Not In The Score Book — Play The C.A.R.D.S.

The correct ruling for all scorebook snafus are in the C.A.R.D.S.

Because you can’t know what you don’t know, there is no way for the Referee on a game to realistically eliminate all of the opportunities for a bookkeeping mistake .

So despite your diligence in reviewing the book prior to the start of the game, there will likely come a time in your officiating career when the horn will blow and you will see one or more of the score table crew waving you over.

No matter what your level of experience level, there is no need to panic if you understand the procedures for handling administrative issues dealing with the score book.

Remember the REF 60 credo: Rule Competency Breeds Calmness In Chaos, so  we offer you an  acronym of C.A.R.D.S. to help you remember what problems warrant a Technical Foul in an NFHS contest, and which do not.

The answer is in the C.A.R.D.S. because you will easily recall how to resolve problems dealing with:

 Changes    Additions     Rosters      Duplications      Starters

  • Changing the number of a player who is in the game or attempting to enter the game.
  • Adding a name and number to the lineup.
  • Failure to submit team Roster by the 10-minute mark.
  • Two players wearing Duplicate numbers.
  • Failure to submit Starters by the 10-minute mark.

For NFHS discussion, Administrative Technical Fouls (two free throws plus possession) are charged to the team (not to the head coach or the player) and they count towards the bonus.

Keep in mind if a player sitting on the bench is not listed in the official book and the player does not attempt to enter the game there is no Technical Foul assessed.

If a player not listed in the official book somehow manages to enter and leave the game without the error being discovered, there would not be a Technical Foul assessed. The infraction must be penalized when it occurs.

While Administrative Technical Fouls have been greatly condensed to eliminate the parade of free throws for multiple bookkeeping mistakes, it is important to note the distinction between what happens in the pre-game BEFORE and AFTER the 10-minute mark.

A team’s failure to provide its roster and starting lineup at least 10-minutes BEFORE tip-off will result in just ONE Technical Foul being charged to the offending team.

Any changes made AFTER the 10-minute mark would also be a maximum of ONE Technical Foul charged to the offending team.

Now reality-based officiating tells us that quite often the lineup and starters are not completed by the 10-minute mark for various legitimate reasons…The point of this post is to give you the knowledge of what the rule requires, and then let common sense guide your decisions.

So if you’re beckoned to the scorers’ table calmly ask any coaches gathered near the table to return to their bench, then direct your “what’s the problem” question to the official scorekeeper.

Once you have the processed the information, call over the head coaches and explain the problem and the ruling…Don’t get sidetracked by any rebuttal as to “why” the problem occurred…

Just play the C.A.R.D.S. the way they are dealt!

NFHS Rule Reference: 3-2-2B




About the Author

7 thoughts on “Not In The Score Book — Play The C.A.R.D.S.

  1. Watch out for “OFFICIAL” Scorekeepers taking roster off off a program…which is quite often wrong. Common sense would say…do NOT penalize visiting team coach, if he has them in his book correctly and the home team scorekeeper used the program flier to obtain their names and numbers. I have NOW begun to ask them where they obtained their names and numbers from. Also, asking the coach to take a brief look and put their initials that book is correct, will cover your tail.

  2. Excellent memory aid. Small detail, but in the NHFS rules book, this type of technical foul is NOT and “administrative,” but rather a “team” technical. Administrative technical is an NCAA terminology.

  3. I believe it is the responsibility of both head coaches to ensure the book is filled in and correct 10 minutes before the game. The visiting team coach should review and confirm the book is correctly entered by home team before the 10 minute mark. It’s not an officials job to make sure it is correct, we are supposed to make sure it is done.

  4. There are many things that we can say “it’s not my job” but on the other hand, we are all going to have a smoother game if we can avoid problems before they occur. We all do preventative officiating but I doubt you will find any references in the RULE book to talking to the players to avoid problems (“get out of the lane”, “easy”, “straight up” — sound familiar).

  5. you can eliminate two of these (“A” and “R”) by going to the table at the 10 minute mark, ensuring the book(s) are complete, counting the number of players in the book for each team, and drawing a line under the last name (as well as writing the total number of players there are and drawing a circle around in somewhere in the book). I usually also compare the number of players warming up with the number of players in the book. There can be more in the book,but there can’t be fewer.

Comments are closed.