Here are some rules changes that will improve high school basketball in Maine

After officiating almost 300 games at different levels this season and watching another 100-plus games on TV, I have noticed several rule changes needed to improve the game of basketball.

Most rule changes are made to be official friendly, not player, coach or game friendly. The last coaches friendly rule was when the coaching box was put in during the 1990s and the last player friendly rule was the 3-point shot in 1987.

Who is the game really for? The players, the coaches, the officials or the fans?

Most rule changes in the past have been made to speed up the game and to make it easier to officiate.

I suggest the following rules changes for high school basketball to make the game better for the players first. Then the coaches, officials and fans..

1. Put the jump ball back into the game..

2. When the defense ties up the offense for a held ball, then award the ball to the defense. The offense never ties up the defense and the only time there is not team possession or team control is on a shot, rebound or a held ball. If there is a held or jump ball on these three situations then use the jump ball.

The held ball or jump ball should not be determined by an arrow, alternating possession. The effort should be made to reward the defense.

3. On a player-control-foul on an attempted field goal, when the player shooting the ball has left the floor and the ball is in the air and then the contact occurs caused by the shooter, then if the ball goes in, count the basket and award the defense the ball out-of-bounds. Call it a charging foul as there is no team control when the ball has left the shooter’s hands.

4. Change the closely guarded distance to three feet instead of six. This would mean that the defender is actually guarding the player dribbling or holding the ball..

5. No fouling out. How many games are decided by who is not playing, especially in tournament games? When a player receives his fifth foul and the coach takes the player out of the game, there is no penalty. If the coach does not take the player out on the fifth foul or if he does and the player returns to the game and commits a foul, then the penalty is like an intentional foul — two shots and the ball out-of-bounds.

This would add the following coaching strategies. Is the player that good that he needs to be on the floor for the team to be successful? If the coach keeps the player in the game, does the coach have his team go zone to protect the player from fouling? Does the opponent’s coach try to get the ball against the player with the fifth foul?

6. Hand checking (hands on a player with or without the ball) should be called as an intentional foul. This would clean up the game because hand checking a player with or without the ball is definitely a defensive advantage.

7. Eliminate calling timeouts to prevent a violation. Don’t let players or coaches call a timeout to avoid a jump ball, to avoid a five-second out-of-bounds on a throw-in, to a avoid a 10-second backcourt call or avoid going out-of-bounds with the ball in a player’s possession. Reward the defense.

8. Do not allow coaches to call timeouts unless the clock has stopped. All timeouts when the clock is running have to be requested by the players on the court after the coach instructs one of the players to call the timeout.

9. Call the player-control foul what it really is: a player out-of-control foul. If the player with the ball is in control of his body then he wouldn’t be out-of-control and charge into a defensive player who has established his legal guarding position.

What do you think about these changes?