(The following article appeared in this week’s edition of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana. It is being reprinted with permission of Dean Hockney, author of the column and publisher of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana).
This year, the National Federation of State High School Associations added a basket- ball points of interest directed towards the gymnasium public address announcer. In the point of emphasis, announcers are told to not cheer the home team or incite the crowd. The IHSAA is a member of the NFHS and has directed its member schools to follow these points of emphasis:
Announcer Responsibilities: The announcer shall be prohibited from making an announcement while the clock is running and while the clock is stopped and the ball is alive…such as during a free throw, a throw in, etc. Doing so could potentially affect communication of coaches, players or be disconcerting.
- The announcer shall be prohibited from interrupting the game through the use of the microphone unless there is an emergency.
- Announcements or comments shall be made during those times when there is a stoppage of the clock and the ball is not live, such as time outs, between quarters, pre-game, half time and post game.
- The announcer is allowed to announce basic information that does not potentially affect the play in general, the players, the coaches, or the officials. The announcer’s information is not official information and could be misinformation shared with all.
- Appropriate training of announcers by personnel and proper pre-game instruction by the Referee are necessary.May be Announced (examples): player who scored, player charged with foul, player attempting free throw, team granted a time out, length of time out (30 seconds or 60 seconds), player entering game, team Rosters.
Shall not be Announced (examples): number of points player scored, number of fouls on player, number of team fouls, number of team time outs or number remaining, time remaining in the quarter/ game, type of foul or violation, emphatic 2 or 3-point goal.
The announcer’s role does not include “cheering the home team on” or otherwise inciting the crowd. Doing so is common at other levels of athletic events. But high school athletics is different because sports are educationally based. In a very real sense, the public-address announcer at a high school event is a “Champion of Character”. He/she can influence the atmosphere of the contest by what is said and how it is said. The announcer who performs professionally promotes good sportsmanship by what he/ she says and how he/she acts upon saying it.
So basically, public address announcers are not to do what cheerleaders, mascots and bands are supposed to do – fire up the crowd. These are rules made by coaches who apparently do not want crowds to be “influenced” by play off the court. So, will cheerleaders, mascots and bands be the next group to be toned down in basketball games? Just a thought.
And remember, this is high school basketball only – not college, NBA or even high school football. It will be interesting to see the first basketball official call a technical foul on a public address announcer for being too vocal.
“Foul on Mike Smith; his second, team first.” Oops, technical foul for saying the number of fouls on a player.
Until next time, remember to keep the man and ship in sports – and I’ll see you at the game.