(Renton, WA) The WIAA has confirmed they will change the rules for free throws in Washington State beginning next season in accordance with the rule change made by the National Federation of High Schools rule change voted on this past April and then approved by the executive board. Click this link for the full story from the NFHS.
The new rule will eliminate 1 and 1 free throws and go straight to 2-shot fouls. The new rule also changes the number of fouls to get to shots on common fouls and that is now 5 down from 7. However, this is a quarterly count and not a combined 1st and 2nd halves. In other words when a team commits it’s 5th foul in a quarter will trigger the 2 free throw attempts. But at the end of the quarter the foul count re-starts at 0, much like the NBA.
ESN’s Will Gaethle is also a long time basketball official and the assignor for the Yakima area for many years, tells us he is not sure how this rule will really impact the game. Gaethle can see where the game could be longer with a guaranteed 2 shots for each foul. But adds that it actually takes more fouls to get to free throws with this rule than under the old rule. Yes he says under the old rule it was 7 but that was for 2 quarters now it’s 10 or 5 per quarter so an increase of 3.5 fouls per quarter to 5 per quarter and that could actually speed up the games.
Gaethle says like most athletic contests with officials it will always be determined in how officials are calling a game. Crews that are calling more fouls in a game it’s simply going to make the game longer. His personal belief is that it may lead to more physical games where a little more is allowed in contact. Gaethle says there will be a getting used to it period for all, officials, players and coaches.
The WIAA is making the change because they are a member of the NFHS and the rule was vetted by representatives from every state and then approved by the executive board also with members from every state. This also makes it that Washington teams are playing the same rules with teams from other states.
There are states that are not moving to the new rule and that’s because those states play halves like men’s college and not quarters. So most if not all of them will stick to the 7 fouls, whether they eliminate the 1 and 1’s is also up to those states.
The WIAA did allow for some middle schools to switch to halves instead of quarters. WIAA officials say the schools or leagues involved will have to bring forward a special rule exemption that the State Executive Board will have to approve. The process is already underway and it’s thought they will ask to stay with the 7 fouls but unsure if they will ask to go straight to 2 shots or keep the 1 and 1. The halves time period was approved under an experimental rule change and willk be reviewed before trying to make a permanent rule change.