High School Basketball Gets New Guidance from IHSAA

High School Basketball Gets New Guidance from IHSAA


New guidance was released today from the Indiana High School Athletic Association for winter sports – including girls and boys high school basketball with up to 500 fans in attendance.

The guidance was also presented for gymnastics, swimming and diving as well as wrestling. 

According to the IHSAA guidance, spectators should always observe social distancing and wear mask/face coverings. 

According to Jason Wille, Sports Information Director of the IHSAA, the plan was presented to the Indiana State Health Department and approved. 

The 2019 Class 3A State Runners Up Salem Lady Lions are set to open their season on Nov. 6 at Clarksville. 

Their first conference game would be at Eastern High School on Nov. 20. 

The Lady Musketeers are set to open their season against Borden on Nov. 6. 

The Lady Senators will face Linton-Stockon in their season opener on Nov. 7. 

Locally, boys basketball will open play in the annual Thanksgiving game between Salem and West Washington in Brooks Memorial Gymnasium on Wednesday, Nov. 25. 

The Eastern Musketeers open play with Borden’s boys’ team on Tuesday, Nov. 24. 

WSLM will broadcast the games on 97.9 FM and 1220 AM as well as stream them online. 

The IHSAA said fans at ballgames would be allowed at the discretion of the host school with guidance from local health officials and in accordance with the governor’s stage 5.

IHSAA noted on its website this afternoon that organizers of events with more than 500 people in attendance will be required to submit a plan to the local health department that outlines measures to mitigate COVID-19. 

The National Federation of State High School Associations along with the IHSAA posted recommendations that were listed today at IHSAA.org.

Pre-game Protocol (2019-2021 NFHS Officials Manual, page 16, 1.8)

  • Limit attendees to the referee and the head coach from each team with each coach standing on the center circle on each side of the division line.
  • All individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet or greater at the center circle.
  • Suspend handshakes prior to and following the Pre-game Conference.

Team Benches (NFHS Rule 1-13-1)

  • Limit the number of bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater.
  • Place team benches opposite the spectator seating.
  • Additional chairs or rows may be added to allow bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater.
  • Create separation between the team bench and the spectator seating behind the bench.
  • Limit contact between players when substituting.
  • Personnel not in the game should adhere to any required local/state face-covering requirements.

Officials Table (NFHS Rule 2-1-3)

  • The host should sanitize the table before the game and at half time.
  • Place officials table sufficiently away from the sideline to allow for additional space for substitutes.
  • Limit seats at the table to essential personnel which includes home team scorer and timer with a recommended distance of 6 feet or greater between individuals. Other
    personnel (visiting scorer, statisticians, media, etc.) may not be deemed essential personnel and consider an alternate location for them.
  • Table personnel should adhere to any required local/state face covering requirements.
  • Pre and Post Game Ceremony
  • Suspend the pre-game introduction handshakes.
  • Suspend post-game protocol of shaking hands.

Basketball Rules Interpretations – Equipment and Accessories

  • Balls given to officials in the locker room, where it is sanitized as recommended by the ball manufacturer and not used for warm-ups.
  • The host school should ensure that the ball is sanitized during time-outs and between quarters.
  • Sanitizer should be provided by the host team at the table.
  • Cloth face coverings are permissible for players.

Officials Uniform and Equipment

  • Long-sleeved shirts are permissible.
  • Officials should not be required to wear jackets during pre-game court/player observation.
  • Electronic whistles are permissible (supplies are limited).
  • Choose a whistle whose tone will carry inside.
  • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
  • Gloves are permissible.

Other Considerations

  • The official may stand 6 feet or greater away from the player making the throw-in and bounce
  • the ball to that player on a frontcourt throw-in.
  • The lead official shall stand on the end line and bounce the ball to the free-throw shooter

Cloth Face Coverings

Per the State of Indiana’s order, face masks have been mandated for all not engaged in strenuous activity. Participants not competing, Coaching staff members, officials table personnel, and spectators should wear a mask at all times.

Considerations for Coaches

  • Communicate guidelines in a clear manner to student-athletes and parents.
  • Conduct workouts in “pods” of the same student-athletes always training and rotating together in practice to ensure more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.
  • Keep accurate records of those student-athletes and staff who attend each practice in case contact tracing is needed.

Considerations for Parents

Make sure student-athlete and immediate household members are free from illness before participating in practice and competition, if there is doubt stay home!

  • Provide personal items for student-athlete and clearly label items.