Basketball Rules

NFHS Basketball rules shall apply to all games, except any of the following adaptations. 

Players and Substitutes

  1. A team shall consist of five players. Four players are required to start a game. 
    1. In Co-Rec, a team must have a minimum of two women and two men to start the game.
    2. Gender compositions must be one of the following
      1. 2 men and 3 women
      2. 3 men and 2 women.
    3. There are no other co-rec modifications, including points awarded based on gender.
  2. All substitutes must report to the score table before entering the game. They must wait to be beckoned by the game official before entering the court.



  1. All equipment is governed by the following rules:
    1. Acceptable gym attire and basketball type shoes must be worn.
    2. Compression sleeves and tights are optional, legal equipment.
    3. Sandals, hard-soled or black-soled shoes may not be worn. 
    4. Guards, casts, and braces must be worn for medical reasons and must meet all specifications decided by the intramural sports staff. 
    5. Any item, in the officials’ judgment, that constitutes a safety concern is not permitted.
    6. A game ball will be provided. (Teams may use their own ball if agreed upon by the opposing team & approved by the official)
      1. Women’s league will use the women’s sized basketball.
      2. Men’s league will use the men’s sized basketball.
      3. Co-Rec leagues can choose to use either ball. 
    7. Matching colored jerseys or t-shirts with numbers are required. Jerseys will be provided for each team before the game. Jerseys must be returned after the game. Teams will be charged $25 for each jersey that is not returned.
      1. A shirt with sleeves must be worn under the jerseys provided by intramural sports staff.
      2. Teams are allowed to wear their own jerseys or t-shirts, provided they have numbers. Number may not be taped to the uniform.
    8. Hats and all headwear with knots and/or containing “hard” or metal material are illegal.
    9. No jewelry. All jewelry must be removed before the start of the game, or could result in a technical foul.  EXCEPTIONS: medical or religious reasons and MUST be taped or covered. Tape for covering jewelry is not provided.

The Game

  1. Timing
    1. A game shall consist of four 10 minute running clock halves.
      1. The clock will run the entire first, second and third periods, unless stopped by a timeout 
      2. The clock will run for the first 8 minutes of the fourth period.
      3. Regular timing rules will apply under 2 minutes in the fourth period. 
    2. Halftime will be three minutes.
    3. There will be a one minute break between quarters
  2. Starting the game and AP arrow
    1. A jump ball shall be used to start each game and each overtime period. The alternating possession arrow will be used to start the other periods. 
  3. Overtime              
    1. Overtime period(s) will be 2 minutes stopped clock.
    2. Teams will play towards their second half goal.
    3. Team fouls carry over from the second half.
    4. Overtime will only apply to playoff tournament games. 

Mercy Rule

  1. If at any time during the last 2 minutes of the fourth period, one team has a lead of 20 or more points, the game will end.
  2. If at any time during the last 5 minutes of the fourth period one team has a lead of 30 or more points, the game will end.


  1. Teams get three timeouts per game. Timeouts do not carry over into overtime.  
  2. One time out for each overtime period.

Fouls and Penalties

  1. Bonus: On the 5th and subsequent team fouls in a quarter, the offended team will be awarded two free throws for the rest of the quarter. These will reset each quarter.
  2. Player/Team Control Fouls: There will be no free throws awarded on player or team control fouls.
  3. Intentional Fouls: Two points will be awarded and the ball at the spot nearest the infraction to the offended team for a throw in.
  4. Technical Fouls: Two points will be awarded and the ball at mid court to the opponent.
  5. Flagrant Fouls: A player who commits a flagrant foul will be disqualified from the game.  Two points will be awarded and the ball at the spot nearest the infraction to the offended team for a throw in.
  6. Dunking: Players are allowed to dunk during any live ball, but may not hang on the rim, except for if in the judgement of the official it was necessary to avoid contact with another player. An unsportsmanlike technical foul will result for participants that dunk when prohibited.
  7. Disqualification: A player will be disqualified on their 5th foul (personal and technical fouls apply)

Page last modified October 17, 2023