(1-5-21) If James Naismith attended a high school basketball game today…would he recognize the game he created?

In 1937 a center jump followed each successful basket. Teams with a good jumper had an advantage. Having a jump ball situation after every goal also slowed the game down considerably. Center jump still used today to start game and overtime periods. Alternating possession replaced jump balls in 1981.

This year Kentucky eliminated the opening jump ball and possession is determined by a flip of the coin. Kentucky, like most states, follows the rules set by the National Federation of High School State Associations (NFHS), which does not include this change in its current basketball rules.

But during a pandemic….

Will the change continue after the pandemic or will it return back to an opening jump ball?

How it can become a permanent rule change — A NFHS 11-person rules committee would need a two-vote majority to pass. It would then proceed to the Rules Review Committee and finally the board of directors, before it could ultimately become an official rule change.

South Laurel girls coach Chris Souder told sentinel-echo.com in September –

“It makes zero sense to me. If intended for social distancing for officials just have the official wear a mask when throwing the ball up. I have quit trying to figure the logic in all this.

“But to be honest, if flipping a coin allows us to play, I’ll make sure and provide the coin for every game. As long as it can be a penny.”

It seems Kentucky was the only state to follow the NFHS’s suggestion.

NOTE: Thanks to Kevin Patton for use of his photo on the cover