Be the Referee: 3-Second Rule

March 5, 2020

This week, MHSAA assistant director Brent Rice explains one of the most misunderstood rules in basketball – the 3-second rule.  

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment - Misunderstood Rules: 3 Seconds - Listen

It’s hard to go to a basketball game and not sit near other fans who are yelling about the officials not calling three seconds. The 3-second rule is one of the most misunderstood rules in the game of basketball.

The purpose and philosophy of the rule is to not allow a player who is significantly taller than his or her opponent to camp out in the middle of the lane and create an unfair advantage. The 3-second count is in effect whenever an offensive player has at least one foot in the lane when his or her team is in possession of the ball. That count stops as soon as a try – a shot – is attempted or a try is imminent; and the count cannot start again until there is control of a rebound.

Keep this in mind at the next game you attend.

Past editions

Feb. 27: Clarifying Takedowns - Listen
Feb. 20: Basketball Officials Manual - Listen
Feb. 13: Held Ball or Traveling - Listen
Feb. 6: Hockey Rules Chart - Listen
Jan. 30: Cheer Safety - Listen
Jan. 23: Goaltending - Listen
Jan. 16: Wrestling Tie-Breaker - Listen
Jan. 9: Pregame Meeting - Listen
Dec. 19: Alternating Possession - Listen
Dec. 12: Ratings - Listen
Dec. 5: Video Review Success - Listen
Nov. 28: 
More Injury Time - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Review - Listen
Nov. 14: Sideline Safety - Listen
Nov. 7: Officials Playlist - Listen
Oct. 31: Most Important Line - Listen
Oct. 24: Automatic 1st Downs - Listen
Oct. 17: Catch Momentum - Listen
Oct. 10: Golf Rules Changes - Listen
Oct. 3: No Tackle Box - Listen
Sept. 26: You Make the Overtime Call - Listen
Sept. 19: Swimming Finishing Touch - Listen
Sept. 12: Curbing Gamesmanship By Substitution - Listen
Sept. 5: Football Safety Rules Changes - Listen
Aug. 29: 40-Second Play Clock - Listen