RULE NO. 2: Duties of the Officials
Section I—The Game Officials
- The game officials shall be a Crew Chief, Referee, Umpire and Replay Center They will be assisted by an official scorer, two trained timers, and courtside administrator. One timer will operate the game clock and the other will operate the shot clock. The courtside administrator will be stationed at the scorer’s table to facilitate communication between the Replay Center Official, on-court game officials, official scorer, and other personnel at the scorer’s table. All officials shall be approved by the League Office.
Section II—Duties of the Officials
- The officials shall, prior to the start of the game, inspect and approve all equipment, including court, baskets, balls, backboards, timer’s and scorer’s equipment.
- The officials shall not permit players to play with any type of jewelry.
- The officials shall not permit any player to wear equipment which, in their judgment, is dangerous to other players. Any equipment which is of hard substance (casts, splints, guards and braces) must be padded or foam covered and have no exposed sharp or cutting edge. All the face masks and eye or nose protectors must be approved by NBA Basketball Operations and conform to the contour of the face and have no sharp or protruding edges.
- The use of any foreign substance during games is strictly prohibited. A “foreign substance” is any substance that is applied during games to a player’s body, uniform or equipment, or to any game equipment, that is designed or intended to provide a player or a team with a competitive advantage.
- All equipment used must be appropriate for basketball. Equipment that is unnatural and designed to increase a player’s height or reach, or to gain an advantage, shall not be used.
- The officials must check the game balls to see that they are properly inflated. The recommended ball pressure should be between 7 ½ and 8 ½ pounds.
- The crew chief shall be the official in charge.
- The Replay Center Official will make the final ruling on all replays, except for Flagrant Fouls and Altercations.
- If a coach desires to discuss a rule or interpretation of a rule prior to the start of a game or between periods, it will be mandatory for the officials to ask the other coach to be present during the discussion. The same procedure shall be followed if the officials wish to discuss a game situation with either coach.
- The designated official shall toss the ball at the start of the game. The crew chief shall decide whether or not a goal shall count if the officials disagree, and he shall decide matters upon which scorers and timers disagree.
- All officials shall enter the court prior to the 15-minute mark on the game clock to observe the warm-up period and report to the league office any atypical situations and to review scoring and timing procedures with table personnel.
- The crew chief must check the Active List prior to the start of the game.
- Officials must meet with team captains prior to the start of the game.
- Officials must report any atypical or unique incident to the Basketball and Referee Operations Departments by e-mail. Flagrant, punching, fighting fouls or a team’s failure to have eight players to begin the game must also be reported.
Section III—Elastic Power
The officials shall have the power to make decisions on any point not specifically covered in the rules. The League Office will be advised of all such decisions at the earliest possible moment.
Section IV—Different Decisions By Officials
- The crew chief shall have the authority to set aside or question decisions regarding a rule interpretation made by either of the other officials.
- If two officials give conflicting signals as to who caused the ball to go out-of- bounds, they will conference and reconstruct the play in an attempt to make the correct call. If no resolution is reached, a jump ball will be signaled between the two players involved at the nearest circle. If the two players cannot be identified, the jump ball shall be administered at the center circle between any two opponents in the game. If one official signals and another official clearly knows the call is incorrect, they should conference and the calling official may change the call on the information given. However, if both officials are adamant about their ruling, a jump ball should be held similar to above.
- EXCEPTION: Last two minutes of fourth period and last two minutes of overtime. (See Rule 13—Section I—a—(7))
- In the event that a violation and foul occur at the same time, the foul will take precedence.
- Double Foul (See Rule 12B—Section VI—f).
- If the two officials differ on a block/charge foul involving the restricted area and/or lower defensive box, they will conference and share information in an attempt to make the correct If no resolution is reached it will be treated as a double foul (See Rule 12B— Section VI—f).
- EXCEPTION: Last two minutes of fourth period and last two minutes of overtime. (See Rule 13—Section I—a—(12))
Section V—Time and Place for Decisions
- The officials have the power to render decisions for infractions of rules committed inside or outside the boundary lines. This includes periods when the game may be stopped for any reason.
