Kerrisdale Basketball League – Rules & Guidelines

1.0         General

The rules below are our guide and have been developed with player feedback over many years.  Players must agree to follow these rules.  Sometimes, there is a tendency for teams to compromise the rules as “agreed between themselves” such as: 1) playing with 4 players each, 2) allowing grey shirts, etc….  This won’t work as it is important the rules we play under are consistent from game to game and team to team.  If the rules need to be adjusted, we need to do it as a league, and not per game, or individually.  Our rules do not cover every situation, therefore, sometimes, we simply need to use good judgment and play with good spirit.  The organizer has discretion and final decision in all situations.   Players are responsible for knowing the rules and spirit guidelines and playing within them.

  • Fouls
  • Any player involved in the foul may call a foul. However, the foul is only recorded if there is agreement between the players involved.  The player being fouled may “Contest” the call, in which case, the foul is not recorded.  Offense maintains possession unless it is an offensive foul.    Player being fouled cannot overrule player committing the foul and gain possession unless there is agreement on the call.  It is in the spirit of the league for players to admit their fouls – please signal the scorer’s table.  In the case of a “Contest”, players should either say “Contest”, or simply motion to the scorer’s table that it is a “Contest”.  Please keep the communication “cool”, fair, and simple, and try not to get personal about the calls – be objective.
  • 11 team fouls allowed. At 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and every foul thereafter, the opposing team is in a bonus situation.  During regular continuous time, teams get this point automatically.  In the last 3 minutes during stop-time, if the point spread is 6 or less, teams will have the opportunity to earn the point with a foul shot.  Women shoot first, with men and women alternating thereafter.  Also, please don’t worry too much about the number of fouls.  The point percentage of the total number of points scored is very small (~5%), compared to about 25% in regular leagues.  Just make a call, or accept a call, and play on.  If the foul is “Contested”, offense just keeps the ball and the play moves on – it should be as close to instantaneous as possible and smooth – there should hardly be any discussion.   Put the no. of fouls in perspective.  Don’t get bugged – just play.

Fouls occurring after a basket count.

Note:  On any call by the defense, the ball does not get turned over unless the offensive player agrees on the call.  For example, on an offensive foul call by a defensive player.  Generally, the idea is that there are no possession changes unless both the offensive and defensive players agree.

  • There are three (3) kinds of fouls:
  1. i) A regular foul, which is worth 1 foul. These fouls should account for about 90% of the fouls.
  2. ii) An automatic basket without possession. This occurs when the defender is behind the player on a breakaway going to the hoop and commits a hard foul.  No fouls marked.  The intent of this rule is to let the player go if you don’t have a reasonable chance of defending the play.  Again, players should call this.  Monitors may use their discretion here as well.

iii)  An automatic basket plus possession.  This occurs when there is an intentional or flagrant foul, which occurs primarily when a player is behind the offensive player and appears to have little or no chance of defending the play.  A flagrant foul also occurs when a player takes a hard swing (like a volleyball spike) to swat the ball away.  Generally, the scorer’s desk will make this call, although the first choice is to get agreement between the players involved and the scorer’s desk.  Of course, if a player or team volunteers this call, that’s even better.

In the case of an “extreme” intentional foul, see Section on “On Court” behaviour.

  • If a player drives towards the hoop looking for a foul, there will be no foul. Offense retains possession.  Please drive only when there is a legitimate opening, otherwise the contact creates too much confusion and conflict.
  • On screens or picks, guys may not put up their arms and elbows. This is a foul.  However, it is okay for women to put up their arms, but only to protect themselves, and not to use the arms to make the pick more effective – no pushing.  Screens or picks in the backcourt are allowed, however, players cannot “pick players off” – no blind picks.
  • If players do not make the call, the organizer/monitor will use his/her discretion in making a call in the spirit of fairness. Players must make a call and give the benefit of the doubt to the opposing player.
  • Players not involved in the foul may not make a foul call. If such players do make a call, a warning is issued.  A second infraction is marked as a foul.
  • “And 1” – Generally, we do not record “And 1”.  However, “And 1” can be recorded if both players on the court involved in the foul agree.  Most times, the defensive player has “moved on” with the play down the court, while the player calling for the “And 1” is requesting the foul.  The onus is on the “And 1” player to look for agreement from the player he/she called the foul on.   If the player doesn’t get the agreement, no foul will be marked.  If the foul is pretty obvious and the player committing the foul is too caught up in the play to acknowledge the call, the monitor can mark the foul, however, the monitor should look to get acknowledgement.  Generally, this is a tough situation because the play has changed direction, so in almost all cases there is no “And 1”.  There is a slight opening to record the “And 1” for bad fouls, and it is left to the monitor’s discretion.

