If you have attended any basketball games at the varsity, junior varsity, or middle school level this year, you may have noticed a change in the way fouls are counted toward the one-and-one application.

Chapter and verse in the 2020-21 National Federation Basketball Rules book is Rule 4.8.

Though it states that the one-and-one free throw begins on the seventh team foul and two free throws are awarded beginning with the 10th team foul, the Georgia High School Association has been designated an experimental organization that will execute the one-and-one differently.

For this season in Georgia, and perhaps nationally in future seasons, the one-and-one will be awarded on the sixth team foul each quarter and two free throws awarded on the eighth team foul. However, the foul count is set back to zero at the start of the next quarter. So, each quarter begins with 0-0 team fouls. As usual, player-control, team-control, and technical fouls count toward the bonus.

One exception: in case of overtime, the team foul count from the fourth quarter continues into the overtime period.

Reactions to the one-and-one experiment are mixed. It does speed up the game with fewer free throws, but at the end of games with a close score. it may limit the common practice of fouling to stop the clock. The coach is hoping the team with the lead will miss a free throw, allowing the trailing team an opportunity to score after a rebound.

This practice sometimes works, when free throws are missed. With this new policy it may take several fouls to reach the required six and the one-and-one application.

Some other changes:

To start the game, the visiting team will receive the ball for a throw in at the division line.

The Alternating Possession arrow is changed to the home team following the inbound pass by the visiting team. So no “jump ball” to start the game. If there is an overtime period, there will be a coin flip with the visiting teach coach making the call, to determine first possession.

The “captain and coaches meeting” at the three-minute mark before the game will include only the two head coaches and one referee. No pre-game high fives with players and opposing coaches and officials are allowed, as well as no “good game” exchanges at the end of the contest.

Other Covid-19 requirements include the spacing of the team bench and/or the wearing of face coverings for the team, and the sanitization of the game balls at each time out, the beginning of each quarter, and whenever the ball is touched by a non-player.

I want to close this article with a tribute to one of our officials who passed away Dec. 24, Paul Walker. His death was COVID-19 related, though he had other health issues. Paul was a native of Tennessee who played his collegiate basketball at Berry College in the 1970s.

A 32-year veteran official, Paul officiated hundreds of basketball games in the area. He was a man of great character, and it showed on the basketball court and in his life. The local basketball community will miss Paul Walker. He was a great friend to all of us in NWGBOA.

The 2020-21 region play has begun. May all the calls go your way. See you at the gym.

Stan Pethel is a longtime local basketball official and a member of the Northwest Georgia Basketball Officials Association.

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