RAY SWANSON | Keystoner Basketball rules change again

Just when you become familiar with the old prep basketball rules and regulations in the Keystone State, it's time for some new ones.
With that in mind, the Mercer Chapter of the PIAA will stage a mandatory meeting for all officials and coaches at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Hickory High auditorium. On tap will be rule changes for the 2005-06 season.
Coaches on all levels of play are invited to attend.
All officials and head coaches must attend. Terry Carrigan will be the interpreter.
Technical fouls will now be assessed for removing a jersey, misuse of a uniform, or demonstrative behavior regarding the shirt or uniform.
Apparently there is a growing concern nationally of the trend to taunt or garner undue attention by a player with the shirt or uniform.
Keep your shirt on
Now, the removal of a shirt within the confines of the playing area will result in a technical.
It was pointed out that even a blood-soaked shirt must be changed out of the playing area, in the locker room or in an adjacent space out of view of the fans and players. Failure to follow these procedures will also result in a technical.
There's more to the shirt regulations. If a player deliberately pulls a shirt out of the waistband of the uniform it is a technical.
If a player taunts an opponent, or the fans, or celebrates by pulling on the shirt, or holding it out from the chest to boast or taunt, that's a technical.
Coaches must bear the responsibility to make sure uniforms stay on team members. Pants have to be pulled up to the waist and shirts have to be tucked into the waistband.
A few examples of acts resulting in technical fouls: player is distraught after committing a foul and tugs angrily at his shirt causing it to come out of his waistband; player makes a great play and holds his shirt out to express his pride; player on the bench is saddened by events in game and pulls shirt over his/her head, an indirect technical on the coach.
Other new rules to be explained include: "Team Control Foul" which will now be enforced like a Player Control Foul; Double Fouls/Double Technicals and others.
Don't leave the court
Another rule change pertains to a player leaving the court for an unauthorized reason. Formerly it was a technical. Now it will be a violation.
Any player who voluntarily leaves the court commits a violation. The ball will be awarded to the other team at the spot of the violation.
The most common reasons for a player to leave the court was to avoid a screen, avoid contact, or confuse the defender. Now that action is a turnover.
All of the rule changes will be explained and demonstrated at the mandatory meeting.
Officials are instructed to use these new rules in all scrimmages, all junior high games and other games.
Should be plenty of action in the months ahead but right now, before basketball steps into the limelight. I'm all geared up for the 2005 football season which is all set to break loose very soon.
Looks like some very tough races shaping upon the local front.

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