For National Federation of High School (NFHS) Rule 2-10 and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Rule 2-12

To understand and properly apply the correctable error rule, 4 questions must be answered.

  1. What are the correctable errors?
  2. When are they correctable?
  3. How are errors corrected?
  4. Who may appeal?
This tutorial answers these questions, describes point of interruption for correctable errors, and addresses how and why correctable error situation should be avoided. It is best reviewed online (at http://phillyref.com/articles/basketball/correctableerrors.html) where interactive features are available.




    The four that involve free throws are:
  • Failure to award a merited
  • Awarding an unmerited free throw
  • Permitting a wrong player to attempt a free throw
  • Attempting a free throw at the wrong basket
    The fifth correctable error is:
  • Erroneously to count ing or canceling a score
Note: The first 4 correctable errors occur when the clock is stopped. Only the fifth can occur while the clock is running.

Error Examples ball/clock
Failure to award a merited
free throw
Player B1 (defense) commits a common foul; the 7th team B foul of the half. The official awards the ball to Team A for a throw-in.

B1 commits a common foul; the 10th team B foul of the half. The official awards a free throw (one and one) to A1. A1 misses the free throw.
dead/
stopped

same
Awarding an unmerited
free throw
B1 commits a common foul; the 6th team B foul of the half. The official awards a free throw (one and one) to A1.

B1 commits a common foul; the 9th team B foul of the half. The official awards two free throws to A1. A1 makes both free throws.

A1 (offense) commits a team control foul, the 10th team B foul of the half. The official awards B1 2 free throws.
dead/
stopped

same

same
Permitting a wrong player
to attempt free throw
B1 commits a common foul against A1; the 10th team B foul of the half. A2 mistakenly shoots and makes the 2 free throws awarded by the official. dead/
stopped
Attempting a free throw at the wrong basket B1 is ejected at the start of the 3rd quarter for punching A1. A3 mistakenly shoots the 2 free throws at the wrong basket. dead/
stopped
Erroneously counting or cancelling a score A2 makes a shot that was started when his foot was touching the 3-point line. The official signals a 3-point goal.

B2 goaltends or commits basket interference on a shot by A1 and the official fails to notify the table to score the basket.

The official erroneously signals goaltending on a missed try.
dead/
running
dead/
stopped
same


 Do not proceed until you have memorized the five correctable errors.
 If you do not fully understand live and dead ball status, do not proceed until you have read the live ball/dead ball rule excerpts at the end of this tutorial.

pg. 1




Each of the five correctable errors may be corrected if they are recognized before the second live ball, after the error occurs and after the clock starts or is already running.

The correctable error rule is usually applied when the ball is already dead. With one exception (more on that later), play should not be stopped specifically to apply the rule. This chart (adapted from an IAABO presentation) summarizes the correctable error time frames.

Dead  1st live after error
and clock starts/is running
Dead  2nd liveafter error
and clock starts/is running

Error
Made

Any activity before ball
becomes live and clock
starts or is running.
 
Correct  
To Here
  

 

Let’s put our guideline to the test with examples.
B1 commits a common foul; the 7th team B foul of the half. Official awards the ball to Team A for a throw-in. Ball is at disposal of Team A. Team A completes throw-in. A1 scores goal. Ball is at disposal of team B for throw-in.
B1 commits a common foul; the 6h team B foul of the half. The official awards a free throw (1 and 1) to A1. A1 shoots 1st free throw.
A1 makes 1st free throw.
A1 shoots and misses 2nd free throw.
Team B rebounds the ball. B1 scores goal. Team A immediately calls time out. After timeout, ball is at disposal of team A for throw-in
B1 fouls A1; the 10th team B foulof the half. Official awards 2 free throws to A1. A2 mistakenly shoots 1st free throw.
A2 misses 1st free throw.
A2 mistakenly shoots 2nd free throw.
A2 makes 2nd free throw.
Ball is at disposal of team B for throw-in.
Team B completes throw-in. B1 is fouled during an unsuccessful try. Ball is at disposal of B1 for free throw.
B1 punches A1 before the start of the 3rd quarter. The official ejects B1 and awards 2 free throw to team A. A3 shoots 1st free throw at wrong basket.
A3 misses 1st free throw.
A3 shoots 2ndfree throw at wrong basket.
A3 makes 2nd free throw.
Ball is at disposal of team B for throw-in.
Team B completes throw-in. B1 scores goal. Ball is at disposal of team A for throw-in.
Official signals a 3-point goal for a shot started by A2 with with a foot on the 3-point line. Ball is at disposal of team B for throw-in. Team B completes throw-in. B1 scores goal. Ball is at disposal of team A for throw-in.

