The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee approved two rule changes last month that in my opinion send out a severely mixed message.
The first rule change now allows players lined up along the lane for a free throw to move on the release of the ball instead of waiting for it to hit the rim, What this does is give the offensive rebounders in the second spot on the lane a much better chance of securing the rebound by simply being quicker to the ball.
As a result, defensive rebounders will now need to be much more physical when boxing out on free throws.
The second major change now says that when defending a dribbler the following acts are an automatic foul: 1) placing two hands on the player, 2) placing an extended arm bar on the player, 3) placing and keeping a hand on the player and 4) contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.
As a result, defenders will now be forced to be much less physical when guarding a ball handler. (This same rule was instituted at the college level at the beginning of last season.)
To keep things consistent the NFHS rules committee should have kept the free throw rule the same and thereby eliminating the extra contact that it is surely going to be generated. Of course it won’t really matter if the high school officials take on the same philosophy as their college counterparts did last season – call every single defensive touch a foul early in the season and then completely ignore the rule as the season progresses.
If and when that happens the two new high school rule changes will actually be completely consistent with each and the game will be more physical than ever,