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NFHS approves early release on free throws

Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 3:09 p.m. CDT

INDIANAPOLIS — Players in marked lane spaces will be able to move into the lane when the ball is released by the free-throw shooter beginning with the 2014-15 high school basketball season. Previously, players could not release until the ball touched the rim or backboard or until the free throw ended.

This change in Rule 9-1-4 was one of four major rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee at its April 14-16 meeting in Indianapolis.

All recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The committee noted that the current rule of players in marked lane spaces not releasing until the ball touches the rim or backboard creates two obstacles for officials: 1) attempting to watch the ball strike the rim or backboard while simultaneously attempting to observe if any players/free thrower violate the lane-line restrictions, and 2) insufficient time for the perimeter official(s) to obtain optimum angles on the players involved in rebounding a missed try.

In an effort to eliminate excessive contact on ball-handlers and dribblers outside of the lane area, the committee added Article 12 to Rule 10-6 on contact.

As a result, the following acts will 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 and 4) contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.

The rules committee also expanded the definition of an intentional foul in Rule 4-19-3d, which now states that an intentional foul is “excessive contact with an opponent while the ball is live or until an airborne shooter returns to the floor.”

In the final rules change, the committee expanded Rule 3-5-3 by identifying anything worn on the arm and/or leg as a sleeve, except a knee brace.

These items, including tights, will now be permitted but must meet the color and logo restrictions in Rule 3-5-3. Previously, this rule permitted only arm sleeves and leg-compression sleeves. 

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