2022-23 Basketball

Manuals provide the most up to date policies, rules, and regulations for Iowa High School Athletic Association sports in the regular season and postseason. Member school athletic directors and head coaches seeking more information or clarifications on the contents of this manual should contact the IHSAA sport administrator for this sport: Todd Tharp. All other inquiries should be directed through athletic directors or coaches at member schools or host schools. 

All the rules and regulations governing this sport can be found in the annual NFHS Rule Book, which all member schools receive from the IHSAA, excepting updates or experiments approved by the Board of Control.

For more information on concussions or sport safety, please visit the Health & Safety resource page. 

To search this manual, click a topic header from the Index above or select Find (Ctrl + F) from your keyboard. 


School enrollment numbers from each year inform the following school year’s classifications for IHSAA sanctioned sports. Enrollment numbers are provided by the Basic Educational Data Survey (BEDS) from the Iowa Department of Education.  To view other sports or overall BEDS numbers, view the Classifications page.

4A: Largest 48 schools

3A: Next largest 64 schools

2A: Next largest 96 schools

1A: Remaining schools


2022-23 Rules Information

2022-23 NFHS Rules Changes

Rule 3-5-4d: Allows hair adornments provided they are securely fastened close to the head and do not present an increased risk to the player, teammates, or opponents.

Rationale: Creates inclusivity of hair styles while maintaining that the risk of injury to the athlete, teammates and opponents should not be compromised.

2022-23 Season Rules

  1. Basketball practice sessions may not be held prior to November 14, 2022.
  2. No interscholastic basketball contest may be played by member schools of the Association prior to November 28, 2022.
  3. All scrimmages must take place in or on one of the school’s facilities involved in the scrimmage. Penalty for violation, see “Penalty for Violation of Rule Pertaining to Scrimmages”. NOTE:  Exception for ACHIEVE Scrimmages
  4. All member schools of the Association are permitted to play a maximum of 21 interscholastic basketball games during the season. This does not include district, substate or state tournament games. A member school may elect to play in an invitational tournament or conference tournament. However, each game played is included in the 21 game limitation.
  5. The limitation rule applies to individual teams representing the school and individual player participation on those teams. No individual player may play in more than 21 games during the season, exclusive of post-season tournaments.
  6. An individual may play in EIGHT quarters in any one day/night.
  7. Player participation:

Participation in zero, one or two  (0,1, 2) quarters in one day/night constitutes zero (0) games.

Participation in three to six (3 to 6) quarters in one (1) day/night constitutes one (1) game.

Participation in seven to eight (7 to 8) quarters in one (1) day/night, will constitute two (2) game(s) being charged against the individual 21-game season limitation.

Overtime is considered an extension of the 4th quarter.


  • Player A plays in two quarters of the first game of a freshmen/sophomore/junior varsity doubleheader and three quarters in the second game. EFFECT Charged with one game.
  • Player A plays in one quarter in the first game and two quarters in the second game. EFFECT Charged with one game.
  • Player B plays in one quarter of a Friday game and three quarters of a Saturday game. EFFECT Charged with one game for Saturday and no games for Friday.
  • Player C plays in four (4) quarters of the sophomore/JV game and two (2) quarters in the varsity game. EFFECT Charged with one game.
  • Player C plays in four (4) quarters of the JV game and four (4) quarters of the varsity game. EFFECT Charged with two games.
  • Player B plays in three or more quarters on Friday and three or more on Saturday. EFFECT Charged with two games, one each day.
  1. A school may elect to play every night of the week if they desire. There is no limitation on the number of days in a week that

a school can play games.

