Division I women’s basketball officials are preparing for the season by attending officiating clinics and completing online testing programs. In addition to being responsible for all game rules management, officials are also being asked to monitor closely the following areas in 2012-13:

• Incidental Elbow Contact. There can be incidental contact with the elbow above or below the shoulders and not all elbow contact with the elbow is a foul regardless of where the elbow makes contact.

• Traveling. Not all spin moves are travels and legal moves by the ball handler will be permitted. After establishing a pivot foot, that pivot foot may be lifted, but may not return to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal.

• Freedom of Movement. Excessive physicality and the lack of freedom of movement will be enforced by officials. Players must be permitted to move freely and without being held, pushed or rerouted.

• Pace of Play. Stoppage of play that interrupts the flow and pace of the game will be watched closely by officials in 2012-13. In order to increase the pace of play, officials will keep the game moving following timeouts, to permit incidental/marginal contact, permit legal moves by ball handlers and to use the monitor judiciously.

• Restricted Area Rule. The restricted area is the only area on the floor in which a secondary/helpside defender is not permitted to establish initial guarding position and remain in this area to draw a charge on a player with the ball or a player who has released the ball on a pass or shot. Secondary/helpside defenders who are not defending the player with the ball or the player who has released the ball on a pass or shot are permitted to draw a charge in this area.

• Legal Guarding. Legally establishing and maintaining guarding position is critical to proper enforcement of block/charge fouls. Once a defender has legally established and maintained her guarding position, it is the responsibility of the offensive player to avoid illegal contact.

• Contact On/By the Ball Handler/Dribbler. Defenders are permitted one touch on the ball handler/dribbler in order to measure up. The next touch by the same defender on the ball handler is a foul.  Too much contact on the ball handler/dribbler continues to inhibit offensive progress. Officials have been reminded that consistency from the start of the season until the end of the season, the start of a game until the end of a game and across the country is critical to a free flowing game. Likewise, the ball handler/dribbler is not permitted to create illegal contact on legally established defenders.

• Free-Throw Violations. Free-throw violations are on the rise and officials are being asked to penalize consistently players entering the lane area too soon, disconcertion of shooters and players who fake shots or violations.

• Sportsmanship. Officials will continue to enforce current sportsmanship rules on bench decorum for head and assistant coaches, players and additional bench personnel. 

-- Coaching box. The head coach or any other bench personnel may not be outside the prescribed coaching box except when otherwise permitted by rule. All bench personnel, with the exception of the head coach, are required to be seated on the bench while the ball is live except to react spontaneously to an outstanding play and then to immediately return to sitting on the bench. Violations by players, and especially assistant coaches, will not be tolerated.  When assistant coaches or bench personnel are violating bench decorum rules in a minor way, the official will inform the head coach and request that he/she handle the situation. This is an official warning.  Any further violation by bench personnel shall result in a technical foul assessed to the offender.  Egregious conduct violations by assistant coaches or bench personnel need no warning and will immediately result in a technical foul. A technical foul assessed to bench personnel is also assessed indirectly to the head coach.

-- Fighting. In addition, the head coach is the only person permitted to leave the bench area when a fight may or has broken out. Bench personnel, other than the head coach, including team members and assistant coaches are to be ejected when they leave the bench area during a fight situation per current rules. Assistant coaches are to remain in the bench area, along with all team members, during a fight situation.

• Basketball court-surface rule. This season a rules change requires temporary decals and logos placed on the court to be “of a consistent surface” as the rest of the floor.  The change is intended to enhance the safety of men’s and women’s basketball players. While this past spring was a non-rules change year for basketball, policy permits rules committees to make changes in off years if safety issues are involved.  The new rule calls for the playing court to be of a completely finished manner that is consistent throughout.  The rules change does not restrict the use of decals and logos, but it does make clear that those marks must be similar to the rest of the court. That includes the three-foot area outside each sideline and the six-foot area behind the end lines.  The host game management will be responsible for ensuring the court is of a similar finish, including any logos or decals that are legally allowed on the floor. Game officials will have the authority to suspend play if the surface does not comply.