Officials Code of Conduct


Basketball is intended to be a recreational activity for enjoyment and health. This

code of conduct has been developed by Basketball Victoria to give participants

some guide to the expectations it has on those participants. It is intended to

assist everyone to obtain the maximum benefit and enjoyment from their

involvement in basketball. As a result, the quality of participation will be improved

so people are more likely to start and continue their involvement in basketball.


1. Interpret rules and regulations fairly and to match the skill level and the

needs of the participants.

Whilst many requirements of rules are for the safety of those involved in

basketball and should never be compromised , others allow flexibility. The

age and skills level of the players involved should be taken into account when

interpreting rules. As long as you are consistent in interpreting rules and

communicate before a game how you intend to interpret the rule, players and

the game should benefit. Use common sense to ensure that the “spirit of the

game” is not lost by overcalling technical violations

2. Compliment both teams on their efforts.

You should make an effort to congratulate both sides at the end of a game,

not just the winning side. If there has been a problem during the game, by all

means raise it, but do so in a constructive manner so that players may learn

from your experience and guidance.

3. Be consistent, objective and courteous in calling all infractions.

Objectivity is the single most important characteristic of a good official. It can

sometimes be tempting to be easier –or harder, so that you appear to be

objective - on a team that you have a connection with. It is also easy to be

harder on their opponents or on a team which you believe is not playing the

game in the proper spirit or with which you may have had a bad experience in

the past. You must resist this temptation. Even when you call an infraction,

you must do so in a courteous manner.

4. Promote fair play and appropriate sporting behaviour.

Use every opportunity you have to communicate the message that basketball

is about fair play, not to be marred by poor behaviour. Condemn the

deliberate foul as being unsportsmanlike. If you see an act of good

sportsmanship, applaud it.

5. Publicly encourage rule changes.

Officials are in a unique position to judge how rules work and their effect on

the game. You should use that position to promote change where you can

see a positive benefit to participants’ enjoyment of the game from a change.

6. Ensure that both on and off the court your behaviour is consistent with

the principles of good sportsmanship.

Just as you are entitled to the respect of players, they are entitled to expect

that you will act honestly and with integrity. Lead by example - actions speak

louder than words. If your standards are down, players and others involved in

the sport will see that as a signal that it is acceptable for them to lower their


7. Keep your knowledge current.

Make a personal commitment to keep yourself informed of sound officiating

principles and the principles of growth and development of children. Always

attend training programs when they are available, to ensure that your

knowledge is current and that your skills are always improving. Read all

information that is available to make sure that you don’t miss innovations

such as rule changes.

8. Help the education process in the game.

Help players learn to play the game. Make sure that players understand rule

infractions. Sometimes players dispute decisions because they do not

understand the rules correctly. If you perceive that a player hasn’t

understood a ruling, take the time when it is convenient to explain it to them.

If there is a team problem of understanding, approach the coach and outline

what the problem is and why it is a problem. Don’t feel defensive about

explaining your decisions. You are the expert on the court and players are

entitled to your constructive guidance.

9. Always present yourself in a way which encourages others to respect

you and your role.

In both your demeanour and appearance you should lead by example.

Always wear the appropriate uniform and make sure that it is neat and clean.

Just as players are expected to be properly attired, so should you be. If you

present yourself in a sloppy manner it sends a signal that you may be sloppy

in your tasks as an official.

10. Always respect the use of facilities and equipment provided.

Facilities and equipment cost money and will only function properly if kept in

good order. Ensure that you do not abuse anything provided for use.

Discourage players from engaging in dangerous practices such as hanging

off hoops or “slam dunking”. Quite properly, these practices are banned in

most venues. Not only can equipment be damaged but also serious injury

can occur.

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