I came across the question below while reviewing an old IAABO refresher test.

Following a held ball, the official mistakenly awards the ball to Team A. After the ball is legally touched inbounds, the mistake is recognized. The official rules the mistake cannot be corrected once the throw-in ends. Is the official correct?

The answer as you no doubt know is yes, the official is correct.

Why did the official mistakenly award the ball to Team A?

Because the alternating possession arrow was pointing towards Team A.

And, why was it pointing in Team A’s favor?

Because the score keeper for one reason or another did not set the arrow or did not reset the arrow when she was supposed to do so and the officiating crew was not skilled enough to catch that the AP arrow was amiss.

I saw all or parts of 87 games last season at seven different playing levels and off of the top of my head, I can recall seeing at least four AP arrow mistakes.

One of those mistakes occurred at the beginning of a game. The official tossed the ball and Team A got control right off the tip, but the scorer did not set the AP arrow. It remained dark. And it remained dark for six minutes, through two timeouts and three or four free throw attempts. It wasn’t discovered until just under the 4:00-minute mark when the first held ball occurred. It took a little time to sort the situation out but the ball was eventually awarded to the correct team for the throw-in.

Another mistake I witnessed occurred in a DII women’s game. There was a held ball and the ball was correctly awarded to Team A for an AP throw-in. At that point, Team B requested and was granted a full time out. After the timeout the ball was put at Team A’s disposal and they threw it in but the scorekeeper did not change the arrow, and the officiating crew did not catch the error.

That scenario occurred with about three minutes remaining in the second quarter and wasn’t discovered until after half time when the official was about to award Team A the ball at half court. The assistant coach of Team B had been keeping track of the AP arrow on a clipboard and quickly called the discrepancy to the attention of the officiating staff. It finally got straightened out after a few minutes of discussion. How embarrassing it must have been for the officiating crew to have an assistant coach bail them out of a mistake.

In another situation, A1 had the ball out of bounds for a throw-in as a result of a held ball. Before the throw-in ended A2 was called for an illegal screen. Since A2’s foul was a team control foul Team B was awarded a throw-in nearest the spot of the foul. When B1’s throw-in was complete the score keeper turned the AP arrow in Team B’s favor. As I am sure you know a foul by either team during an AP throw-in does not cause a change in the AP arrow direction. To my knowledge, no one ever caught this mistake.

Finally, Team A had the ball for an AP throw-in and promptly threw the ball all the way across the court and directly out of bounds untouched. The play was rightly ruled a throw-in violation by Team A and the ball was brought back to the spot of the throw-in and awarded to Team B who threw the ball inbounds to a teammate. The scorekeeper did not reverse the arrow and no one on the officiating crew noticed the mistake.

Again, as I am sure you know, if Team A violates an AP throw-in they lose the ball and they lose the arrow as well.

So, the moral here is twofold, First, remember to take a peek at the arrow after the initial jump ball and after all AP throw-ins to make sure the arrow gets set correctly. The administering official should be primary on this task but the rest of the crew can and should take a look as well.

Secondly, be extra vigilant in making sure the arrow is set correctly if there is a timeout, violation or foul involved in the AP arrow scenario.

ray lutz

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