Displacing a Free Throw Shooter

Displacing the Free Thrower

By Billy Martin

When is the “unhindered” line crossed?

By NFHS definition a free throw is an opportunity given a player to score one point by an UNHINDERED try for goal from within the free-throw semicircle and behind the free-throw line.

The key word here is “unhindered.”

The scholastic rules have been modified to allow players in marked lane spaces to move into the restricted area on the release of the free-throw try.


However, should a defensive player before the free-throw ends:

---cross the free-throw line before the ball

----contacts the ring

-----contacts the backboard

… they have committed a violation


When there is violation on this play, and the free-thrower was DISPLACED which results in a foul charged to the defender.


There’s a couple things to consider on this play.


This is a delayed free-throw violation which results in a using delayed dead-ball mechanics.

If the free-throw is successful, the violation is ignored.

If the free-throw is unsuccessful, as substitute free-throw is awarded.


If a violation is followed by a personal foul for displacing the free-thrower follow this procedure:

If the free-throw is successful — the violation is ignored per delayed dead-ball mechanics.

Report the foul for displacing the free-thrower.Any remaining free throw(s) would be administered with the free-throw lane spaces unoccupied.


If the free-throw attempt is missed — the free-thrower is awarded a substitute free throw.

The substitute free-throw and any remaining free-throw(s) would be administered with the free-throw lane spaces unoccupied.


Following the remaining free throw(s) the team is either awarded the ball (on the endline, nearest the spot of the foul) or the player fouled is awarded additional free-throws under the bonus — depending on the situation.


If in the bonus the players are permitted to occupy the marked lane spaces to resume play.


Just remember this:

The common foul for displacement will be enforced regardless of whether the free-throw is made or missed.

Don’t forget the free-thrower is restricted from entering the lane area until ball touches the ring or backboard – or the free-throw ends.


Talk about this potential situation of displacement in your pre-game conference with your partner(s).  Be ready for this type of foul as the Trail (in crews of two) and Center official (in crews of three) – and rule accordingly.

NFHS Rule References 4-19-2,4-20-1,9-1-3g (Penalties)

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