EDJBA Introduces the Mercy Rule


What is a Mercy Rule?

A Mercy Rule is a defensive restriction helping to promote sportsmanship in junior basketball.  In simple terms the defence is required to drop back to within the 3pt line when they are 20pts or more in front. 


The formal wording of the rule is as follows:

This rule shall apply to all games except grading games and finals.  It shall apply to all age groups whenever one team has a lead of 20 points or more.  The rule shall require the team in the lead to retreat behind the three point line, in defence, whenever the opposition gain possession, from an inbound or field play.


It is strongly advised that the leading team plays a man to man defence inside the three point line, not a zone.

The penalty for infringement of the mercy rule shall be calling a violation on the offending team and returning the ball to the other team at the three point line extended.

Should any losing team seek to merely hold the ball outside the three point line with no effort at all to penetrate, then the referees shall give three warnings and then allow the defence to press to the half-way line.

The rule shall be enforced by the referees with the intervention of the person in charge of the venue if necessary.

Coaches do not have the option not to claim use of the rule if losing by 20 points or more.


Why is the EDJBA implementing the Mercy Rule?

The Mercy Rule is common practice in many basketball associations and after much discussion at the last Executive Committee meeting (April 2012), it was agreed that our Association should adopt the concept.

As an association we are trying very hard to provide an appropriate competition for the level of playing ability.  This is primarily achieved during grading however there are bound to be circumstances where a team may be much stronger than their opposition.  In this situation we are adopting measures that should help to promote good sportsmanship.

Given our Association has a percentage cut off (20pts); there is no advantage to a team winning by more than 20pts.  


When is the EDJBA implementing the Mercy Rule?

The EDJBA is implementing the Mercy Rule in Round 7 of the Winter Season for 2012.  The exact date is Saturday the 2nd of June 2012.  This is the first round after grading. 

We strongly suggest you start educating all parties concerned ASAP

When will the Mercy Rule be reviewed?

As an Executive, it is our intention to review the Mercy Rule after one season and make any necessary changes.


Please remember that this is junior domestic basketball and adopting a concept like the Mercy Rule is going to have teething problems.

The Referees, Coaches, Players and Spectators are all learning this new system so it is important to have patience and understanding while we do our best to implement it.

If anyone requires any further information or guidance please contact you club who will inform the EDJBA.



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