  1. A school may participate in three non-varsity basketball tournaments involving not more than four schools. Each game played in the tournament will count toward the player and team 21-game limitation rule.
  2. Member schools may not practice or participate in any interscholastic basketball contest later than the date on which the final game of the state tournament is played.
  3. Member schools are not permitted to play any interscholastic basketball game from December 24 through January 1. This does not exclude the school from practicing or using one of its scrimmages if they desire.
  4. Those schools playing in the football championship games are entitled to 10 days of practice, exclusive of Sunday and Thanksgiving Day, before their first basketball game. The Monday following the football championship games starts the 10‑day practice period. If the school decides to play sooner, it is their prerogative, but they need not play until after they have had the opportunity for 10 days of practice.
  5. In conference basketball tournaments, there will be no loser’s bracket except semifinal losers can play for third and fourth places. Exception: Teams not advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament may schedule additional games (not exceeding 21) at the discretion of the conference without IHSAA approval.
  6. In invitational basketball tournaments, there can be four teams; each team is permitted to play only two games; and the tournaments must be back‑to‑back dates or the entire tournament may be played on a Saturday with each team and each individual player playing a maximum of two games. If the tournament is played on Saturday, the six‑quarter limitation rule will be waived. A REGULAR SEASON CONFERENCE OR NON‑CONFERENCE GAME CANNOT BE SCHEDULED AS PART OF AN INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT. All conference tournament games played count toward the 21-game limit.
  7. The Board of Control adopted a policy that will allow schools changing classifications from one year to the next to be permitted to find an opponent to play one additional game to assist them in having competition during the 7 to 10‑day layoff caused by the classification change.

EXAMPLE: School A has previously been a class 2‑A school, their tournament has started one week prior to the 3‑A and 4‑A classes starting their tournament. Team A becomes a 3‑A school. Due to their classification change, they have 7 to 10 days without competition. School A will be permitted one additional game with a Class 3A or Class 4‑A school to alleviate the long layoff in their schedule. This school is also permitted one additional game with regard to the limitation rule.

  1. The coach may have one meeting with his team prior to the start of the basketball season for the purpose of handing out information and materials to his players. However, the players may not be dressed in uniforms for this meeting. No equipment may be issued prior to the first legal practice. (This does not prohibit the taking of shoe sizes to order basketball shoes.)
  2. Videotaping or filming is permissible in scouting your opponent–your opponent shall be notified. Space for taping or filming for scouting is not required of the host school. Hand-held cameras are recommended.
  3. The basketball the IHSAA will be using in IHSAA tournaments for the 2022-2023 season will be the Spalding LEGACY.

19. Overtime: Overtime games in grades 9-12 will be ½ the regular quarter time (ex. 8 minute periods, 4 minute overtime; 7 minute periods, 3 ½ minute periods.)


22nd Game Requests

We have three basic criteria in determining whether or not a 22nd game is approved. A majority of requests deal with conference alignment in which teams have left a conference leaving schools in that conference short of contests. All 22nd games need to be approved by our office. The school requesting a 22nd game for their opponent needs to write a letter to our office requesting that 22nd game along with providing the date and site of the contest. 22nd game requests are only done on a one-year basis, and only for extenuating circumstances.

While the IHSAA will grant permission for schools to play a 22nd game if it meets the appropriate criteria, those 22nd games WILL NOT be used toward seeding for the district tournaments in Classes 1A, 2A, and 3A, and the substate tournament in Class 4A. In addition, that 22nd game will not be used in determining seeding for the state tournament.


Regulations Governing Basketball Clinics

Basketball clinics may be held provided they are sanctioned by the IHSAA and the teams invited will only play two quarters consisting of eight minutes each. The clinic must have clinicians and the primary purpose is to include the techniques of coaching. Teams cannot play in a clinic until the date of the first legal game.


Late Scheduling of Basketball Games

No basketball game may be scheduled after the start of a season without the approval of the Board of Control. Those schools desiring to schedule an extra game, provided they have not used the number of games permitted, must write the IHSAA Office and ask for permission to schedule the extra game.


Cheerleaders Rules

At all IHSAA Tournaments, district, substate and state, there will be a limit of six cheerleaders and one mascot, if in uniform. This includes any self-appointed individuals. During a tournament, you may have different individuals make up this limit of six cheerleaders. In other words, it does not have to be the same individuals during the entire tournament series. However, for any one tournament game you may have only six in uniform. There can be no alternating or substituting during that tournament game. Please keep in mind that during the school year, the limit of cheerleaders can be determined by the local school.


