Every season there’s debate on about why dunking is illegal in high school hoops here in Maine.
Technically, it isn’t. Here’s the rule provided to me by a local official:
NFHS Rule 10, Section 4, Article 3: "A player shall not grasp either basket at any time during the game, except to prevent injury; dunk or stuff, or attempt to dunk or stuff a dead ball."
So, a player can dunk. In the game. Not during warmups. But grabbing or hanging on the rim is forbidden unless it’s for safety. Theres just too much open for Interpretation here.
In the first few days of this year’s tournament a couple of technical fouls were called on dunks that seemed to abide by the above rule and social media exploded.
“One of the technical calls this weekend was a complete joke,” a former official tells me.
What’s legal? What isn’t? Here, let me help. Allow dunks during live action. All dunks. Any dunk. One handed. Two handed. Reverse. Tomahawk. Hang on the rim. Hide a sharpie up there and sign the ball. I don’t care.
It's 2018. Dunks are a major part of the game now. At all levels. So, slam away. No technical fouls ever.
A local high school athletic director largely agrees with me.
“I would have a hard time believing that officials in states outside of Maine "enforce" or apply that rule to the level they do here in our state. To me, how this rule is applied in our state is archaic. It is time the State of Maine caught up with the rest of the nation and ENCOURAGED this sort of sportsmanlike display of athleticism. “
This AD is right. I lived in Oklahoma City where kids from the big high schools there, many of whom go on to major colleges to play, dunk all of the time.
John Smist is the former Sports Anchor at WLBZ TV in Bangor. He now covers sports in North Carolina.
“Down here I have seen the best high school team I have ever covered. They dunked all the time. Down here they call the high school games more like college. Lots of contact while guarding. Dunks. Wouldn’t fly in Maine.”
Well it should. Time to grab the game from the 1960’s and have the refs swallow the whistles when a kid dunks. Debate over.
Photo Courtesy of Maine Coast TV