The Loose Ball, Fighting Timeline(Video) & The Case Book Rulings

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

10-7 – Loose Ball Fouls Are Still Fouls

During the time after a shot, through the rebounding period, and until a player gains control of the ball, a foul is still a foul.

Why is it during these time periods everyone on the court goes crazy just for a few seconds?  The players are all scrambling for the loose ball and suddenly we, as officials, are thrown into a moment of chaos.  Where to look and who to watch seems to all go out the window and our judgement gets cloudy.  We then start second guessing ourselves as we go through this momentary lapse of judgement.  A second too late, we think, “I should have had a whistle on that one!”

On a rebound, you must stay home!  Cover your Primary Coverage Area!  Don’t worry about the transition that may, or may not be, coming.  Give yourself a chance and stay out of the chaos of the loose ball by staying focused on the players in your area.  This way, when you see players on the floor, and one player is on top of the other, with both arms wrapped around them, you blow your whistle!

Sometimes during a loose ball play, we are more lenient about our play calls.  We have to be careful during loose balls because it is during these plays that emotions get heated and players react in ways they may not have reacted on other plays.

The Play with two views


Fights are very difficult at the High School level as the officials don't have the advantage of video replay. This video review is intended as a learning tool and is not intended to criticize the actions of the crew.

Timeline of this play after breaking video down screen by screen:

(Please realize that the White Bench is not in the video to observe their actions)

1)Following a missed shot, #44 Blue fouls #12 White taking #12 to the floor. Intentional??? Was there a true attempt to play the ball??

An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul that may or may not be premeditated and is not based solely on the severity of the act and includes excessive contact with an opponent while the ball is live

2)Held Ball called initially the by Lead Official(???) and then a foul called by the Lead Official

3)Foul called by Center Official, The Center needs to move toward the action and use his whistle to attempt to gain the control and attention of all involved.

4)After getting up off the floor #44 Blue two hand shoves White #12 who aggressively enters the area.

5)#34 Blue then enters the middle of the action then throws a right hand and strikes #10 White. #34 Blue should have been ejected with this action.

6)Blue Head Coach and Assistant Coach leave the bench to assist...Point of reference, It was advised this year that each team have a plan in place for a fight situation so additional players do not leave the bench.

7)An attempt to diffuse the incident by the officials and coaches occurred...Another POR, do not wrap up a player!.....This could render the player defenseless if their is an instance where additional physical action targeting the player occurs....Step between and use the whistle as a means to restore order.

8)#33 & #2 Blue leaves the bench, behind the coach who was assisting. By rule, this is an Indirect Technical charged to the Head Coach and the players are disqualified. Only one Indirect Technical foul to the Head Coach, no matter how many players actually leave the bench!

9)On this play,a double technical foul was called on White #10 and Blue #44 and both were ejected after a conference by the crew.

By rule a double technical involves only technical fouls and only two opponents; no free throws are awarded, and the ball is put in play at the point of interruption.

10)On this play, the POI was the foul and the ensuing FT's---Team White was in the bonus, play should have been resumed with a 1&1 being attempted with both teams at the line.


10.5.5 SITUATION A: Post-players A1 and B1 begin punching each other and play is stopped. Two substitutes from each team leave the bench area and come onto the court.

RULING: A1 and B1 are charged with flagrant fouls and are disqualified, but no free throws result from the double personal flagrant fouls. The four substitutes are charged with flagrant technical fouls and are disqualified. No free throws are awarded for the simultaneous technical fouls as the number of bench personnel leaving the bench and the penalties are the same for both teams. . . (4-36; 7-5- 3b; 10-4-5 Note)

IF the four substitutes:

(a) do not become involved in the fight.

In (a), one technical foul is also charged indirectly to the head coach of each team

(b) all become involved in the fight;

In (b), each head coach is charged indirectly with two technical fouls (one for each bench player leaving the bench and becoming involved in the fight).

(c) substitutes A6, A7 and B6 do not participate in the fight, but B7 becomes involved in the fight;

In (c), the Team A head coach is charged indirectly with one technical foul and the Team B head coach is indirectly charged with two technical fouls (one for substitutes B6 and B7 leaving the bench, and one for B7 becoming involved in the fight).

In situations (a), (b) and (c), the ball is put in play at the point of interruption.

(d) head coach and assistant coach(s) enters the court to assist in curtailing the fighting.

Legal in (d). COMMENT: The head coach and assistant coach(s) may enter the court in the situation where a fight may break out or has broken out to prevent the situation from escalating.

10-4-5 Note

The head coach may enter the court in the situation where a fight may break out or has broken out to prevent the situation from escalating.

Bench Technical (10-5-5 Note):  This addition to the rule permits assistant coaches to enter the court to assist in controlling a fight that has broken out or is about to break out.  This change does not preclude the responsibility for bench control. 

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