Points of Emphasis
10/17/11 Rules Clarifications
Rule 12-1: A timeout may be requested at any time by the coach or by any player in the water of the team in possession of the ball calling "timeout" and signaling to the referee ...
Question: When is a team considered to be "in possession" of the ball?
Principle: During live time a player must have physical possession (be in control) of the ball in order for that team to be allowed to call a timeout. At all other times the most recent action of the referees will determine possession. When the ball is not in play, a team may call a timeout if that team has been granted possession by the most recent action of the referees even if that team does not have physical possession of the ball.
Examples: (1) Team A has possession of the ball. Team A then relinquishes possession of the ball by dumping the ball into a vacant area before the expiration of the shot clock. As soon as the referee blows the whistle and awards the ball to Team B, Team B may immediately call a timeout even if Team B has not taken physical possession of the ball. (2) Team A shoots the ball over the goal. The referee awards possession to Team B. Team B may call an immediate timeout even if the ball is still outside the pool.
Question: At what point does the game clock stop and the shot clock reset?
Principle: As the shot clock winds down the referee should blow the whistle when the referee determines that the team in possession of the ball has relinquished possession of the ball. The game clock stops when the referee blows the whistle, not when the shot clock buzzer sounds. It is understood that normal human reaction time will prevent the relinquishing of the ball, the blowing of the whistle, and the stopping of the game clock from taking place simultaneously. Therefore, absent any obvious game clock operator error, the time on the game clock should be considered accurate regardless of any apparent differential between the game clock and the shot clock.
Example: Team A is in possession of the ball and calls a timeout with 5 seconds remaining on the shot clock and 10 seconds remaining on the game clock. After the timeout, Team A puts the ball in play and then relinquishes possession of the ball just prior to the shot clock expiring. When the referee blows the whistle and awards the ball to Team B, there are only 4 seconds remaining on the game clock. This 1-second discrepancy should not be considered an operator error and can be attributed to (a) normal human reaction time and/or (b) non-visible fractional time variance in the clocks due to differences in rounding of the game clock and the shot clock.
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