Many factors cause differences between high school and college basketball officiating

With March Madness in full swing, fans are seeing the differences in the officiating of the high school and college men’s basketball games.

The first reasons for this deal with major rule differences:

– On college  foul shots, the players on the free-throw lane lines may enter the lane as soon as the ball is released from the foul shooter’s hand. In high school, it is when the ball hits the rim.

– When the ball leaves a college shooter’s hands on a made field goal attempt and then the player charges into the defensive player, the basket counts and a player control foul is charged to the offensive player. In high school, the basket does not count.

– There are media timeouts in college, but not in high school..

– A college player in the air  going out-of-bounds with the ball  cannot call a timeout, but a high school player can do so..

– A coaching box in college runs 28 feet from end line to the hash mark., In high school, it is 14 feet.

– The clock stops on any made field goal in the last minute of college games, but not in high school games.

– Colleges  have flagrant one and two fouls, but it is just a flagrant foul in high school. A flagrant one is when it is excessive contact and especially contact above the shoulders and it is like a technical foul. A flagrant two is unsportsmanlike contact and the player is ejected and the team is awarded two shots.

– College technical fouls shots are shot first if there were foul shots before the technical foul and the ball is put in play at the point of interruption of the game. In high school the team shooting the technical is awarded the ball at the division line opposite the scoring table.

– Colleges can use video replays in certain situations to assist with calls, but high schools do not.

– College has a painted two-inch restricted area, a half six-foot circle in front and  under the basket. Any secondary or help defender who has a foot in the circle, or touching, or above it, is called for an automatic block if an offensive player with the ball charges into him even though the secondary defender is in a legal guarding position.

Beyond these rule differences, there are several other aspects of the college game that will affect how it is officiated.

The college game is more physical because the players are stronger and more mature physically while advantage and disadvantage is also used by officials more in college in calling fouls.

The college game has been tightened up more this year on hand checking, freedom of movement and block/charge plays.

Another difference is that players are allowed to grasp the rim while dunking in college without a technical being called. In high school it is called unless the player is in danger to injure himself or players underneath him.

There are also differences between college and high school officials.

College officials are more concerned about getting the call correct than they are about their mechanics when calling a foul.

College officials let coaches out of the coaching box without penalty of a technical more than is allowed in high school.

College officials meet more often, especially on out-of bound calls, and they seem to call more blocks than player control or charges.

College refs also seem to start the closely guarded five-second count more slowly  when a defender is six feet or closer and guarding a player with the ball in front court.

After officiating many high school and college games over the years, it has been easier for me to do a college game than a high school one because the skill level is better.