Reminder: Late Game Policy

Reminder: Late Game Policy

Published Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Basketball in the MBA is played under rules established by FIBA as well as a number of additions and variations which are meant to adapt the game more specifically to youth play. These latter rules are known as the Metro Basketball Association Rules of Play.  The MBA has a Rules Committee who accept suggestions for new rules, modifications or deletion from our MBA Rules of Play. The committee debates the merits of  these changes and makes recommendations to the member clubs who vote to approve or reject the changes at the Annual General Meeting.
In all levels of organized sports, from professional to youth leagues such as ours, there will be rules made from time to time, which lack clarity, or have unintended consequences, or are just plain bad rules. We find ourselves in a situation where a seemingly simple measure has shown the potential to be problematic. This involves the inclusion of maximum game durations for the various levels of play (i.e. 1 hour and 15 minutes in Under 14).

The goal of the limits on game times was to ensure that games run on time and prevent situations where we have to a) pay additional (unbudgeted) rental fees for gym time when games run late; or b) cut short the final games of the day when our rental time has expired. This latter measure almost always involves teams who have had nothing to do with creating the lateness. Essentially the wish was to enforce the idea that each game should be run on time or as close to it as possible. If each game is completed within their designated time allotment, we should not face any problems.

What we did not anticipate was having such rules enforced in such a manner that directly effects the outcome of games, or having the rules used as tools to benefit one team over another. We have had a couple of cases of living by the letter of the rules rather than by the spirit of the rules. As a result we find that we have had to step back and examine what we wanted as opposed to what we have received. Our Rules Committee will be taking a close look at the matter in the coming months. In the meantime we find that we had to develop a policy as to how to enforce the game time limits. A number of options were discussed. It was important to make sure that we did not affect the ability of coaches to make strategic decisions late in the game and do our best to minimize the impact of the rules on game outcomes.

As of this date Rules 5.1.3, 5.2.3, 5.3.3 and 5.4.2 concerning the maximum duration of games shall be handled as follows:
•    At the expiry of the allotted time for the game, if the game clock has more than 2 minutes remaining, the clock shall be reset to 2 minutes and the game may proceed from that point.
•    At the expiry of the allotted time for the game, if the game clock has 2 minutes or less remaining the game may proceed as per normal play.
•    If a game is found to be running late, half-time and period breaks may be shortened or eliminated at the discretion of the game officials.

We sincerely hope that such matters are never required. To assist in minimizing such situations we request that all coaches have their teams prepared to start on time and have players organized to check into the game with as little delay as possible. We ask that referees assist the scorekeepers whenever possible in the recording of the shifts played. Scorekeepers must keep a close eye on the time allotted for each game and keep the referees informed if a time problem may arise.