- When a personal foul or violation occurs, an official will blow his/her whistle to terminate play. The whistle is the signal for the timer to stop the game If a personal foul has occurred, the official will indicate the number of the offender to the official scorer, the type of foul committed and the number of free throws, if any, to be attempted or indicate the spot of the throw-in. If a violation has occurred the official will indicate (1) the nature of the violation by giving the correct signal (2) the number of the offender, if applicable (3) the direction in which the ball will be advanced.
- When a team is entitled to a throw-in, an official shall clearly signal (1) the act which caused the ball to become dead (2) the spot of the throw-in (3) the team entitled to the throw-in, unless it follows a successful field goal or free throw.
- When a whistle is erroneously sounded, whether the ball is in a possession or non- possession status, it is an inadvertent whistle and shall be interpreted as a suspension- of-play.
- An official may suspend play for any unusual circumstance (See Rule 4 – Section XIII).
Section VI—Correcting Errors
A. FREE THROWS
Officials may correct an error if a rule is inadvertently set aside and results in the following:
- A team not shooting a merited free throw that will remain in play.
- EXCEPTION: If the offensive team scores or shoots earned free throws as a result of a personal foul prior to possession by the defensive team the error shall be ignored if more than 24 seconds has expired.
- A team not shooting a merited free throw that will not remain in play. The error shall be corrected, all play shall stand and play will resume from the point of interruption with the clocks remaining the same.
- A team shooting an unmerited free throw.
- Permitting the wrong player to attempt a free throw.
- Officials shall be notified of a possible error at the first dead ball.
- Errors which occur in the first or third periods must be discovered and rectified prior to the start of the next period.
- Errors which occur in the second period must be discovered and the scorer’s table notified prior to the officials leaving the floor at the end of the The error(s) must be rectified prior to the start of the third period.
- Errors which occur in the fourth period or overtime(s) must be discovered and rectified prior to the end of the period.
- The ball is not in play on corrected free throw attempt(s). Play is resumed at the same spot and under the same conditions as would have prevailed had the error not been discovered.
- All play that occurs is to be nullified if the error is discovered within a 24-second time The game clock shall be reset to the time that the error occurred.
- EXCEPTION (1): Acts of unsportsmanlike conduct and all flagrant fouls, and points scored therefrom, shall not be nullified.
- EXCEPTION (2): If the error to be corrected is for a free throw attempt where there is to be no line-up of players on the free throw lane (technical foul, defensive three seconds, flagrant foul, clear path-to-the-basket foul, punching foul, away-from-the-play foul) the error shall be corrected, all play shall stand and play shall resume from the point of interruption with the clocks remaining the same.
B. LINEUP POSITIONS
In any jump ball situation, if the jumpers lined up incorrectly, and the error is discovered:
- After more than 24 seconds has elapsed, the teams will continue to shoot for that basket for the remainder of that half and/or If the error is discovered in the first half, teams will shoot at the proper basket as decided by the opening tap for the second half.
- If 24 seconds or less has elapsed, all play shall be nullified.
- EXCEPTION: Acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, all flagrant fouls, and points scored therefrom, shall not be nullified and play will resume from the original jump ball with players facing the proper direction.
If the second, third or fourth period or any throw-in begins with the wrong team being awarded possession or the teams facing in the wrong direction, and the error is discovered:
- after 24 seconds has elapsed, the error cannot be corrected.
- with 24 seconds or less having elapsed, all play shall be nullified.
- EXCEPTION: Acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, all flagrant fouls, and points scored therefrom, shall not be nullified.
D. RECORD KEEPING
A record keeping error by the official scorer which involves the score, number of personal fouls, team fouls and/or timeouts may be corrected by the officials at any time prior to the end of the fourth period. Any such error which occurs in overtime must be corrected prior to the end of that period.