Game Protests Not Upheld

The Board of Control will not uphold any protest by a member school arising from any interscholastic contest involving the question of rules interpretation by any of the contest officials.


Mandatory Reporting Of Stats

Based on a recommendation from the Executive Board of the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association, head varsity basketball coaches are required to enter the necessary statistical data through Quik Stats, now located via Varsity Bound at Statistical data needs to be entered by Tuesday, December 13th, Tuesday, January 10th, and Tuesday, February 7th. All games played through the previous Saturday of each reporting date need to be included in the statistical data. Continuing to the conclusion of the season, statistical data must be entered after each contest.    The penalty for failure to report by these dates is:

First offense, a letter/e-mail to the head coach and athletic director from the IHSAA sport administrator giving 3 days to comply;

Second offense, a letter to the athletic director with a copy to the principal from the IHSAA sport administrator, giving 3 days to comply;

Third offense, IHSAA member school’s expense allowances will be withheld by the IHSAA in the sport in which the third offense occurred.



ALL games leading up to the release of brackets will be used to seed the district tournaments in Classes 1A and 2A; and the substate tournaments in Classes 3A and 4A.  District brackets including sites and assignments for Classes 1A and 2A will be released Week 32 (Week of February 6th) of the NFHS calendar.  Substate brackets, including sites and assignments for Classes 3A and 4A will be released Week 33 (Week of February 13th) of the NFHS calendar.

The IHSAA will determine the seeding of the State Tournament Field.



The IHSAA Basketball Postseason Tournament Manual will be placed on the IHSAA website in January stating all the rules and regulations which govern postseason tournament play. Postseason Tournament Manuals will not be sent out to member schools.

Schedule Information

Preseason & Regular Season Dates

Year First Practice NFHS Week First Contest NFHS Week
2022-23 November 14 Week 20 November 28 Week 22
2023-24 November 13 Week 20 November 27 Week 22
2024-25 November 18 Week 20 December 2 Week 22
2025-26 November 17 Week 20 December 1 Week 22


Regulations Governing Basketball Jamborees

The first legal playing date for a jamboree is Week 20 (November 14, 2022) and thereafter.

Jamborees shall be permitted for varsity teams only.

The IHSAA will permit a regular county jamboree or a regular conference jamboree. If all the teams in the county or all the teams in the conference are invited to participate and there should be less than eight teams involved, the IHSAA would sanction a county or conference jamboree to include not more than two teams from outside the county or conference provided the teams invited are located in the adjacent county of the site of the jamboree.

No member schools shall participate in more than one jamboree during a season.

Schools and/or individuals participating in a basketball jamboree will not be charged with a game participation under the basketball limitation rule.

A basketball jamboree will not allow any school to participate in more than two 8-minute quarters.

A jamboree is NOT considered one of the high school’s three allowable scrimmages.

Shot Clocks are permitted to be used in jamborees.


Pregame Meeting

Per the request of the Iowa Basketball Coaches, the pre-game meeting with the captains and head coach of the level of competition being played, should be held off the playing floor at an open spot on bench side or wherever the least amount of noise and open space presents itself. The head coach at the level of competition being played is responsible for taking part in this pre-game.


Secondary/Auxiliary Gym

The Iowa Basketball Coaches Association recommends that if a host school has second or auxiliary gym available for warm-up during the regular season, in the name of good sportsmanship, it should be offered to both teams, with the requirement that a coach from each team is present.  **Please be mindful of extending this courtesy.


Regulations Pertaining to Scrimmages

A member school may have a maximum of three practice scrimmages against other high schools provided:

The scrimmage is a bona fide scrimmage where no public announcement has been made, no admission charged, and no score is to be kept or recorded.

Schools engaged in a practice scrimmage may NOW travel further than 100 miles to play in such a scrimmage.

Member schools are permitted three scrimmages during the season. These scrimmages may be used anytime during the season. This is not three scrimmages per level, but three high school scrimmages.

No school time may be used for traveling and participating in a scrimmage session.

Up to four schools may be involved in a scrimmage. There can be four schools at a site and each team may scrimmage each other. This counts as one scrimmage.

Scrimmages must take place at one of the school’s regular practice facilities.


