The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) announced a series of rule modifications this week designed to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 during basketball season.
Instead of a jump ball at the start of each game to determine possession, visiting teams will get possession of the ball to begin the game. Officials will flip a coin to determine possession in overtime, if necessary.
The GHSA will also limit the pregame meeting to the head official and each team’s head coach, with each coach standing outside the center circle. Handshakes are suspended during the pregame meeting.
Team benches will be modified to ensure proper social distancing. The GHSA suggests bench players and coaches to “observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater.” The organization also recommends placing team benches opposite spectator seating. Additional chairs or rows may be added to allow bench players and coaches to socially distance, though not beyond the end line or coach’s box.
Team personnel not in the game should adhere to any required local or state face covering requirements while on the bench.
The officials’ table will be sanitized before the game and at halftime, and the space at the table should be limited to essential personnel, which includes a home-team scorer and shot-clock operator, according to GHSA guidelines. The home-team scorer and shot-clock operator should also adhere to any local or state face covering requirements.
Other personnel, such as visiting scorer, statisticians and media, must cover the game from a different location.
Pregame and postgame handshakes are suspended and will instead see teams “line up along the free-throw line near their respective bench area and nod and wave in a sportsmanship gesture.”
Officials will be given the ball in the locker room, where it will be sanitized as recommended by the ball manufacturer (Wilson) and not used for warmups or at halftime. Sanitizer should be provided by the host team.
Cloth face coverings are permissible for players.
Basketball practice will officially begin Oct. 26, with the first game of the season coming Nov. 20.