NBA announces rule changes for 2013-14 season

On Thursday, the NBA announced rule changes that the league’s Board of Governors approved back on June 12 during its annual Las Vegas meeting. Last month, the board approved five rule changes that will take effect beginning with the 2013-14 NBA season.

Three of the rules involve expanding the use of instant replay in order to correctly determine foul calls, including whether or not an official may call a flagrant or technical foul after observing an act on replay.

One rule change affects the designation of a “clear path” foul, while the other mandates that a player “immediately” return to the floor if, during the course of regular play, he finds himself amongst the spectators.

Below is the full release:

The NBA Board of Governors approved five rules changes for the upcoming 2013-14 season, the league announced today.

Instant replay may now be used:

When reviewing a block/charge play to determine whether the defender was inside or outside the restricted area, officials will now be permitted to reverse a charge call, or uphold a blocking call, when the defender was outside the restricted area but was not set when the offensive player began his upward shooting motion.

To determine whether an off-ball foul occurred before or after a player has started his shooting motion on a successful shot attempt, or before or after the ball was released on a throw-in.
During the review of any instant replay situation to permit the officials to assess the appropriate penalties of any unsportsmanlike and unnecessary acts (e.g. flagrant fouls) that are observed during the instant replay reviews.

Additional rules modifications:

On clear path to the basket fouls, it will no longer be considered a clear path foul if at any point before the foul is committed, the defender who commits the foul is positioned ahead of the offensive player in the frontcourt.

A team on offense will lose possession if its player leaves the floor and does not immediately return to the floor, unless he is injured, attempting to save the ball or in other extenuating circumstances.
Each of these rules was recommended by the NBA’s Competition Committee at its meeting on June 12.

Of the changes, the most significant is the one allowing an official to assess “appropriate penalties of any unsportsmanlike or unnecessary acts” that are seen via replay. Many times in the past, players who retaliate after being on the receiving end of an unsportsmanlike act were assessed penalties, and in many cases ejected, while the player who instigated the incident was not penalized. The letter of the law now suggests that an instigator who is seen committing unsportsmanlike acts, via replay, will be penalized, as well.

Additionally, the rule change that relates to the designation of a “clear path” foul will also have a significant impact on play. Determining whether or not a foul should be designated a clear path foul will be easier for officials, who, in the past, have spent game minutes attempting to determine whether or not a defender was actually ahead of an offensive player on a breakaway when a foul was committed.