Penalty For Violation Of Rule Pertaining To Scrimmages

By Board action, violators of the scrimmage rule will be automatically eliminated from the tournament series. If the violation occurs during the tournament series, the team they last defeated in the tournament will advance. If the championship games have been played prior to knowledge of the violation, then all trophies, medals, and certificates will be collected and returned to the Association. If it is the championship team that violated the rule, the runner‑up becomes the champion. If it is the runner‑up team that committed the violation, the third‑place team will become the runner‑up. If it is the third‑place team who committed the violation, the fourth‑place team will become third-place. If it is the consolation runner‑up team that committed the violation, there will be no consolation runner‑up team for that year.


Graduates Not Permitted T0 Practice Or Participate With Or Against High School Student Athletes

The question is often asked, “Can graduates practice or participate with or against the high school team or a member of that team?” Simply stated: High school graduates cannot practice or participate with or against a team or a member of a high school team during the given sport season. NOTE: This does not prohibit a student from participating under Student Eligibility Rule 36.15(7) “Non-school Team Participation Rule.”

Rationale: Student eligibility rules pertain to high school athletes and not graduates. The liability concerns for local boards of education and school districts are multiplied should an accident occur involving high school graduates practicing or participating with or against the high school team or a member of that team. Rules and regulations do not prohibit the local school district, should they desire, to permit high school graduates to use their facilities for practicing and/or participating, but not for the purpose of practicing and/or participating with or against a team member of a team representing the school.


ACHIEVE Challenge Scrimmage

            The ACHIEVE Challenge is a community service initiative with the option to participate in a basketball scrimmage. Schools take part in the ACHIEVE Challenge by participating in a local community service project of their choosing. Participating schools also have the option to participate in an ACHIEVE SCRIMMAGE/EXHIBITION. Schools authorized to participate in an ACHIEVE Scrimmage are permitted to use one of their three allotted basketball scrimmages to play a “regulation” game-like scenario under all normal game conditions, including charging admission, keeping score and using officials. Essentially, it may be thought of as an “exhibition” game. Schools are permitted to scrimmage against out of state opponents, however, the scrimmage must occur at an Iowa school.  The ACHIEVE Scrimmage must be played within the designated time period and does not count on a school’s record. Travel restrictions for scrimmages are in effect for ACHIEVE Scrimmages. Proceeds from the Pride Scrimmage may be used to benefit a chosen service project or may be retained by the host school.

Contest Information

Uniform and Apparel Clarification

Reminder, headbands and wristbands shall be white, black, beige or the predominant color or the jersey. They must be the same color as any sleeves/tights worn. ALL team members must wear the same color for each wristband, sweatband, tights or sleeves worn.


Pregame Warm-Up

There have been a few cases where schools are having their varsity basketball players warm up at the halftime of the JV game or before the JV game. This is against the rules and regulations of the Association and it is not to take place.

HUDL Video Recommendations

The Iowa Basketball Coaches Association feels that the exchange of game video is a vital part of our basketball program.  The IHSAA Advisory Committee recommended and the IHSAA Board of Control approved the use of HUDL to create a pool of all basketball playing schools.  Instead of pools divided by class or conference, all basketball playing schools will be placed in one large pool.  This will provide access to all game for all schools upon the entering of the video.  Schools will be required to enter their video into the basketball pool by 10 AM the morning following their most recent contest.  The Iowa Basketball Coaches Association based, on a recommendation from the IHSAA Basketball Advisory Committee has created the following guidelines to help with the consistency of how games are recorded and exchanged. Any issues or concerns regarding regular season film exchange need to be addressed with the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association.  The Iowa Basketball Coaches Association understands and appreciates that often times volunteers and students are those that have the responsibility to videotape.  Hopefully, these general guidelines will allow practice and improve consistency in the game exchange process.

