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    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Coach Standing

    Question: The Purpose of Rule 7.5 - Coach Standing.  Article 7.5 of the 2010 FIBA Rules states the following:
    Only the coach is permitted to remain standing during the game. He may address the players verbally during the game provided he remains within his team bench area.

    The FIBA Rule Casebook also states:
    While play is in progress, may Assistant Coach A remain standing if Head Coach A is sitting on the team bench?  No. Only the Head Coach may remain standing while play is in progress. 

    Both texts are careful to use the phrase "remain standing." (Also, the FIBA Rules make no mention of the term "head coach", only "coach") These statements seem to imply the coach is the only member of the team that is allowed to stand for an extended period of time, not that no one else on the team bench can stand for brief periods. If that's the case:

    1. Why do Manitoba Officials enforce the rule as if no other member of the coaching staff is allowed to stand at all at any point during the game?

    2. This rule does not state that other members of the coaching staff cannot address their players while standing. In a recent game I was told that my assistant coach cannot stand because he is addressing our players. Why do Manitoba Officials use this reasoning as justification for why assistant coaches cannot stand?

    3. Why do Manitoba Officials focus on this rule so much, even though they never seems to enforce/care about the majority of rules in this section (Art. 7) of the FIBA rules and many others within the do***ent? As one official implied to me during the high school season, officials must enforce every rule the same and never make any personal judgment about which rules the emphasis or interpret. I don't believe that's a realistic depiction of how officiating works.

    4. Why do Manitoba Officials often state that having too many coaches standing is a distraction, when these same officials already deal with crowds in the stands, and none of the other members of the coaching staff have addressed or attempted to influence the method by which the officials call the game?

    5. Why do Manitoba Officials state that they don't know which coach to address when only one coach is signed in as the head coach on the official sheet and only that coach has addressed the officials during the game?

    6. Even if the official interpretation of this rule is that no other coach is ever allowed to stand at any point in the game, why is this a rule so strictly enforced at lower levels of the game, such as JV or Varsity Basketball? If the point of lower level basketball is to teach kids how to play and impart a respect for others, including opponents and officials, why is it deemed to be inappropriate to have multiple voices on an experienced and knowledgeable coaching staff attempting to instruct their players, both on the court and on the bench, by standing and walking within their designated bench area to obtain the attention of the players they coach. If the assistant coaches (even on a less experienced staff) do not address the officials, why does this rule need to be emphasized at lower levels of play, where respectful instruction should be encouraged? If we're all "here for the kids" as I've heard multiple referees state to me, why are we not allowing knowledgeable coaches some leeway so they can have more of a positive impact on the kids they coach?

    Answer: With respect to Article 7, one must read the entire rule to effectively understand its intent. It is true that ONLY the Coach is permitted to remain standing during the game (Art. 7.5). If you read Articles 7.3 it states that coaches, assistant coaches, team members and team followers are the only persons permitted to sit on the team bench and remain within their team bench area. Furthermore, Article 7.4 states that the coach or assistant coach may go to the scoretable during the game to obtain statistical information only when the ball becomes dead and the game clock is stopped. Therefore, by extension, all persons in the team bench area must remain sitting on the bench and only the coach is permitted to remain standing during the game.

    FIBA and our officials recognize that an exception to this rule would allow persons in the team bench area to stand only to spontaneously react to an outstanding play, immediately sitting down afterward.

    All sets of basketball rules including FIBA, National Federation, NCAA, and the NBA, are consistent with the team bench area and the restrictions on the head coach, assistant coaches, and team followers. They all state that only the head coach shall stand during the game. It is the Coach (Head Coach) who shall be THE spokesperson for the team and address officials appropriately with questions and/or concerns. As for assistant coaches, they are certainly allowed to instruct their players while seated on the team bench. No set of rules allows otherwise.
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    Item Reviewed: Coach Standing Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Adam Wedlake
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