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NCAA Clarifies Officials’ Jurisdiction on “Six Men on the Court” Rule

Louisiana’s “6th man” victory over Western Kentucky on January 5th has prompted the NCAA to release a memo clarifying what officials can and cannot do once the final buzzer sounds.

Louisiana won the game 72-70 in overtime when freshman Elfrid Payton hit a driving layup with just over three seconds remaining.  Khalil McDonald’s desperation three point shot from mid court was off target as the final horn sounded.

Video later showed the Cajuns played the last 21 seconds of overtime with six men on the court.  Following the final horn, officials conferred and said it was not a reviewable play.

While that is correct, the officials, if they had been able to confirm there were six men participating, could have assessed a technical foul after the final horn, as their jurisdiction over the game does not end until they leave the court.

Under the clarification, a technical foul could have been called after time ran out and Western Kentucky could have forced a second overtime by making both free throws.  If they would have missed one or both free throws, Louisiana would have been declared the winner.

However, the memo states that the courtside monitor may NOT be used in order to confirm the sixth man was on the court while the ball was in play.  The memo goes on to say officials must “see the violation occur or have personal knowledge it occurred in order to penalize the infraction.”

That begs the question, what constitutes “personal knowledge?”

According to Sun Belt Supervisor of Officials Mike Wood, personal knowledge would have to be actually seeing the sixth man.

“In order to have personal knowledge, the official would have to visually confirm six men on the court,” Wood said.  “There’s really no other way to get the personal knowledge.”

Wood went on to say Sun Belt Officials would not use information supplied by other sources, such as the scorer’s table.


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