AAA releases COVID-19 basketball guidelines

2020-21 Arkansas Activities Association COVID-19 Basketball Guidelines 

In accordance with the Directives Regarding Large Outdoor Venues/Large Indoor Venue Plans for School Sponsored Team Sports, all athletic events must follow the requirements linked below.


Facility Modifications

  • Family groups must be spaced 6 feet apart. 
  • Have a separate entrance and exit point for facilities to avoid congestion and aid in social distancing.
  • Create and display COVID-19 information signage throughout the venue.
  • Use tape, paint, and signage within the bleachers and around the facility to mark areas where spectators may gather to maintain social distancing. Specify where spectators and participants may sit.
  • Everyone inside the facility is required to wear a mask at all times, except players that are actively participating. 
  • Appropriate social distancing must be maintained on sidelines and benches during contests and events. Bench personnel must sit with a minimum distance of 6 feet apart and must be separated from the audience by a minimum of 12 feet. 
  • Appropriate locker room space should be provided to officials for social distancing (i.e. larger room or separate rooms). The space(s) must be sanitized prior to arrival.
  • Each player should use their own towel and water bottle to avoid sharing.

Modifications to Regular Season 

  • BENEFIT GAMES – will only be allowed between two teams. 
  • NO MULTI SCHOOL EVENTS IN OR OUT OF STATE – such as tournaments, classics, showcases, etc. This does not preclude two schools junior and senior high teams participating at a venue. 
    • Non Football schools are allowed:
      • 34 high school varsity games 
      • 28 junior high school varsity games
    • Football schools are allowed
      • 26 high school varsity games
      • 24 junior high school varsity games
  • Junior varsity limitations remain the same as listed in the 2020-2021 AAA Handbook for high school and junior high school (except no tournament)
  • Save the last week before the regional tournament for 1A-4A schools and the last week before the state tournament for 5A-6A schools for a conference tournament if needed. 

Return to Competition

  1. Basketball Rules Considerations
  • Pregame Protocol (2019-2021 NFHS Officials Manual, page 16, 1.8
    • Limit attendees to the referee and the head coach from each team with each coach standing on the center circle on each side of the division line.
  • All individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet or greater at the center circle.
  • Suspend handshakes prior to and following the Pregame Conference.
  • Team Benches (1-13-1) Includes: Coaches, players, and managers
    • Social distancing should be practiced when possible. Below are some suggestions.
      • Limit the number of bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater.  
      • Consider limiting game rosters to 15 students.
      • Additional chairs or rows may be added to allow bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater. 
      • Create separation by a minimum of 12 feet between the team bench and spectator seating behind the bench.
      • Limit contact between players when substituting.
      • Personnel not in the game shall wear face coverings. 
  • Officials Table (2-1-3)
    • The host should sanitize the table before the game and at half time.
    • Place officials table sufficiently away from the sideline to allow for additional space for substitutes.
    • Limit seats at the table to essential personnel which includes home team scorer and timer with a recommended distance of 6 feet or greater between individuals. Other personnel (visiting scorer, statisticians, media, etc.) may not be deemed essential personnel and consider an alternate location for them.  
    • Table personnel shall wear face covering.
  1. Pre- and Post-Game Ceremony
  • Suspend the pregame introduction handshakes.
  • Suspend post game protocol of shaking hands. 
  1. Basketball Rules Interpretations
  • Equipment and Accessories
    • Sanitizer should be provided by the host team at the table.
    • Cloth face coverings are permissible for players.
  • Officials Uniform and Equipment
    • Long-sleeved shirts are permissible. 
    • Officials should not be required to wear jackets during pregame court/player observation.
    • Electronic whistles are permissible (supplies are limited). 
      • Choose a whistle whose tone will carry inside.
      • Check the market for choices                              
    • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
    • Gloves are permissible.
  1.  Other Considerations
  • Throw-in
  • Officials may stand 6 feet or greater away from a player making the throw-in and bounce the ball to that player on a front court throw-in.
  • Free Throw Administration 
  • The lead official shall stand on the end line and bounce the ball to the free thrower.

Time Out

Coaches should limit the number of individuals in huddles during time outs.