Last Updated: Mon, 07/15/2024 - 3:10pm



  1. Basketball is a state championship event in each classification for boys and girls, and schools are aligned on a regional basis. Beginning and ending dates for practice and competition can be found at the front of this publication.
  2. All basketball games will be played by the rules published by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
  3. The number of basketball games allowed (not including regional, sectional and state tournaments) is twenty-five (25) regular season games either in head-to-head competition or in invitational tournaments that have been approved by the GHSA. NOTE: All basketball schedules and contracts are to be completed by June 1 each year.
  4. The following policies exist for basketball games:
    1. Warm-up time between games shall be no less than fifteen (15) minutes. The game clock operator shall start the clock between games when the last player from the previous game leaves the court.
    2. Sub-varsity games shall be played using seven (7) minute quarters. Playing time may be reduced on a night that precedes a school day.
    3. Region and State Tournament games do not have a starting time restriction, but shall be completed no later than 11:30 p.m., on a night that precedes a school day.
  5. In accordance with National Federation rule options, when there is a competitive imbalance between teams, the second half of a game may be reduced to six (6) minute quarters, while using normal timing/scoring rules when:
    1. The point differential at halftime is thirty (30) points or greater, and the coach of the trailing team wishes to have the quarters reduced.
    2. The point differential at the beginning of the fourth (4th) quarter is thirty (30) points or greater, the reduction will be invoked automatically.
  6. All varsity basketball games shall be played with officially-dressed basketball officials who are registered under the GHSA plan for the registration of officials.
    1. The assignment of officials associations for regular-season games, invitational tournaments, and sub-region and region tournaments will be made by the GHSA office.
      1. The GHSA will assign one or more associations to each school for their games.
      2. The school and the local association(s) will sign a contract for the games that are assigned.
    2. The host school must provide an adult (21 years old or older) to maintain the official scorebook, electronic scoreboard, and 35-second clock at all varsity games.
    3. The host school must provide a safe and secure changing area near the playing court for contest officials, free from traffic by school staff, students and spectators one hour prior to game time, during the duration of the contest(s) and until the contest officials depart the facility.
    4. In accordance with By-Law 2.71-c, the host school has the responsibility for providing security escorts for officials at all regular season games and tournaments.
    5. The host school for a “special event” contest shall contact the GHSA office for the officiating assignments.
    6. All varsity level games shall be officiated by a 3-person crew. Sub-varsity games may be officiated by a 2-person crew.
    7. 35-SECOND CLOCK – The 35-second clock is to be used in all “Varsity Level” games.
      1. The individual designated as the “Shot Clock Operator” shall be approved through the GHSA 35-Second Shot Clock Operator certification.
      2. Schools not in compliance with the 35-second shot clock requirements will be assessed a technical foul to start each game.
  7. Schools must enter team schedules, rosters and weekly game/meet results during the season on MaxPreps and be responsible for updates as needed. This information will support statewide media, event programs, broadcasts partners and GHSA Region Standings. Teams are encouraged to maintain team/individual statistics on MaxPreps.
  8. Spectators from participating schools shall not be allowed to sit or stand in the first row of seating at court level on either sideline or endline, and a minimum of one (1) school administrator must be in close proximity to the student section.
    1. Cheerleaders at basketball games shall be restricted from the area at the end of the court during the time a game is in progress unless they are more than eight (8) feet from the boundary line of the court.
      1. This includes when cheerleaders are in an “L” shape with part on the sideline and part on the endline.
      2. The host school or tournament director is responsible for enforcing this rule.
    2. The throwing of souvenirs (such as small basketballs, t-shirts, etc.) into the stands is prohibited until after the final basketball game of the day.
    3. During Semifinals and Finals, schools are limited to a maximum of 20 uniformed cheerleaders at court side.
      1. Cheerleaders shall not occupy spectator seating and shall be in designated courtside areas.
      2. Mascots shall be members of the student body.
    4. No artificial noisemakers (including megaphones) shall be allowed in the gym during basketball games.
    5. Bands shall play only during intervals between periods or during timeouts; the home school is responsible for enforcing this rule.
