As the first week of high school basketball approaches here in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West we are about to be witnesses to high school basketball history. We are about to welcome in the “freedom of movement” era in high school basketball.
“Freedom of movement’ is an officiating philosophy which was conceived here in the west nearly ten years ago and slowly gained traction throughout the nation. It gained so much traction that its fundamental thoughts were made into an additional article within Rule 10, Section 6.
Rule 10 is the contact Rule and its Section 6 with its 11 articles were pretty much the meat and potatoes of the National Federation recipe of what should constitute illegal contact in the game of basketball. However, this season the rules makers added article 12, listing the basic tenants of the “freedom of movement” philosophy.
Article 12 lists four automatic acts, that when committed against a ball handler, constitute a foul. There is no RSBQ judgment allowed by officials when on the these automatic acts occur on a ball handler or dribble driver.
Those four automatic acts are:
a. Placing two hands on the player.
b. Placing an extended arm bar on the player.
c. Placing and keeping a hand on the dribbler.
d. Contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.
Each of us must do our part in ushering in this new era of what is illegal contact. We do that by making sure that we are using ‘hard” eyes to focus in on what exactly the defenders are doing with their hands and fore arms. This will undoubtedly mean that we will call some fouls that we think are ‘ticky tacky’ and that are nothing more than game interrupters. But, whether we like the new rules or not we must enforce them. We should hold onto the thought that “if we call them they will adjust,” Then as the season progresses we will have to make fewer and fewer of the seemingly incidental calls.