What sport other than basketball allows you to do something four times and then disqualify you the fifth time you do it? In football a player could have 15 personal fouls like holding and still be in the game, but not in basketball.
How many high school regular and postseason basketball games have been decided by who is playing or who is not playing? Players are sitting on the bench for long periods of time because of foul trouble or because they have been disqualified for committing five personal fouls.
The one rule change for high school basketball that would be friendly for the fan, player, coaches and officials would be the old Continental Basketball Association rule: no fouling out. That rule was installed to keep their star players in the games. Players were allowed six personal fouls because the games were 48 minutes long, just like in the NBA.
After they had committed six personal fouls any foul they committed gave the opponent two shots and the ball out of bounds at the spot of the foul for a throw-in, just like today’s intentional foul rule.
I would change this rule for high school as follows: When a player commits his/her fifth foul the coach has two choices, take the player out of the game and no additional penalty, but if he puts him back into the game then every foul he/she commits will be two shots and the ball. If he remains in the game then the penalty would be two shots and the ball for the fifth foul and for any more personal fouls committed.
Two shots and the ball is a very big penalty. This would allow for a lot of additional strategy:
(1) Is the player good enough that it warrants the coach to keep the player in the game after committing the fifth foul?
(2) Should the coach go to a zone defense to protect the player from fouling?
(3) Would the opposing coach try to go right after the player to make him foul?
(4) Would the player with the five fouls back off defensively so as not to commit another foul ?
This would make for an interesting additional strategy to the game while taking the pressure off the officials, players and coaches if this rule was used. Games would be decided by who is playing, not by who is not playing, especially in tournament one-and-done play where more fouls are usually called as the game is usually called tighter, as my scorebooks over the years illustrate.
A good example of this was in the 1993 state Class B championship John Bapst-York game played at the Augusta Civic Center. Our big center 6-foot-11 Ken Rassi, a first-team BDN and Maine Sunday Telegram All-State selection, was in foul trouble.
He only played 16 minutes of the game as he committed his fourth foul with four minutes to go in the first half. He did not get back into the game until there were four minutes left. He scored 22 points on 9 for 9 from the floor and 4 for 6 from the line: 22 points in 16 minutes as York just could not handle him.
If we had this rule change I would have kept him in the game, gone 1-3-1 zone and put him in the middle to protect him from fouling if York tried to go after him to get him to commit additional fouls where they would get two shots and the ball.. Had he played the whole 32 minutes he was on his way to a 40 point night, which would have made it a bigger win margin then the final score of 54-49.
Also, when a player gets five fouls how many of those fouls were ticky-tack fouls and not advantage or disadvantage fouls?
This would be a very fan, player, coach and official friendly rule change
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