National Rules

Please note that US Amateur Basketball state offices may choose to adjust a National game rule for their local tournaments.  Check with your local tournament for local tournament rules.   

National Basketball Rules  (Effective August 1, 2022)

The National High School Federation Rules and Regulations (NHSF) will apply to all US Amateur Basketball games with the following exceptions.

  1. All games will be played as follows:

  • Middle and High School (Grades 7 thru 12) will consist of two sixteen minute halves and will use a regulation size basketball (intermediate size ball for Women).

  • Grades 3 thru 6 will consist of two fourteen minute halves and will use the 28.5 intermediate size ball.

  1. No game will start before the scheduled time unless both coaches agree. There will be a minimum of a 5 minute warm-up period. Halftime will be 5 minutes unless both coaches agree to start earlier.

  2. Timeouts will be awarded under NHSF rules (3 Full / 2 Thirty Second)

  3. Overtime:  2 Minutes.  

  4. The clock will stop for all whistle stoppages

  5. Two (2) direct technical fouls during a game on a player, coach, or team representative will result in their ejection from that game and the next game of the tournament. Fighting and gross unsportsmanlike behavior can be more than one game and is at the discretion of the Tournament Director and / or State Director.

  6. Tournament Director / State Director decisions to remove a team or individual from an event due to their behavior are final.  

  7. Suspensions from US Amateur Basketball sanctioned activities shall be governed by the US Amateur Basketball Discipline Committee

  8. Each team is responsible for their warm-up and game balls and or any other items brought into the game. US Amateur Basketball is not responsible for lost items.

  9. If a team forfeits two games by not participating; the team will be disqualified from the event and cannot participate in bracket / tournament play.

 Roster Rules:

  1. Rosters are allowed a maximum of fifteen (15) players.

  2. Proof of age and grade is required for all players on roster. Acceptable proofs of age are; clean photocopies of birth certificates, adoption papers, or immigration papers. Proof of grade is a clean copy of any report card of the current school year or school document that indicates current grade level. Teams are required to have proof of age and grade upon check-in and throughout the tournament.  It must be presented to US Amateur Basketball representative / tournament director upon request.

  3. No roster additions will be permitted after the team has begun play of its first tournament game within any tournament.

Grade / Age Divisions:

Updated for 2023 - 2024 season.

Divisions of Play:
US Amateur Basketball offers five divisions of play

  • Div I - Elite Teams

  • Div II - Competitive Teams

  • Div III – Developing Competitive

  • School

  • Recreation

All roster protest must be filed in writing accompanied by a $100.00 protest fee (refundable if the protest is valid) with the Tournament Director within one (1) hour of the conclusion of the protested game. If the protest is valid, the protested team forfeits all previous games. Upon protest, teams must provide proof of eligibility. (See roster rules for acceptable proofs of age and grade).

  • All non-roster protest must be filed in writing within one (1) hour of the conclusion of the contest and must be accompanied by a $100.00 protest fee (refundable if protest is upheld). Official’s calls are not grounds for a protest.

  • Tournament Directors rulings on protest are final. 

Mercy Rule:
Once a team is leading by 20 points anytime in a game, the clock will continue to run. The only time the clock will stop is for injuries or timeouts. If the lead falls below 20 points, the clock will again be stopped for all whistle stoppages.

Tie- Breakers:

  • Two Teams Tied:  Head-to-head result.

  • Three or more teams: Point Differential System will be used.  Teams will receive a point differential per game up to a maximum of plus 15 points for a win and a maximum of minus 15 points for loss.  The team not involved in the tiebreaker will have its games eliminated.  The team with the highest point total will win the tiebreaker and the second highest number will be seeded second, etc. If two teams are tied with points, then revert back to head-to-head.  If there are still three teams tied, the team with the fewest points allowed in ALL games played in pool play wins. A forfeit is scored as a 15-0 game.

Upon becoming aware that a participant of a team has received a suspected concussion (or has been struck in the head area with any significant force), the Coach will not allow that person to participate in any US Amateur Basketball sanctioned event and if occurring during a US Amateur Basketball sanctioned event, shall have that person removed from play of that event. 

Upon becoming aware that a participant has received a suspected concussion (or has been struck in the head area with any significant force), a referee or tournament director will have that person removed from the court of any US Amateur Basketball sanctioned event. 

Without a written medical clearance from a licensed medical doctor to return to play, such persons will not be allowed to play in a US Amateur Basketball sanctioned event.  The medical written consent must be presented to the State Director and retained permanently by the US Amateur Basketball State Director.  Any coach, who allows a participant back in a US Amateur Basketball sanctioned event without first obtaining the required written consent, may be suspended by the State Director for up to one year and upon request of the State Director, may be suspended for a longer duration by the US Amateur Basketball disbarment committee. 

Area and State Tournaments have the authority to modify local playing rules to accommodate local circumstances. All teams participating in the National Tournament must adhere to National Rules outlined above.

  • There must be a minimum of four (4) teams per division for the National Tournament to be played. If less than four teams, the tournament director must contact the team with their options.

  • Coaches of high school age teams playing in National Tournaments certified by the NCAA must be registered and certified by the NCAA in advance of the Tournament. Team Rosters must be entered on the NCAA site. (Visit www. for guidelines and deadlines to insure compliance on live period events). NO ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL REQUIREMENTS ARE MET.

  • All players participating on high school age teams playing in NCAA certified events must attend the mandatory educational seminar held during the event.

  • All- Tournament / M.V.P. / Hustle awards are determined by the coaches in the events. All recommendations must be submitted prior to leaving the event.

  • Coaches are given passes and credentials at check-in. Any coach allowing unauthorized use of these credentials will be disqualified from the event and subject to further disqualifications by US Amateur Basketball.

  • Unsigned seniors may participate in the 11th Grade Division at the National Championships.  

U.S. Amateur Basketball

P.O. Box 5795
Spring Hill, FL  34611
Office: 813-482-7331