Basketball rules - Officials & Their Duties
Basketball rules - The makeup of the officiating corps is strictly a matter of choice. The minimum number is five: a referee, an umpire, a scorer, a timer and a shot-clock operator. In some cases, eight officials are used in a lineup comprising a referee, two umpires, a shot-clock operator, two scorers and two timers. Years ago, when there was a center jump after each field goal or free throw; two officials did it all-the referee on the court and one combined scorer-timer on the sidelines.
Although the duties of the officials may not concern spectators or players, you should know that the referee controls the game. The referee is the official who tosses the ball up for the center jump at the start of the game and each overtime period. The referee's assigned chores range from inspecting and approving all equipment before the game's starting time to approving the final score. In between, the referee is responsible for the notification of each team three minutes before each half is to begin and deciding matters of disagreement among the officials. The referee has the power to make decisions on any points not specifically covered in the rules and even to forfeit the game if necessary.
During actual play, there is no practical difference between the referee and umpire(s). They are equally responsible for the conduct of the game; and, because of the speed of play, their duties are dictated essentially by their respective positions on the court from moment to moment. For this reason, the rules specify that no official has the authority to question decisions made by another official.
The officials' control, which begins 30 minutes before starting time for men and 15 minutes for women and concludes with the referee's approval of the final score, includes the power to eject from the court any player, coach or team follower who is guilty of flagrant unsporting conduct. When the referee leaves the confines of the playing area at the end of the game, the score is final and may not be changed.
As we pointed out earlier, jump balls occur only at the start of the game and all overtimes; but officials still must concentrate upon throwing the ball up straight. At other times, play will be resumed with a throw-in. The team not obtaining the ball after the first center jump will begin the alternating process.
When a foul occurs, the official is required by the rules to (a) signal the timer to stop the clock, (b) designate the offender to the scorer and © use his or her fingers to indicate the number of free throws.
When a team is entitled to a throw-in, an official must (a) signal what caused the ball to become dead, (b) indicate the throw-in spot (except after a goal) and © designate the team entitled to the throw-in.
Scorers must (a) record, in numerical order, names and numbers of all players, (b) record field goals made and free throws made and missed, © keep a running summary of points scored, (d) record fouls called on each player and notify officials when a player-disqualification or bonus-free-throw situation arises, (e) record timeouts and report when a team' s allotted number has been used, and (f) record when a squad member has been ejected for fighting.
It is the game-clock and shot-clock operators' responsibility to keep everyone abreast of key factors while carrying out the timing regulations.