3.0     Clock

  • Games are 50 to 60 minutes, with the last 2 minutes stop time. However, organizer can change the duration for scheduling reasons.  The clock will only go into stop time if the point spread is 10 or less – organizer can use discretion here.
  • Games should be played in the spirit of a 30 second clock, including a 10 second clock in the back court (times are just approximate – please do not go crazy if the timer is out by a few seconds either way – until we get a clock, timer will do their best). Organizer will try and arrange a “shot clock warning” buzzer to indicate 5 secs before shot clock expires – or use shot clocks if available.
  • When the game is in stop time, the clock will stop after a basket is scored, and will be started again when the ball is touched after the inbound. Realistically, the ball is put into play pretty quickly, so most times, there is no need to stop/start the clock.  Clock only needs to be stopped if a team is taking too long – more than 3 seconds.
  • If a game is tied after regulation time during regular season, there will be no overtime, and the game will remain tied. Organizer can change overtime duration for scheduling reasons.  Overtime will be as specified by organizer for playoffs.
  • Each team is allowed 1 time-out per game, however, in a close game with the point spread less than 10 in the last 2 minutes, each team make take one additional time-out. Time-outs are 40 s, with a buzzer signaling return to play.  Game clock starts 5 secs later.
  • In the last 2 minutes, on a foul, offense has 15 secs or the balance of the shot clock. Each time there is a foul, shot clock resets to 15 secs.  If this can’t be tracked with a shot clock, we track it approximately.
  • Shot clock will remain at 30 seconds in the last 2 minutes throughout stop time. Please note that this is a  The spirit of the league is to not “run out the clock”, but to go for the hoop.
  • 5 second Rule. If there are 20 to 30 seconds left in the game, and the team with possession is ahead, the team that is behind will get 5 seconds after possession turnover (other team must shoot with 5 secs).  Please note that on a timeout, ball is moved up to the front court, just ahead of half.  If the clock inadvertently runs down after a made basket, the clock will be reset to 5 seconds in the backcourt.  Monitor should try and remember to remind both teams of the “5 second rule”.  General idea is to give the other team possession near the end of the game if the game is close.  The times aren’t exact.  Be flexible.  If the defensive team commits a foul when the 5 second rule is on, the 5 second rule is off and play continues normally until the clock runs out.

4.0         Rosters

1)   All games to be played with 3 guys/2 women.  A minimum game roster is 4 guys/3 gals.  Otherwise, penalties apply.

  • Teams that do not field 5 players, including 3 guys/2 women, will default their game. If a team cannot field 5 of their own players 20 minutes past the scheduled game time they will default that game.  See item 3) below for borrowing rules.  Defaulted games just become pickup games, and scores are recorded as 100/0 for the winning team.
  • Teams may not borrow players from any other team. Players may play on one team only.  Teams that borrow players will default their game.
  • If a team brings either only 2 women or only 3 men, this is a minor penalty. Four such occurrences equal one default.  Please see section on Minor Penalties – 6.0.
  • There are three types of defaults: Regular season defaults, playoff defaults, and league defaults.

Regular season defaults: If a team defaults once in the regular season, the team will lose any tie they are in.   If a team defaults twice in the regular season, then the team will be moved down to the bottom of the Division they are in and may not be allowed to participate in the playoff round; they may also be removed from the league at the organizer’s discretion.  There is also a $50 fine for the second default.

Playoff defaults. There are several scenarios here:

  1. If a team had no regular season defaults, the same default rules for the regular season will apply for the playoffs, i.e., losing a tie on the initial default, and moving to the bottom of the round on the second default.
  2. If a team had one regular season default, this default will be carried over to the playoffs, but not applied unless the team has a default in the playoff round. This playoff default will count as a second league default, and the team will be moved to the bottom of the playoff round they are in and not qualify for the finals.

