Basketball Rules | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

Basketball Rules

 Rule 1: Facility | Rule 2: Player Eligibility | Rule 3: Team Composition | Rule 4: Equipment | Rule 5: Beginning a Game | Rule 6: Game Time and Time-Outs | 
Rule 7: Scoring | Rule 8: Free Throw and Fouls | Rule 9: Co-Rec Adaptations | Rule 10: Protests | 

General rules adapted for Intramural play; in other cases, rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations will be in effect.

Recent rule changes appear in italicized font.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All games will be played at the Field House South Gym unless otherwise noted.

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Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply. Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully.
  2. All players must check-in with a University of Iowa or government-issued photo ID with the scorekeeper prior to the start of each game.

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Rule 3: Team Composition

  1. The game shall be played between two teams of five players each on the court at one time. Co-Rec will consist of five players (two men/three women or three men/two women).  A minimum of four players (Co-Rec; two men/two women) is required to prevent a forfeit. There is no maximum to the number of players that can be on a team’s roster.

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Rule 4: Equipment

  1. Jewelry: Hand jewelry is not permitted to be worn during participation in Intramural Basketball. Wrist jewelry must be taped down, and must stay taped down throughout the contest. Necklaces must be taped down inside the shirt, and must stay taped down throughout the contest. Stud earrings, or earrings that do not extend beyond the earlobe, are permitted, but must be covered throughout the contest. Intramural Sports will not provide tape for the taping of jewelry. The Intramural Sports staff retains the right to require any jewelry deemed dangerous to be removed prior to participation, or continued participation.
    • Any player in the game found wearing illegal jewelry will be assessed a technical foul and must immediately be replaced by a substitute. The player may not re-enter the game until the illegal jewelry has been removed or covered as stated in Rule 4:1. If there is no substitute available, the offending player cannot re-enter the game until the first substitution opportunity after the clock has properly started. Continual violation of the jewelry rule by a player can result in ejection of that player from the contest.
  2. Headgear: Bandanas with exposed knots, baseball caps or any other headgear with a bill or a hard outer surface are not permitted. Players may wear a headband no wider than two inches and made of non-abrasive cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather, or rubber. Rubber or elastic bands may only be used to control hair.

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Rule 5: Beginning a Game

  1. The game will begin with a jump ball at the center circle. In Co-Rec, if the captains cannot agree on the gender of the jumpers, a coin flip will determine jump ball participants.
  2. A minimum of four players (Co-Rec: two men/two women) must be present to start an official game. If less than four players are present and ready to play (signed-in, dressed properly etc.), the game will be declared a forfeit 10 minutes after the scheduled game time. A team may only play with less than four players if a player fouls out or becomes injured during the game. However, a team cannot continue the game with less than four players unless the officials believe that team has a legitimate chance to win.

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Rule 6: Game Time and Time-Outs

  1. A game will consist of two 14-minute halves. Each team will be entitled to three full-length (60 second) time-outs during each game. A team that requests a time-out after using all of its allotted time-outs will be charged with a team technical foul. If a game goes into overtime, each team may use any unused time-outs and receives one extra time-out during each overtime period.
    • For Intramural Sports purposes, “coaches” of teams are not allowed to call time-outs. All time-outs must be called by players currently participating in the game. Time-outs cannot be called from the bench.
  2. The clock will be stopped for all fouls, jump balls, out-of-bounds, violations, and time-outs. This includes injuries, conferences with scorekeepers, etc. SAME AS HIGH SCHOOL RULES. The clock will not stop after a made basket in the last minute of the second half or overtime.
  3. Overtime: If the score is tied at the end of regulation or any overtime period, the ball will be put into play with a jump ball. The overtime periods shall be three minutes in length. These overtime periods will continue until there is no longer a tie after an overtime period.

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Rule 7: Scoring

  1. Official Score: The official score will be kept by the scorekeeper. In the event of a discrepancy, the score kept on the score sheet will be considered the official score. It shall be the running score at the bottom of the score sheet.
  2. Mercy Rule: If a team is ahead by 20 points or more at any point after the start of the second half, the clock will run continuously, except during officials and team time-outs. If at any time the point difference falls below 20 points, the clock will then stop on all whistles.

