The games are generally conducted in accordance with the European/FIBA basketball rules.
1. PLAYING TIME. Each game will be 32 minutes in length, consisting of four 8-minute quarters. If required, the game will go into an overtime period as described in paragraph 8 below. There will be 2 minutes between the quarters, 4 minutes at half time and, if required, 2 minutes prior to the overtime period. The clock will run continuously except for (i) free throws; (ii) time outs; (iii) referee timeouts; (iv) a referee whistle call during the last two minutes of each half and during the last two minutes of the overtime period; and (v) for games played in the Blue Gym at ASL (which has a main time clock): (A) for a referee whistle call during the last minute of the 1st and 3rd quarters and (B) after a basket in the last 2 minutes of the 2nd half and any overtime (in which case, the clock will commence upon the throw in). Each team is allowed two time outs (one minute each) per half and one time out (one minute) during overtime. Time outs may not be carried over from the first half to the second half or to overtime. Coaches or players may call time out. The referee shall also stop the clock in the event of injuries or necessary directions to the players or coaches. Coaches should facilitate each team being able to do a quick lineup for defensive matchups within the break time between quarters. The start of a quarter should not be delayed by this activity. Other than the Blue Gym at ASL (which has a main time clock), time should be kept by one of the coaches or parents.
2. PLAYER PARTICIPATION. The primary philosophy of this league is player participation. We encourage all kids to join LondonBasketball, including kids who might not ordinarily get to play competitive basketball in the United States. Coaches should endeavour to play each of their players for approximately the same amount of time each game. In all circumstances, no player may play in excess of one half of a quarter (one-eighth of a game) more than any other player that is suited up and physically able to play the entire game. In other words, if a team has 6 players, 4 players will play 7/8ths of the game and 2 will play for 3/4ths. If a team has 7 players, 5 players will play 3/4ths of the game and 2 will play 5/8ths. If a team has 8 players, everyone plays for 5/8ths of the game. If a team has 9 players, 4 players will play 5/8ths of the game and 5 players will play for ½.
Exception to the equal play rules are made for the more competitive Boys 7/8 Grade and Boys 5/6 Grade League. In these leagues, every boy must play at least one-half (4/8ths) of the game and no one may play more than 7/8th of the game, assuming at least 8 players at a particular game. In the event that a team only has 6 or 7 available players, each player should play at least 5/8ths of the game and no one should play more than 7/8ths of the game. In all cases, if a team should lose a player at any time during a game due to injury, removal from the game or an early departure, the coach should endeavour to adjust the team’s substitution plan to abide as closely as possible to this rule. It is the obligation of all coaches to keep track of their players’ playing time. The referees and officials will not be responsible for doing so. If a coach has any questions about the other team’s substitution policy during a game, that coach should wait until there is a break in play and then quietly discuss this matter with the other team’s coach away from both teams. Our goals are still equal playing time for all, and we strongly request that coaches set their rotations with this in mind.
3. FORFEITS. If a team can field only four players, the game will be played as a four on four game unless the coach of the team with only four players elects to forfeit (either before the game begins or at any time during the course of the game). Forfeits will result when a team cannot field at least 4 players. In the event of a forfeit, the teams will play a “friendly” for the entire game (or whatever time remains following the forfeit). Forfeits will be scored as 1-0 unless the forfeit occurs during the midst of a game, in which case the “final” score will be the score at the time of the forfeit (if the non-forfeiting team is ahead).
4. ATTIRE. All players should wear shorts and their team shirts to every game. Players will not be allowed to play in long pants or sweat pants. All jewellery (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.) and watches must be removed before the beginning of play. In addition, each facility requires that players only wear athletic (gym) shoes.
5. SCORING. With the exception of the Boys 7th/8th Grade Division, while players are free to shoot from anywhere on the court, all field goals will count for only two points (in other words, there are no three-points shots). In the Boys 7th/8th Grade Division, field goals shot from outside the three-point line will count as three points.
6. FOULS. Each player is allowed five fouls (fouls out on 6th foul) in a game, including any overtime. Referee calls for non-shooting fouls will result in the ball being inbound at half court or front court. Free throws will be awarded for fouls committed in the act of shooting, intentional fouls and technical fouls. Teams will be in a penalty situation once they have committed 5 team fouls in a half; the opposing team has the option of taking the ball out on the sideline or taking two shots at the foul line. (note: in an overtime period, the team fouls from the second half carry over). Flagrant or intentional fouls will result in two shots plus possession. No free throws are taken in the Boys 3rd/4th Grade and Girls 3rd-5th Grade Divisions – all violations and fouls result in the ball being inbound by the non-violating/fouling team.