League defaults: All defaults count as league defaults.  For example, if a team had one regular season default and one playoff default, then the total number of league defaults is two.  The second default automatically puts the team into the bottom of the round they are in, and they are ineligible for the finals. There is a fine of $50 for the second default.  The organizer may also remove the team from the league on the second or subsequent defaults. Teams defaulted from the league will have their community centre registration revoked, lose their deposit, and will not be permitted to register for the next session.

Team No shows is a default plus a $50 fine.

  • A player may only play in the Playoffs if they have played 5 games in a 12, 13, 14 or 15 week schedule ; 6 games in a 16 week to 18 week schedule; and 3 games in a 9 week schedule. In an 18 week schedule, the player may have played in either the round robin or the Pool Play.  There are no substitutions outside our roster rules for injured players or players leaving town.  Teams must ensure a sizable roster through the season to ensure adequate roster size if there are injuries.  However, teams may pick up internal league subs as per our roster rules in 4.0- 3).  Sometimes, the league organizer may have players looking to join the league, so please check with the organizer.  New players must be added to rosters.  Every player that steps onto the court at any center must be registered.  There are serious insurance ramifications if a player is not registered.
  • A team roster consists of a maximum of 15 players – team captains must submit an initial roster and keep updating the roster as players are added. Rosters are separate for the fall and winter/spring session.  All players playing any portion of a game must be registered at Kerrisdale, Kits, or Sunset Community Centre.  Unregistered players on the court will result in team default, unregistered players ejection from the league, and a $50 fine.
  • In case of injury or other circumstances where a team started with at least 4 guys or 3 girls, but is left with only 4 players through the game, the team may replace the injured player with another of equal or lesser strength or play with 4 or less players.  Technically, teams must play with their own players.  Game is not a default even if they play with 4 or less players because they started with at least 4/3. However, if a team started with only 3 guys and/or 2 women, game is a default in case of injury – see below.
  • If a team brings only 3 guys or 2 girls and cannot finish the game with the same 3 guys or 2 girls, the team will default the game.
  • Players must be 19 years old on game day to play in this league.
  • Teams must play with 2 women at all times.
  • If a team defaults by not fielding any players or not making an effort to field a team, i.e., calls the other team to indicate they cannot field enough players, or calls the organizer to indicate that they won’t be able to field a team, that team will receive a double default. Teams must make an effort to field a team by calling players from the sublist, asking the organizer for help, and making a significant effort to field subs. There has to be a game.  If a game isn’t played, the team that defaulted will be removed from the league – no warning – this is it.

5.0         Game

1)   Over and back rule at centre court is in effect.

2)   Three point baskets count.

3)   Players must play “man to man” defense similar to NBA.  NBA rules allow some sagging off depending on where the offensive player is with respect to the play.  Generally, a defensive player should be outside the key if the offensive player is near the 3 point line.  If the offensive player approaches the key, the defensive player must still be outside the key (both feet outside the key, and closer to who they’re supposed to be checking).  Basically, the defensive player cannot appear to be guarding any player other than their check.  Another way to look at this is that the defensive player cannot be appearing to play “safety”.  This is somewhat similar to the defensive 3 sec rule currently in the NBA.  If our “man to man” guidelines don’t work, we will try the NBA defensive 3 sec rule.  The above rule seems to apply mostly when a strong player (man or woman) is guarding a weaker player (man or woman) such as a player who is not a three point threat, but is positioned near the 3 pt. line.  The strong player’s instinct is to leave the weaker player and help their team-mate who may be guarding a stronger offensive threat.  The player can do this as long as they commit to a double team.  Otherwise, the defensive player cannot be playing safety – the defender has to appear to be checking who they’re supposed to be checking.  However, on the flip side, the defensive player should be credited for trying to help his/her team-mate, but to be fair, that defensive player can only go so far.  A little bit of sagging is fine.  The player should really be obviously closer to their check than to the player they’re trying to help on (not closer than half the distance separating the two offensive players involved?).  Note: Any player may check anyone, i.e., guys may guard women and vice versa – needs to be discussed.  Also, there is an ongoing discussion on allowing zone, but so far, it’s “man to man” or “woman to woman”.

4)   Three second rule in effect.

5)   Strictly no hands on defense, however, players may use one elbow in post positions for position and not to push.  Generally, play defense with your feet.

6)   Held ball goes to defense (team whose half the play is in)

7)   Ball must be checked in at the offensive half.  No need to check ball in at defensive end

8)   All players must help to ensure the games are fair and fun.