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Rule 8: Free Throw and Fouls

  1. Shooting Fouls: Fouls against a shooter in the act of shooting – two or three free throws will be attempted if the player's try was not successful, one free throw, if the shot was made.
  2. Common Fouls: Ball awarded out-of-bounds at the spot nearest the foul until the seventh team foul.
  3. 1-and-1 Bonus:  One free throw will be awarded to the offended player on the seventh, eighth, and ninth team foul of each half.  If successful, a second free throw will be attempted (non-shooting fouls only).
  4. Double Bonus: Two free throws will be awarded to the offended player on the tenth team foul and all subsequent team fouls of each half (non-shooting fouls only).
  5. Free Throw Substitution: During multiple personal foul free throws, substitutions may only be made before the final attempt in the sequence and after the final attempt has been converted. EXCEPTION:  When a player is required by rule to be replaced prior to administering the free throw(s), all other substitutes who have legally reported may then also enter the game.    
  6. Player-Control Fouls: A foul committed by a player in control of the ball. The official shall award the ball to the offended team at a place out-of-bounds nearest to the point where the foul occurred. No free throws are awarded, nor can any points be scored on player-control fouls.
  7. Team-Control Fouls: Any common foul committed by the team that has team-control of the ball. The official shall award the ball to the offended team at a place out-of-bounds nearest to the point where the foul occurred. No free throws are awarded, nor can any points be scored on team-control fouls.Team control does not exist on jump balls or during a shot attempt.
  8. Technical Fouls: All technical fouls will result in two free throws for the offended team. The offended team then gets possession of the ball at mid-court after the two free throws. Anyone on the offended team may shoot the free throws. Examples are, but not limited to: unnecessary roughness, dirty play, foul language, abusive language from players, "coaches," managers, or crowd, coaches running on the court during play, intentional tripping, fighting, intentional delay of game other than by regular play, intentionally slapping the backboard, requesting a time-out without a time-out remaining, etc. When the words or actions of any player(s), coach(es), or fan(s) are deemed inappropriate or unsporting, the official has the authority to eject the individual(s) involved as to maintain a wholesome playing situation for the other participants in the game.
  9. Intentional Fouls: An Intentional Foul is a Personal or Technical Foul that may or may not be premeditated and is not based solely on the severity of the act. All Intentional Fouls will result in two free throws awarded to the offended team, and the ball out-of-bounds at the spot nearest the foul. This includes Intentional Fouls on successful shot attempts. An Intentional Foul on a missed three point shot attempt will result in three free throws to the offended team.
  10. Entering the Lane: On a free throw, players not in a legal marked lane space (including the shooter) shall remain behind the three-point field-goal line (free throw line for the shooter), AND behind the free throw line extended, until the ball strikes the ring, flange, or backboard, or until the free throw ends. Players occupying any of the legal marked lane spaces on each side of the lane may enter the lane once the free-thrower has released the ball. Players occupying marked free-throw lane spaces may not cross over into the area reserved for the free throw shooter until the ball touches the ring or until the free throw ends. 
  11. Lane Space Occupants During Free Throws: The first two lane spaces adjacent to the end line may not be occupied. The spaces above the blocks must be occupied by opponents of the shooter. If the offense desires the third spaces, it may have them. If the defense desires the fourth spaces, nearest the shooter, it may have them. If a player entitled to the third or fourth spaces does not occupy that space, an opponent may be in the space (within the number limitations, four defense and two offense). EXCEPTION: Lane spaces will be unoccupied during free throws resulting from Technical or Intentional fouls.  
  12. A player must leave the game after he/she has received five fouls (personal or technical). A second unsportsmanlike technical is considered flagrant and the offender is automatically disqualified and must leave the gymnasium.  Any ejected player will also be suspended for at least his/her next scheduled game, plus any other Intramural events within that time frame.  Failure to leave the facility following an ejection may result in a team forfeit.

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Rule 9: Co-Rec Adaptations

  1. A playing team of five members must consist of three women and two men, or two women and three men.
  2. To start a game, a team must have a minimum of two women and two men.
  3. A team may continue to play with less than five members.
    • Four players: two women and two men OR three women and one man
    • Three players: two women and one man OR one woman and two men (only if the officials believe that team has a legitimate chance to win).
  4. Teams will be required to use a 28.5 inch basketball, the size used in women’s college basketball, in all Co-Rec games. Both team captains must agree on a 28.5 inch basketball to be used in the game. If captains cannot agree, a ball will be provided by Recreational Services.

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Rule 10: Protests

  1. If a team feels an official has misinterpreted a rule, it must lodge a protest at the time of the ruling. The team must call a time-out at the time of the ruling and inform the official it wishes to protest a misapplication or misinterpretation of a rule.  The game will be stopped to obtain a ruling from the Intramural Supervisor. Failure to call time-out and obtain an immediate ruling from the Intramural Supervisor at the time of the rule in question will void any future right to protest. If the official’s ruling stands, the protesting team will be charged the time-out. If the official’s ruling is changed, the team is not charged a time-out. If a team does not have any time-outs remaining, it can still call a protest time-out. If the official's ruling stands, that team will be charged a technical foul. No protest concerning officials’ judgment will be considered. If the protesting team still feels the ruling is incorrect, it must then lodge a written protest form through the Intramural Supervisor.

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