The 2014-15 basketball season is shaping up to be a landmark. The new addition to the rule book in 10 -6 -12 is maybe unprecedented in recent memory. Rule 10 has not been fiddled with by the rules makers for many years and then this year seemingly out of the blue they add a whole new article under Section Six in Rule 10. That article is article 12 and it is fast becoming known as the “automatics” article.

As I am sure you are awar,e Rule Ten is titled Rules and Penalties. Rule Ten has Six sections. It covers among other things team, substitute and player technical fouls and their penalties. It also covers bench technical fouls and the head coaches rule. The crowning glory of Rule 10 however has always been Section six and its 11 articles outlining illegal contact. This penalty part of Section 6 may be some of the most important pages in the rule book. It covers how many free throws are awarded for every conceivable illegal act and how play is resumed thereafter. Check it out if you haven’t looked at it lately.

But, now this year pasted on at the end of the Section six’s penalty section is Article 12. Article 12 consists of one sentence and four statements. Those four statements are known as the “ automatics.”

The sentence says “The following acts constitute a foul when committed against a ball handler/dribbler.

The four acts are:
Placing two hands on a ball handler
Placing an extended arm bar on a ball handler
Placing and keeping a hand on the ball handler
Contacting a ball handler more than once with the same hand or alternating hands

No more RSBQ when it comes to the dribble driver and hands or forearms are involved. It is automatic! It is a foul. You as the covering official have no other option.

No more pre-game statements like “Let’s see if we can let the point guards play through a little contact especialyl when they are going to the hole.” Call the fouls and the players will adjust.

Will you end up calling some ticky tac fouls? Yes you will, especially early in the season. But, hold on to the thought that if you call them the coaches and the players will adjust.

Will there be lots of crying and bitching from coaches and players followed by catcalls from the stands admonishing you to “let them play?” Yes there will be. Call the fouls and the players will adjust and so will the fans.
Remember this thought. Once the post player gets the ball, he is no different than a point guard. The automatics apply to him/her as well.

In the end, the addition of the 4 “automatics” in article 12 is probably no one’s fault but our own. Season after season the points of emphasis have concentrated on illegal contact and the rules makers have pleaded with us to do a better job of enforcing the rules regarding illegal contact, especially on the dribbler. Last season they rules committee even incorporated RSBQ which here to fore had only been an unofficial officiating philosophy into the rule book in an effort to give us some judgment guidelines. But, this year they decided to take all of the judgment out of contact on the ball handler and the dribble driver. Call the fouls and they will adjust.

Here is a short clip of a girls small school JV games. Look at the illegal contact on this play. There are four or five illegal contacts on this short clip.

Here is a clip of a pretty egregious inside arm bar that stopped the ball handler and made him go another direction. This is the kind of defensive action that Rule 10-6-12 targets as an automatic foul.

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