General Points:

  1. Close up shots are not often necessary. Zoom in on the players as the play ends to see how both teams are moving, shooting, and blocking out.
  2. Do not zoom out too much. The idea is to see the players, not an empty backcourt or frontcourt. There is no need to see things off the basketball court.
  3. Focus on the action. When the possession starts, try to have all of the players on the screen.
  4. Hold the camera as steady as possible and mute the sound if at all possible. Be sure that you are on “Record” or “Pause”.  Check this before each play.
  5. Remember, more is better. It is better to stop later than too soon.  The coaches can edit time, but cannot regain a play.
  6. Film the scoreboard after each time-out and at the start of each quarter.

Mercy Rule

Based on a recommendation from the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association and approval from the IHSAA Board of Control, a 35-point differential rule is in effect for all games played in Iowa, grades 7-12. If there is a 35-point differential at the end of the first half or any time after, the game will be continued with a running clock. Beginning with the ensuing possession when the 35-point differential becomes effective, the following changes, and only these changes, will be made regarding rules determining when the clock will and will not be stopped.

The clock will run continuously except for the following situations when it will be stopped:

  • Anytime a time-out is charged to a team;
  • Stoppage to administer free-throws;
  • Intermission between third and fourth quarter;
  • Extended injury time-out;
  • Anytime officials determine it is necessary for safety reasons.

Please keep in mind we play the first half to completion with regular timing. If the differential is 35 points or more at half-time or anytime there is a 35-point differential during the second half, the running clock procedures will be used.

If the score margin drops below 25 points, then normal timing will resume for the remainder of the game, or until the 35 point plateau is again reached.


Coaching Decorum Rule

Upon recommendation from the IHSAA Basketball Advisory Committee and with the support of the IHSAA Board of Control and the Joint Committee, it is now permissible for the head basketball coach to stand within the designated coaching box (28 feet) as described in NFHS Basketball Rules 1-13-2 and 10-6-1. This rule will be effective at all levels of basketball involving students in grades 7-12. Rule 1-13-2 replaces the IHSAA Bench Conduct Rule that had been in effect for many years. The head coach is not permitted to sit outside the coaching box. He/she must remain within the box in order to use the box for the entire game.

The administrative staff of the IHSAA recognize the additional freedom this provides head coaches to “coach” their athletes. It is of the utmost importance that coaches understand the privilege that is being afforded them and the responsibility that comes with it. It is the expectation of the IHSAA, the IBCA, and the Basketball Advisory Committee that this freedom be guarded carefully within the coaching fraternity and exercised diligently by the officials calling the games. Officials are instructed to permit certain behavior by the head coach who engages in spontaneous reactions to officiating calls/no-calls provided the head coach remains in the coaching box and the reaction is not prolonged, profane, vulgar, or threatening. At the official’s discretion, recurring spontaneous reactions by the head coach may result in a warning with subsequent incidents resulting in a technical foul. When complaints become more public or the attacks personal, there should be less discretion exercised by the official. **Officials may, per rule 4-48, issue a warning to the head coach/bench personnel for misconduct; which is recorded in the scorebook by the scorer—and reported to the head coach.

The first technical foul charged directly or indirectly to the head coach results in loss of coaching box privileges and the head coach must remain seated for the remainder of the game, except as stated in NFHS Basketball Rules 10-6-1b, c, d, and e. The use of the coaching box is for the head coach only and may not be designated to assistant coaches.


Coach Ejection

Any coach at any level grades 7-12 who is ejected from an IHSAA sanctioned sport be required to take the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching elective course “Teaching and Modeling Behavior.”

The course must be viewed prior to being able to return and coach an interscholastic contest and the certificate of course completion must be sent to the IHSAA office. In addition, the cost of the course will be the responsibility of the individual coach. This mandate is in addition to missing the next playing date at the level of competition he/she was ejected from and all games in the interim.


Student-Athlete Ejection

Any student-athlete at any level grades 7-12 who is ejected (including disqualification for receiving two technicals) from an IHSAA sanctioned sport will be required to take the NFHS Coach Education/Certification Program elective course Sportsmanship: It’s Up to You. The course must be viewed prior to being able to return and participate in an interscholastic contest at any level and the certificate of course completion must be sent to the IHSAA office. This mandate is in addition to missing the next regularly scheduled game/meet which is defined as the next scheduled, rescheduled, or contracted date.

There is no cost for this course.