    6. The practice of cutting or removing nets, or hanging on the rim or backboard is prohibited at all GHSA games.
    7. For the pregame and second half warmup period and during the time of team introductions, teams can not run around or through the opposing team’s half of the court and the midcourt circle area is off limits to both teams. The penalty for violation of this rule will be a technical foul if the officials have taken jurisdiction of the game.
    8. All spectators must wear shirts during the games.
    9. The host school should provide dressing areas for visiting teams in close proximity to the playing floor. Game managers, in conjunction with game officials, may extend halftime intermission to 15 minutes if the dressing area is not in close proximity to the playing floor.
    10.  Coaching boxes must be marked on the floor in both bench areas with one line that is 28 feet from the end line of the court.
    11.  An “X” must be marked on the floor in front of the spot where the scorekeeper sits in order to facilitate the substitution process.
    12.  Players are prohibited from warming up on the court at halftime intermission of the preceding game.
    13.  In accordance with NFHS rules, the official scorer is required to wear a black-and-white, vertically-striped shirt.
    14.  There shall be a minimum warm-up time of 15 minutes between multiple games.


  1. Each region will decide its method for determining the teams that will advance to the State Tournament.
    1. Four teams from each region will advance to the First Round of the State Tournament in all classifications (boys and girls), even when the region is sub-divided.
    2. No region may use a double-elimination tournament.
    3. The tournament committee or tournament director shall secure the services of competent scorekeeper(s) and clock operator(s). NOTE: No team shall have the privilege of placing its scorekeeper and/or timekeeper at or near the position of the official scorekeeper and clock operator.
  2. Officials associations for sub-region and region tournaments will be assigned by the host school’s local association. Issues for covering the tournament will be handled by the tournament director and the assigning officer of the selected officials association.
  3. Region post-season games (sub-region games and full region games) must have a minimum of two games at each site.


  1. In the First Round through the Quarterfinal Round, the higher-seeded teams will host (if equal seeds meet, a “universal” coin flip will determine the host school). In each of the first three rounds, there are two dates of competition.
    1. The girls teams will play on the first night of the designated round, while the boys teams will play on the second night of the round.
    2. In the event that the same school hosts both the boys and girls games, the host school may petition to schedule a doubleheader with the following stipulations:
      1. If a doubleheader is scheduled, it shall be played on the second playing date of that round. If more than two (2) schools are involved, they must all agree on the play date or the schools will play on the gender-designated dates and there will not be a doubleheader.
      2. If the day of the doubleheader is requested to be changed, all participating schools must agree to play the doubleheader on the requested date.
    3. Officials will be assigned by the GHSA office. Officials may not work back-to-back games in the post-season except in emergency situations.
    4. The host team will provide an adult (21 years or older) timer and scorer.
    5. All other GHSA by-laws pertaining to the State Tournament apply to these games except where specified.
    6. SEATING:
      1. All seats are to be general admission, and tickets will be full-price for each day of the tournament.
      2. The host school shall provide 50% of the available seating to spectators from the visiting school(s).
      3. The minimum seating requirements are: 6A & 5A - 1,200; 4A - 1,000; 3A & 2A - 700; A - 500 (with bleachers on both sides).
    7. FINANCES:
      1. Admission fee for the First Round through the Quarterfinal Round is $10.00 for single games and $15.00 for doubleheaders. Admission fee for the Semifinal and Final Rounds is $18.00.
      2. Only GHSA passes and valid press credentials, with a picture ID, will be honored for admission.
      3. In the First Round through the Quarterfinal Round:
        1. The host school will be allowed to deduct expenses up to $500.00 for a single game or $700.00 for a doubleheader.
        2. The host school will deduct officials fees of $570.00 for a single game or $1140.00 for a doubleheader.
        3. Visiting team(s) will be paid $.80 per mile (one way).
        4. For a single game or a doubleheader involving two schools, the net proceeds are split equally between the two schools and the GHSA.