Do not proceed until you fully understand the time frames for correctable errors.

pg. 2





To correct an error, the official must:
  1. Recognize it as one of the 5 correctable errors
  2. Determine that the time frame for correction has not elapsed
  3. Apply the correction
    1. Cancel any unmerited, wrong basket or wrong player free throws and activity during such free throws other than unsporting flagrant intentional or technical fouls
    2. Administer any bypassed merited, right basket or right player free throws
    3. Count (cancel) any erroneously canceled (counted) score
By rule, “Points scored, consumed time and additional activity which may occur” after an error and “prior to the recognition of an error shall not be nullified.”

With one exception, after an error is corrected, play is resumed by the point of interruption method (discussed in the next session). The exception is that if it “involves awarding a merited free throw(s) and there has been no change of team possession since the error was made, play shall resume as after any free-throw attempt(s)”. This exception was referenced in the prior section. For this situation, stop play immediately while the ball is live and possession is maintained.

The error correction steps are presented again in the following flow chart.



*Do not administer free throw(s) if time has expired in the 4th quarter or overtime period and the free throw(s) will not affect the outcome of the game.



pg. 3



Here, we only consider how play is resumed after recognition and administration of a correctable error. We also do not address special cases where an infraction or “end of quarter/period is involved when the game is interrupted”.

Under these circumstances, play is resumed under the point of interruption method with:
  1. a throw in to the team that was in control at a spot nearest to where the ball was located when the interruption occurred;
  2. a free throw or throw-in when the interruption occurred during such activity when a team is entitled to such,
  3. otherwise, an alternating possession throw-in
As implied previously, ideally we only use the point of interruption for a correctable errors when the interruption occurs when the ball is dead and there is no team control.

When would a team be entitled to a throw in or free throw? This would occur after a time-out, score, violation or foul while the ball remains dead.

In examples presented below, after the described situation, the official recognizes that a correctable error occurred and that the time frame for correction has not expired. Also, the official corrects the error before resuming play as described.

Situation Play Resumption
A1 scores. Resume play with a throw-in by team B.
A1 releases the ball on a successful (unsuccessful) try from above the foul line. While the ball is in flight A2 and B2 commit a double foul. For successful try, resume play with a throw-in by team B.

For unsuccessful try, resume play with an alternating possession throw-in.
A1 and B1 simultaneously touch the ball causing it to go out of bounds. Resume play with an alternating possession throw-in.
B1 calls timeout.

Resume play with a throw-in by team B.

A1 is dribbling the ball immediately after controlling a throw-in that resuled from a failure to award a merited free throw. Official stops play. Resume play after the bypassed free throw(s) are complete as play would usually be resumed following free throw(s) completion.





NCAA rule 2-12-6 and NFHS rule 5-8-4 specify that a head coach may appeal by requesting that a correctable error be recognized by an official. The NCAA rule also designates that a table official or another game official may appeal. When such an appeal is made it must be honored by a review by a official. A head coach may, by rule, request a timeout to prevent or rectify a correctable error. When such a timeout is requested by the head coach and a correctable error is recognized as a result, no timeout is charged. NCAA rule and NFHS rule also allow the head coach to confer with personnel at the scorer’s table to request a time out to prevent or rectify a correctable error. For both NCAA and NFHS games, in practice, a coach, table personnel or a player may alert an official to the possibility of a correctable error.




