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High School Basketball Coaches Can Now be Given Warnings Before Technical Fouls are Assessed

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Starting next season, high school basketball coaches will be given warnings similar to college coaches for misconduct by the coach or other bench personnel unless the offense is judged to be major, in which case a technical foul shall be assessed, according to the media release from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Head coaches will also be a warning for their first violation of Rule 10-6-1 regarding the coaches box, although, again, if the official deems it to be a major violation a technical foul can be assessed.

“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,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials and liaison to the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee. “This change
in behavior creates a better atmosphere and, many times, avoids the need to administer a technical foul.”

The coaching box – the area that the coach is allowed to stand up and coach in – will be expanded from 14 feet to 28 feet and shall be “bounded” by a line drawn 28 feet from the end line toward the division (center) line with a line drawn from the sideline toward the team bench becoming the end of the coaching box toward the end line. State associations may alter the length and placement of the 28‐foot coaching box. It is not known at this time what the PIAA will do.

“The committee thought the restriction of the (14‐foot) coaching box limited the level of communication between the coach and players,” Wynns said. “Allowing a coach freedom to move within the new box between the 28‐foot mark and the end line provides a coach more access to his or her players.” 


The NFHS also approved uniform changed including restrictions on identifying names that can be placed in the allowable area of the jersey.

Identifying names on uniforms must adhere to the following: school name, school nickname, school logo, player’s name and/or abbreviation of the official school name. The panel in the shoulder area on the back of the jersey may be used for placing an identifying name as well.  


In a move aimed at reducing confusion between the game officials (referees) and the scorer’s table, the NFHS approved a change in the way officials signal a foul against a player.

After verbally informing the offender, the official shall use fingers on two hands to indicate to the scorer the
number of the offender and the number of free throws. Many officials are already using the two-handed method.   

“This change was made to minimize reporting errors that occur between the officials and the scorekeepers,” Wynns said. “Two‐handed reporting is easier for the scorekeepers to see and comprehend, and it is less confusing.”    

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