7. FREE THROW ACTIVITY. When lining up for free throws, a maximum 6 players are allowed on the lane (4 opponents of shooter, 2 teammates). The bottom two spots must be occupied by opponents of the shooter; right to spots alternate along the lane; 3rd spots on the lane (normally occupied by opponents of the shooter) may be filled by a teammate of the shooter if the non-shooting team chooses not to fill it; spots closest to the shooter (4th lane spots) may not be filled. Players on lane may leave on release of the shot, others must stand behind free throw line extended/3 point line and wait for ball to strike rim. A violation by any member of the shooting team can cancel an otherwise valid free throw.
8. OVERTIME. If a game is tied at the end of the regulation four quarters, one 5-minute overtime period will be played. If the teams are still tied, the game will be determined by sudden death overtime (i.e. each team will take 5 fouls shots by 5 different players, simultaneously; if still tied, it will go to sudden death foul shots-five different players must take a foul shot before a player may take a second foul shot).
9. DEFENCE. Teams in all Divisions may play “man to man” or zone defence. In all leagues double-teaming a player continuously during play will not be allowed, but when a player has the ball and is "in-play", defensive players may assist in stopping the advance. Teams will receive one warning before a violation is called. Any subsequent violation will result in a team technical foul. In all instances, the referees shall have complete discretion to interpret these rules.
10. THREE-SECOND RULE. The 3-second rule will be based on the “US Key” (i.e., the straight lines, as opposed to the International Key (the angled lines). In the Girls 3rd-5th Grade and Boys 3rd/4th Grade Divisions, this rule will only be loosely enforced but coaches are encouraged to instruct their players not to “park” in the 3-second area.
11. ADVANCEMENT FROM BACK-COURT. The standard 8 second rule for advancement from the backcourt to the frontcourt applies in all Divisions but in the Girls 3rd-5th Grade and Boys 3rd-4th Grade Divisions this rule will only be loosely enforced. The backcourt rule applies in all Divisions.
12. FULL COURT PRESSING. In all Divisions full court pressing is prohibited except during the last two minutes of each half and during the full overtime period. This does not mean that the offensive team has the freedom to make a fast-break without being challenged. The defensive players must make a concerted effort to quickly drop back past the half-court line, but may pick up an offensive player who is breaking down the court and may intercept a pass in the back court if it is part of a fast-break. In other words, the “no-press” rule is meant to allow the offence to re-group and slowly advance down the court without being pressured by a full-court press, but is not meant to give the offence free rein to pursue a fast break unchallenged. The referees shall have complete discretion to interpret this rule. Teams will receive one warning before a violation is called. Any subsequent violation will result in a FREE inbound at mid-court. Repeated violations may result in a technical foul.
13. TRAVELLING VIOLATIONS. In the Girls 3rd-5th Grade, Boys 3rd/4th Grade and Boys 5th/6th Grade Divisions, each team will receive one warning for travelling before a violation is called. The team will have to take the ball out of bounds again if it receives a warning. After the first warning subsequent violations will result in a turnover of the ball to the other team.
14. IN-BOUND PASSES / 5 SECOND RULE. Teams will be called for a violation (with no initial warning), if an in-bound pass is not completed within 5 seconds or if a player is holding the ball (or standing and dribbling the ball) for 5 seconds while closely guarded. This violation will result in a turnover of the ball to the other team.
15. PLAYER SUBSTITUTION. In all Divisions, substitutions may be made at any dead ball (once the referees give permission). As a convenience to the coaches in all Divisions, the referee will stop the clock for approximately 60 seconds at the four minute mark of each quarter (or as close as possible) to allow for multiple substitutions. The stoppage for substitutions may be made at any time after the 3 minutes 45 second mark of a period and should be made at the next break in play (out of bounds, in bounds after a basket or any change of possession that is not a fast break). This is not a time-out and coaches may confer with their team for only so long as is necessary to assign positions. Coaches should facilitate each team being able to do a quick lineup for defensive matchups but also endeavour to produce a quick changeover during the substitution breaks. Repeated delays in returning players to the court may result in a technical foul. Injury substitutions can be made at any time.
16. LOCATION OF COACHES DURING GAMES. During games, all coaches and assistants coaches must remain in their half of the court on the sidelines (off the court). At no time may a coach go on the court (except in the case of an injury) or to the other half of the court.
17. PARENT PARTICIPATION / SPORTSMANSHIP. We encourage parents to come and support their children’s teams. However, good sportsmanship must be exhibited by all players, coaches and parents. With respect to behaviour exhibited by the players, any harassment of the referees or other players will first receive a one-time warning. A second infraction will result in a technical foul and the child will be asked to sit on the bench for a quarter (8 minutes). Continued infraction will result in the removal of the child from the League. Any decision by the referee in these matters will be considered final. Any parent or other spectator who demonstrates unsportsmanlike behaviour (in the sole discretion of the referees, the Division heads or the league commissioners) will be asked to leave the premises.
18. AUTHORITY OF THE REFEREES. The referees have complete authority during the game. They can modify the game or remove any parent, coach or player who is acting unruly, demonstrating unsportsmanlike behaviour or endangering others.