Within the language of NFHS and NCAA basketball rules, officials don't make mistakes. Officials make errors. Table personnel make bookkeeping and scoring mistakes. A bookkeeping mistake, such as a failure to record a goal, “may be corrected an any time until the referee approves the final score.” (NFHS 2-11-11, NCAA 2-17) Both NFHS (2-8-10) and NCAA (5-11) rules allow the referee to add or deduct time from the clock when an official has knowledge of a timing mistake.

NCAA rules on timing mistakes are more specific and include the following:
  • ✓ failure to start or stop the game clock shall be corrected
    1.    During the first dead ball and before the ball is touched inbounds or out of bounds by a player other than a throw-in.
    2.    When the clock should have been continuously running, the mistake shall be corrected before the second live ball is touched inbound or out of bounds by a player other than a thrower-in.
  • ✓ no game clock timing mistake correction shall be carried over from one half or extra period to another
  • ✓ when a shot clock mistake or malfunction occurs
    •    it may be corrected only in the shot clock period in which it occurred
    •    any activity after the mistake/malfunction and until it has been rectified shall be canceled, excluding any flagrant* foul or technical foul
*Note: 2011 NCAA rule change replaced intentional fouls with flagrant 1 fouls.

pg. 4



As this tutorial has described. there are 5 errors that are correctable by officials within a prescribed time frame. Other “snafus” by officials do not satisfy the definition of an error and are not correctable. Consider two examples. In both cases, play resumes without remedy for Team A.

Correctable errors are difficult for officials to understand, messy to administer and confusing to coaches. The first step towards avoiding correctable errors is to know the correctable error rules. These preventive officiating steps can further help to avoid correctable errors.


For Each Dead Ball

  • ✓ determine ball location to determine throw-in spot if necessary
  • ✓ check clock to correct score or time display if necessary
  • ✓ establish eye contact with partner(s) to confirm and coordinate
  • ✓ sweep court and players to maintain control
  • ✓ glance at table to identify required attention

For a Potential 3-Point Shot

  • ✓ locate the shooter's feet to determine 2 or 3-point status
  • ✓ point to the spot for a 2-point shot
       when shooter's foot is on or inside but near the 3 point line
  • ✓ give preliminary signal for a 3-point shot
  • ✓ trail mirrors lead 3-point goal signal for 2-person crew
  • ✓ trail (center) mirrors center (trail) 3-point goal signal for 3-person crew

Before A Foul

  • ✓ know the bonus situation for each team
  • ✓ confirm the number of team fouls with the table
       as the single and double bonus nears
  • ✓ confirm number of team fouls with partner(s)
       occasionally during dead ball periods

Before And Between Free Throws

  • ✓ administrator verbally and visually confirm # of free throws
  • ✓ partner(s) visually confirm # of free throws
  • ✓ check the clock to correct score or time display if necessary
  • ✓ glance at table  to identify required attention

After Foul

  • ✓ blow whistle, provide signal
  • ✓ signal score if goal made or awarded
  • ✓ verbally identify color and # of player who foluled to partner
  • ✓ verbally identify shooter's # to partner, if applicable
  • ✓ for free throws, verbally identify shooter to partner
  • ✓ state and signal number of free throws to partner, if any
  • ✓ signal throw-in spot and direction with color stated, if no free throws
  • ✓ report fully to table
        - signal and state 2 or 3-point goal if applicable
        - Signal team color and # of player who fouled (also and state #)
        - signal foul type
        - for free throws, signal and state # of shots
        - signal throw-in spot and direction with color stated, if no free throws

Before A Throw-In Starts    ✓ do not place ball at disposal of the thrower-in until visual confirmation from partner(s)

pg. 5






NFHS Rule 6-1-2 (Live Ball)

Art. 4. The ball becomes live when:
  1. On a jump ball, the tossed ball leaves the official’s hand(s).
  2. On a throw-in, it is at the disposal of the thrower.
  3. On a free throw, it is at the disposal of the free-thrower.