  • Guys cannot leave their feet to block women anywhere on the court. The penalty is goaltending – an automatic basket.  Even if the block doesn’t actually occur, as long as the motion of the block interfered with the shot, then it’s still goaltending.  Players should make the call.  Teams have been very good about this.  Most times, the blocking motion occurs inadvertently, and it’s simply a judgment call.
  • Game stops when there is an injury – continuation negated.
  • During play, players may only sub in at their defensive end, when the team is bringing up the ball; the “sub exchange” must take place near the bench. The ball must be in the backcourt, otherwise, it is difficult for players to see who is subbing in and when. Teams may sub on offense or defense during stoppage of play anywhere on the court.  Initial violation of subbing rules will result in a warning; subsequent violations will be fouls.
  • No dribbling balls on the sidelines while a game is in progress. Please check with the organizer about warm up areas. It’s best to come to the games already warmed up.
  • Teams will locate their bench in their defensive end.
  • Unless the organizer volunteers to score, teams must assign monitors as indicated on the schedule.

15) Players will respect the court boundaries.   As in a refereed game, any stepping on lines either inadvertently or innocently is a violation.

  • Players must play with self-discipline. Without it, it is very difficult to make this league work.
  • On a lay-up where a player catches his or her own “air ball”, this will be considered a “travel”.
  • Time outs – Only the players on the court and the captain may call a time out. Once one of these players calls a timeout, the clock will stop immediately, and the play will stop as well, or be called back to when the timeout was called. In a close game in the last 3 minutes, the monitor or organizer may call a timeout to help the game along.  Monitors are encouraged to do this to keep the game under control and set the game up for a good finish.  Ball is taken back in where the timeout was called, except when the 5 second rule is in effect where the ball is inbounded in the offensive end of the team with possession.
  • Dunking – The league has a “No grabbing the rim” policy. Players may dunk the ball, but they cannot touch the rim. The reason for this is that the league has already had to deal with the breakage of glass backboards twice, each time having to pay a $1500 fine to Kerrisdale.  Unfortunately, the Kerrisdale rims are quite weak, and hence the primary reason for the leagues dunking rule.  The fine for an “illegal dunk” is $20 to $100, which will be recovered from the damage deposit.  If the backboard and/or rim break, the team causing the damage will be fined $500.  The balance of the $1500 payment will be recovered from all the other teams in the league.  Please note that the cost of a damaged backboard and/or rim is more than $1500, partly because the cost of cancelled programs needs to be considered.

6.0         Penalties

Type Number of Occurrences Penalty
Default 1 Lose any tie
Default 2 Sent to bottom of Pool or Division at discretion of league organizer. $50 fine.
No Monitor 1 $50 fine, either cash or off the deposit
Team No Show 1 One Default + Monetary fine – $50 either from deposit or cash before next game.  Applies to exhibition and regularly scheduled games Please note that in this league there is always a game.  Advance notice that a team cannot field any player makes no difference – the penalty still applies.  Teams must send whoever they can, so that there can at least be a pickup game.  Advance notice to the organizer will help find players to fill in to allow a game.
Use of Underage players 1 $50 fine.  Default rest of season.

7.0         On-Court Behaviour

  • Any sign of taunting, intimidation, name calling, and other unsportsmanlike behaviour will result in a warning on the initial violation and a player ejection on the second occurrence. This includes any sign of mocking, ridicule, name calling, or any inappropriate, uncalled for remarks on the bench.  This behaviour will not be tolerated – it has no place in this league nor in the community centre.  A third occurrence will result in a team default.
  • Any player (one – no mobs!) may bring a complaint to the organizer’s attention, although it’s preferred if the captain does this. At the organizer’s discretion, he/she may allow further discussion with other players.   Failure to respect this rule will result in an initial warning, then a player ejection, and finally, a team default.
  • If a player shows up with alcohol under their breath or the organizer sees any sign of narcotics, the organizer has the right to remove the player and/or default the team.
  • If a player kicks the ball, the player will be suspended for one game and the team will be given a warning. Acts such as “punching” or throwing the ball across the court will be penalized based on review with the captains and monitor.
  • Any fighting will result in an ejection of the player(s) from the league and an automatic team default of 2 games including the current game. The next team default will result in removal of the team from the league.
  • In the case of physical misconduct such as an extreme intentional foul with no play on the ball where a player is strictly “going after” another player, the organizer may choose to suspend the player for a “to be determined” number of games. As well, the team will default one game (organizer’s discretion) – if they are losing the current game, they will default the next game.  Please note that because of the subjective nature of these types of incidents, the organizer has discretion with suspensions and defaults.  The organizer will do his/her best to be consistent with these types of penalties.  It’s important to note that the league doesn’t tolerate such behaviour, therefore, the inclination is to remove such players from the league.
  • If a player appears to be ignorant of the league rules, the organizer has the right to remove the player from the court – with cooperation from the team captain. The organizer also has the right to suspend any player from the league for any duration if the player does not play within the rules and spirit of this league.

