These 10 rule changes could improve high school basketball in Maine

After watching another year of high school basketball, I believe the following rule changes would be beneficial for players, coaches, officials, fans and the game.

Having been a high school player, coach, official and fan, I am always looking for ways to give back to the game which gave me so much.

Here are my suggestions for rule changes for the 2017-18 season:

— Put in a no foul-out rule.

On the fifth foul, if the coach does not remove the player, the penalty is two shots and possession at the spot of the foul like an intentional foul. If the player is removed from the game or stays in and commits a sixth foul or more, then it’s two shots and the ball.

This rule change would increase game strategy as coaches would have to decide if players are that important to keep on the floor. Should coaches go zone to protect players? Will offenses go right at players who would have to decide whether to foul?

— It is time to put the jump ball back in the game.

It was taken out in 1985 because there were so many jump balls in girls games and many officials could not toss the ball up correctly. The girls game has progressed so jump balls are minimal, just like the boys games.

Also, officials can practice tossing the ball up correctly by standing under the basket and tossing the ball up so that it goes through the basket from the bottom.

— If the jump ball rule does not return, then give the ball to the defense when it ties up an offensive player with the ball. This would be an easy call for officials.

— Use the college advantage and disadvantage method for calling personal fouls.

If any contact puts a defensive or offensive player at a disadvantage or either gains an advantage that is a personal foul regardless of how much contact there is. If there is no advantage-disadvantage, then there’s no foul. This should reduce fouls and make the game more free flowing.

— Don’t allow coaches to call timeouts when their team has the ball unless it’s by a player. Prior to 1998, coaches were only allowed to call timeouts on dead balls or through their players on the court when they had the ball.

— When an airborne shooter releases the ball before any contact occurs, and the ball goes in and the player is called for a charging foul, the basket should count and the shooter should be charged with a foul.

— Technical fouls should be assessed to players for excessive celebrations and when they don’t raise a hand after being called for a personal foul. The latter was in place until 1974. Both should count as personal fouls.

— If a player dunks the ball and pulls the rim down, it’s automatic offensive basket interference and the basket doesn’t count.

— It’s time for a shot clock. It’s a one-time expense and boosters clubs could fund it while providing full time volunteers for varsity, junior varsity and freshman games to run the clock.

Some states already have the shot clock, but give up their National Federation of State High School membership’s right to be on the rules committee when it’s their state’s turn.

— Use three officials for all regular-season games. That would be consistent with the tourney when three officials are used for all games.

This is my last newspaper column of the basketball season and I hope readers have enjoyed them as much as I have writing them.