NFHS Rule 6-7 (Dead Ball)

The ball becomes dead or remains dead when:

ART 1....A goal, as in 5-1, is made.
ART 2....It is apparent that the free throw will not be successful on a:
   a. Free throw which is to be followed by another free throw.
   b. Free throw whicht is to be followed by a throw-in.
ART 3....A held ball occurs or the ball lodges between the backboard and the ring or comes to rest on the flange.
ART 4....A player control or team control foul occurs.
ART 5....An official’s whistle is blown (see exceptions a and b below).
ART 6....Time expires for a quarter or extra period (see exception a below).
ART 7....A foul, other than player- or team-control occurs (see exceptions a, b and c below).
ART 8....A free-throw violation by the throwing team, as in 9-1 occurs.
ART 9....A violation, as in 9-2 through 9-13, occurs occurs (see exceptions a, b and c below).

EXCEPTION: The ball does not become dead until the try or tap ends, or until the airborne shooter returns to the floor, when:
  1. Article 5, 6, or 7 occurs while a try or tap for a field goal is in flight.
  2. Article 5 or 7 occurs while a try for a free throw is in flight.
  3. Article 7 occurs by any opponent of a player who has started a try or tap for goal (is in the act of shooting) before the foul occurred, provided time did not expire before the ball was in flight. The trying motion must be continuous and begins after the ball comes to rest in the player’s hand(s) on a try or touches the hand(s) on a tap, and is completed when the ball is clearly in flight. The trying motion may include arm, foot or body movements used by the player when throwing the ball at his/her basket.
  4. teammate before the ball is released for a try for goal.
  5. Article 9 as in 9-3 or 9-13-1, occurs by an opponent.
NOTE: If A1’s try or tap is legally touched in flight, the goal counts if made, if the period ends before or after the legal touching. If the touching is interference or goaltending by A, no points are scored. If B violates, the points are awarded - either two or three depending on whether it was a two or three-point try or tap.

NCAA Rule 6-1-4 (Live Ball)

Art. 4. The ball shall become live when:
  1. On a jump ball, the ball leaves the official’s hand.
  2. On a throw-in, the ball is at the disposal of the thrower-in.
  3. On a free throw, the ball is at the disposal of the free-thrower.

NCAA Rule 6-5 (Dead Ball)

Art. 1. The ball shall become dead or remain dead when:
  1. Any goal is made.
  2. It is apparent that the free throw will not be successful on a free throw for a technical foul or a false double foul or a free throw that is to be followed by another free throw.
  3. A held ball occurs or the ball lodges between the backboard and the ring or comes to rest on the flange.
  4. An official blows the whistle except when the try is in flight.
  5. Time expires for a half or extra period.
  6. An official blows the whistle when a foul is committed by a shooter’s teammate before the ball is released for a try for goal.
  7. An official blows the whistle when any floor violation (Rules 9-3 through 9-14) occurs, there is basket interference or goaltending (Rule 9-16) or there is a free-throw violation by the free-thrower’s team (Rule 9-1).

NCAA Rule 6-6 (Ball Does Not Become Dead)

Art. 1. A live ball shall not become dead until the try in flight ends when:
  1. An official’s whistle is blown.
  2. Time expires for a half or extra period.
  3. A foul occurs.

Art. 2. A live ball shall not become dead when a foul is committed by an opponent of a player who starts a try for goal before a foul occurs, provided that time does not expire before the ball is in flight.

Art. 3. A live ball shall not become dead when the ball is in flight on a try for field goal or during a free throw when an opponent swings his or her arms or elbows excessively without making contact. When the shooter, tapper or his or her teammates commit this infraction, the ball shall become dead immediately.

Art. 4. While a free throw is in flight, the ball shall not become dead when:
  1. An official blows the whistle.
  2. A foul occurs.

pg. 6