8.0         Requests:

  • Please help with scoring, sweeping, and keeping the gym area clean. It is very expensive to hire additional staff to help with the league.

9.0         Monitoring


  • Keep score
  • Keep track of fouls
  • Keep the game moving. If players are taking too long to decide, ask the team with possession to begin play
  • Encourage a good spirit
  • Give shot clock warnings as necessary
  • Sound the buzzer on a time out call and when it’s time to return to play

Monitoring can be a difficult job depending on the teams and also the monitor.  It is important to remember that monitors are there to help the league run smoothly.  Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how players can demand so much from monitors.  I think this has a lot to do with perceiving the monitor as some type of ref.   The monitor’s main responsibility is to keep score and keep track of fouls; they are not referees.   Please treat the monitor and organizer with respect.

  • Please do not blame the monitors for calls.
  • Please do not tell the monitor what to do. However, you may check with the monitor, but politely.

Monitors will only step in if players cannot resolve disagreements between themselves.  Captains should step in when difficult situations arise.  Sometimes captains naturally get caught up in the game.  In such situations, and generally, teammates can be a big help in resolving the situations.

Near the end of a close game, monitors have to multi-track to keep the game running smoothly.  Players and captains can help in such situations by recognizing the situations with respect to the rules and the spirit of the league.

In this league, there is an expectation that the players will manage their own game and the monitor will simply help the players have a good game.  Sometimes monitors do make mistakes, but the players have to accept this reality.  Players miss a lot more on the court than the monitor ever does; however, the players are rarely or never scrutinized as closely as the monitors by some players.  This cannot happen.  We must treat the monitor’s desk with respect and make our individual contribution to ensure a smooth game.

10.0       Injuries & First Aid

  • Players must bring their own First Aid supplies. The community center First Aid equipment is only for emergencies.  Teams should get a bit organized by arranging within the team to have First Aid equipment.  Sometimes, because of unforeseen circumstances, the First Aid equipment can be made available to the players.  However, please try not to dip into the league First Aid supplies.
  • If anyone has any First Aid or other practical and useful Health Related qualification, please let the organizer know, and help out when you can.


  • A recommended roster is 5 guys/4 women. 6/4 also works.  More is safer; less is more risk to the game.
  • Please check email or the web page for game time changes and comments
  • Team captains — please try and verbally contact your players prior to game time. In our modern age, emails and text messaging are okay, but regardless of communication medium, don’t assume anything unless you have confirmation.
  • Do your best with fouls. Even with refs, the games deteriorate unless players take responsibility for the character of the games.  Good refs may make a difference, however they are too expensive (70$/game).
  • Players must keep the monitor’s desk area clear. There is a tendency for teammates to gather around the desk near the end of the ongoing game when the game is usually in its most important phase from a win/loss perspective.

11.0       Spirit of the league

The league began as a pickup night for about 6 players in 1996, three or four of whom had played high level organized bball.  Since then, the league has grown to 30 teams.   Even with the growth, it is the intention of the league to maintain the initial sense of community and fun.

The main criteria for players is to have fun, play with self-discipline, respect other players, be creative, and enjoy the game of basketball.

The rules of the league are there to help players play a fair game and enjoy the game of basketball.  There are several rules that are specific to this league and give the league its own identity.  Players are consulted on all rules.

To put the rules in perspective, we are     surrounded by rules everywhere  – at work, school, on the streets, etc…  One can never cover all the rules resulting from a blending of bball & human behaviour.   Therefore, it’s left to the creativity and judgment of the players to play with common sense using the listed rules as a basis.  It is this sense of creativity and flexibility that makes this league worthwhile for many players in this league, including myself.