        5. For a doubleheader involving three schools, the net proceeds will be divided as follows: 20 per cent to the GHSA; 20 percent to each visiting team and 40 percent to the host school.
      4. In the Semifinals and Finals, from net receipts (after all expenses have been paid), the GHSA will receive 40%, and 60% is divided among the participating schools.
    8. Semifinal Round games will be played at centralized sites (to be determined).
    9. The Final Round games will be played at a centralized site(s), to be determined, and will be known as the “Dr. Ralph Swearngin Basketball Championships.” Dates for the semifinals and finals may be found in the Beginning and Ending Dates table at the front of this publication.
  2. Until eliminated from the tournament of its respective classification, each team will be entitled to free admission at their site on the date of their game only:
    1. A maximum of twenty (20) players and team essential personnel.
    2. A maximum of twenty (20) cheerleaders in uniform.
    3. Coaches will be admitted with a GHSA coaching pass.
    4. The school will be charged by the GHSA office for additional personnel entering at the team gate.
    5. Floor passes will be given to the basketball coaches listed on the official roster and a maximum of six auxiliary personnel (managers, statisticians, and trainers).
    6. Team Instructions for State Tournament games will be available on the GHSA web site.
  3. In the First Round through the Quarterfinal Round, the host team is designated as the home team and will wear white jerseys. In the Semifinal and Final Rounds, the team listed at the bottom of the bracket is designated as the home team, and will wear white jerseys, regardless of the seeding in prior rounds.
  4. Upon arriving at the tournament site, the head coach or a designee shall:
    1. submit a complete lineup to the official scorer.
    2. verify with the opposing coach the color of jerseys being worn.
  5. Tournament sites will not be available to participating teams prior to the tournament. EXCEPTION: When the team of the host school is in the tournament.
    1. Teams playing in the first game of the day shall have access to the court no earlier than thirty (30) minutes before game time.
    2. There will be a minimum of fifteen (15) minutes between tournament games.
  6. Each team is responsible for providing its own basketballs for warm-ups, towels, training supplies, and half-time refreshments, unless notified differently by the GHSA office. The GHSA will provide game balls at the Semifinal and Final Rounds.
  7. Each school is responsible for the behavior of its coaches, players, and spectators at tournament games. Therefore, the behavior of these groups must be monitored by school administrators, especially (but not exclusively) in the following areas:
    1. No artificial noise makers, banners or signs, radios or similar music-producing devices are allowed.
    2. Throwing objects on the floor will not be tolerated.
    3. Cutting nets, hanging on rims, climbing on backboards is prohibited.
    4. Security personnel may ask that spectators refrain from standing the entire game if it blocks the view of other spectators who choose not to stand.
    5. Displays of unsportsmanlike conduct directed toward the opposing team or the officials will not be tolerated.
    6. Spectators are not allowed on the court at any time prior to, during or following the game. Players are not allowed to go into the spectators’ area following the game.
    7. Pep bands with a maximum of 15 members and one (1) adult school personnel member may be allowed. If the home team allows its pep band to attend, it shall also allow the visiting school’s pep band to attend.
  8. Each school in the tournament is allowed to have one video camera filming only its games under the following conditions:
    1. The video personnel of the school must film from an area designated by the Tournament Director.
    2. The video of the tournament game(s) may not be shown at the school or in the community for admission, nor on cable television (see regulations in Broadcast section 2.80) without authorization from the GHSA.
  9. Tournament Officials
    1. Officials for State Tournament play will be selected using the following criteria:
      1. District partnership rankings.
      2. Evaluation reports from regular season games.
      3. Nominations from members of the Evaluation Committee.
      4. Evaluations from previous State Tournament games.
    2. There will be three (3) officials on the court in all State Tournament games.
    3. Official scorekeepers for the Championship Finals will be selected by the GHSA office from a list compiled from recommendations by Region Secretaries.