Section VII—Duties of Scorers
- The scorers shall record the field goals made, the free throws made and missed and shall keep a running summary of the points scored. They shall record the personal and technical fouls called on each player and shall notify the officials immediately when a sixth personal foul is called on any player. They shall record the timeouts charged to each team, shall notify a team and its coach through an official whenever that team is granted its final timeout and shall notify the nearest official each time a team is granted a charged timeout in excess of the legal number. In case there is a question about an error in the scoring, the scorer shall check with the crew chief at once to find the discrepancy. If the error cannot be found, the official shall accept the record of the official scorer, unless he has knowledge that forces him to decide otherwise.
- NOTE: Rule 14, the Coach’s Challenge, is an experimental rule in effect for the 2019-2020 NBA Season. For the purposes of Rule II, Section VII, the official scorer shall record, only after notification by the on court game officials, if and when a coach uses his/her Coach’s Challenge. The full duties of the official scorer with respect to the Coach’s Challenge are defined in Rule 14—II—c.
- The scorers shall keep a record of the names, numbers and positions of the players who are to start the game and of all substitutes who enter the When there is an infraction of the rules pertaining to submission of the active list, substitutions or numbers of players, they shall notify the nearest official immediately if the ball is dead, or as soon as it becomes dead if it is in play when the infraction is discovered. The scorer shall mark the time at which players are disqualified by reason of receiving six personal fouls, so that it may be easy to ascertain the order in which the players are eligible to go back into the game in accordance with Rule 3—Section I.
- The scorers shall ask the timer to sound the horn to signal the officials. This may be used when the ball is dead or in certain specified situations when the ball is in control of a given team. When a player is disqualified from the game, or whenever a penalty free throw is being awarded, the timer will sound the horn to notify the game officials. It is the duty of the scorekeeper to inform the timer to sound the horn and be certain that the officials have acknowledged a player’s sixth personal foul and/or the penalty is in effect.
- The scorer shall not signal the officials while the ball is in play, except to notify them of the necessity to correct an error.
- Should the scorer sound the horn while the ball is in play, it shall be ignored by the players on the court. The officials must use their judgment in stopping play to consult with the scorer’s table.
- Scorers shall record on the scoreboard the number of team fouls up to a total of five, which will indicate that the team is in a penalty situation.
- Scorers shall, immediately, record the name of the team which secures the first possession of the game.
Section VIII—Duties of Timers
- The timers shall note when each half is to start and shall notify the crew chief and both coaches five minutes before this time, or cause them to be notified at least five minutes before the half is to start. They shall signal the scorers two minutes before starting time. They shall record playing time and time of stoppages as provided in the rules. The official timer and the 24-second clock operator shall be provided with digital stop watches to be used in case the official timeout, game clock and/or 24-second clocks/game clocks located above the backboards fail to work properly.
- At the beginning of the first period, any overtime period or whenever play is resumed by a jump ball, the game clock shall be started when the ball is legally tapped by either of the jumpers. The 24-second clock will be started when player possession of the ball is obtained. No time will be removed from the game clock and/or 24-second clock if the ball is not legally touched before a violation.
- If the game clock has been stopped and the ball is put in play by a throw-in, the game clock and the 24-second clock shall be started when the ball is legally touched by any player on the court. The starting of the game clock and the 24-second clock will be under the control of the official timer.
- During an unsuccessful free throw attempt, the game clock will be started when the ball is legally The 24-second clock will be started when player possession of the ball is obtained.
- The game clock shall be stopped at the expiration of time for each period and when an official sounds his/her whistle. The timers shall record only the actual playing time in the last minute of the first, second and third periods. They shall record only the actual playing time in the last two minutes of the fourth period and the last two minutes of any overtime period(s).
- For a charged timeout, the timer shall start the Time-out Clock immediately after an official signals for a timeout and play will not resume until the Time-out Clock has expired.
- The game clock and the scoreboard will combine to cause a horn to sound, automatically, when playing time for the period has expired. If the horn or buzzer fails to sound, or is not heard, the official timer shall use any other means to notify the officials immediately.
- In a dead ball situation, if the clock shows :00.0, the period or game is considered to have ended although the horn may not have sounded.
EXCEPTION: See Rule 13