to get a foul ruled on their defender do not belong in our game. As noted in the preface of the rules book, “Good sporting behavior should be a key part of [maximizing the safety and enjoyment of the student-athlete] and should be a core value in behavior of players and bench personnel…” Whether players are acting of their own volition or coaches are teaching these tactics, by making this a point of emphasis the committee is giving notice that if these situations do not decrease or are eliminated there will be further action taken by the committee.

Traveling

Traveling is a point of emphasis for the first time since 2011. While continual progress has been made in nearly all aspects of the game that involve traveling, particular emphasis is still needed in these areas: the pre-dribble travel (lifting and replanting the pivot foot, split-feet, and running start), the spin move to the basket, the “Euro” step, and perimeter shooters taking an extra “hop” just after they receive the ball or just before releasing the try. When players are permitted to execute these moves illegally, they provide a distinct advantage to a ball handler or a shooter as well as a disadvantage to a defender; exponentially so when the no-calls are followed by a score, a defensive foul, or both. It is important to recognize what a player may legally do once they end their dribble. When one foot is in contact with the playing court when the dribble ends, the only legal way for that foot to return to the playing court with the player still controlling the ball is by executing a jump stop; that is, the player jumps off that one foot and lands on both feet simultaneously. Failure to land on both feet simultaneously or landing simultaneously and then pivoting on either foot or stepping with either foot is a traveling violation.

When the dribble is ended on one foot (this is the pivot foot) and the player holding the ball steps with the free foot, lifts the pivot foot and then returns the pivot foot to the playing court while still in control of the ball, this is a traveling violation. The only legal way a player may hold the ball while taking two steps is to end the dribble with neither foot in contact with the playing court and then land on one foot followed by the other foot; the first foot to land on the playing court is the pivot foot. Understanding which foot is the pivot foot and what steps the ball handler may legally take is critical to correctly adjudicating the travel rule. An “athletic move” when spinning or pivoting must be legally executed. It is essential that coaches teach their players the necessary skills to execute these moves legally and for officials to rule a violation when players violate the traveling rule. Officials must identify the pivot foot and recognize when the pivot foot has been illegally returned to the playing court or an illegal pivot has occurred. On plays where the location of the pivot foot at the time the ending of the dribble is uncertain, the benefit of the doubt should rest with the dribbler having made a legal play.

Legal Guarding Position

Knowing and understanding the rules pertaining to legal guarding position are critical. Understanding what is permissible by rule creates a knowledge base for what is illegal, affecting how guarding is taught, learned, and adjudicated. Common misconceptions about guarding include the myth that a defender’s feet must be still or planted on the floor for them to take a charge, that a defender must continue to face a player who is dribbling toward them, and that the defender is not permitted to “move” into the path of the dribbler. These and other misconceptions regarding guarding can be eliminated when the guarding rule is understood. In addition, understanding legal guarding provides boundaries for determining displacement and other illegal contact. The two components of legal guarding are obtaining and then maintaining a legal guarding position. Officials must recognize when a defender obtains and maintains legal guarding position to correctly rule on block/charge plays and should not be defaulting to a blocking foul when it is not known whether the defender was in a legal position. Remember, when obtaining a legal guarding position on an opponent with the ball, time and distance are not required; the defender may obtain their position just in front of the opponent. Players with the ball should expect to be defended and are not given any additional rights.

Post Play

Post play is a point of emphasis again this year. A post player is a player with or without the ball with their back to the basket inside the three-second lane area or within 3 feet of all lines that border the lane. Once a player has legally obtained their position as a defender on an offensive post player, they can neither displace their opponent nor be displaced from that position. Officials need to be more aware of offensive post players in the lane for more than three seconds. Three seconds in the lane is a violation that must be ruled on the offensive post players. If this violation is not ruled, the offensive team gains an unfair advantage and increases physicality. In addition, requiring an offensive player to clear the lane with both feet allows officials to consistently determine whether the offensive player has left the lane.

Contact On and By the Ball Handler/Dribbler

Illegal contact on the ball handler/dribbler is inhibiting the ability of teams to start their offense. Six years ago, the rules committee and the coaches asked that officials enforce the guideline that one “measure-up” touch is permitted on the ball handler and any subsequent contact by the defender using either the front or back of the same hand or using the other hand on the ball handler/ dribbler be ruled a foul. An armbar placed on the ball handler, along with two hands simultaneously, are automatic fouls. When there is body contact between the ball handler and defender, the official must determine whether the contact is incidental (due to both players moving legally) or illegal. When the defender's body contact, such as the defender's body bumping or leaning their torso on the dribbler, affects the rhythm, speed, balance, or quickness of the ball handler, or reroutes the ball handler from their desired path, a foul has been committed by the defender. When the ball handler makes illegal contact with the defender, a foul has been committed by the ball handler. It is critical that officials consistently enforce these guidelines from the start of the game until its conclusion, regardless of time and score, and from the beginning of scrimmage/exhibition games until the last game of the season.

Sporting Behavior/Conduct

The rules committee is concerned about violations of the bench decorum rule by players, coaches, and bench personnel. Only through the enforcement of existing rules will players, coaches, and bench personnel exhibit appropriate and acceptable behaviors. Coaches are expected to remain in the coaching box. The extension of the coaching box four years ago was intended to allow coaches to communicate with their players at the opposite end of the floor without having to come out onto the playing court. Coaches who go beyond the 38-foot line, or more importantly, onto the playing court, gain a distinct advantage, which is not within the spirit and intent of the rules. Coaches are reminded that while the bench area expands during a timeout, the bench area does not extend beyond the 28-foot line, and coaches and other bench personnel may not move to the expanded bench area until the timeout begins to ensure bench personnel does not create inadvertent contact with opposing players still out on the playing court. Coaches who leave the expanded bench area to inappropriately engage officials are subject to a warning or a bench technical foul. As stated in the Officiating Guidelines (Appendix III), roaming coaches negatively influence play when they are out on the playing court. Misconduct by players, coaches, and bench personnel is not permitted. There is continued support for officials to enforce rules against misconduct by players, coaches, and bench personnel. Players' taunting, baiting, finger-pointing, trash-talking, and inappropriate gestures have increased during the past several seasons. Players and coaches are permitted to celebrate an individual or team accomplishment, but they cannot direct that celebration towards their opponent. Also, players and coaches are not allowed to disrespectfully or inappropriately address and/or gesture at an official after a ruling is made on the court. Player and coach behavior, which in the judgment of the official is determined to be a taunt of an opponent or a disrespectful act toward an official, shall be penalized by assessing a technical foul.
 

GringaGopher

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For those of us who played I like the idea that they will be calling traveling but would like it to have some discretion like they are supposed to have with no harm/ no foul on contact. I see this all the time where the player will drag or switch their pivot foot but it they are not driving or scoring points.
 

Chico Gopher

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I'm in agreement about the traveling. Seems like almost everybody shuffles their feet while preparing for a shot.. Euro-step might be tough to distinguish in some cases. On the other hand, since everybody has been in the habit of traveling for the past 10 years, we may see a bunch of those calls this year, simply because it takes time to break a habit.
 




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