Backcourt Violation Rules


Advancing the ball across the half-court line isn't always simple. Opposing teams use trapping and pressing defenses to create turnovers. Also, there generally are time limits to get the ball to the front court. These vary based on the level of play and gender. Also, regulations on the high school level in each state can differ, so check with your state's governing association.

Allotted time

  • College and high school teams have 10 seconds to cross mid-court, while NBA teams have eight seconds. Failure to do so results in a turnover. Calling a timeout resets the timing count. Getting the ball into the frontcourt is defined as both feet and the ball crossing the midcourt line. This is not in effect for college women's basketball, the WNBA and in some states for high school girls' basketball.

Over and back

  • When the offensive team has possession in the front court and throws the ball or loses control into the back court, the ball is dead and is turned over once and offensive team's player makes contact with the ball. If a defensive player is the last player to make contact with the ball in the front court before it enters the back court, the offensive team can regain possession without penalty.

Inbounding from frontcourt

  • A team can inbound the ball from the front court into the back court without penalty.

5-second rule

  • The closely guarded rule--better known as the five-second rule--is not in effect in the back court due to the quick time frame to advance the ball past mid-court.


  • The mid-court line was adopted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on April 2, 1932, along with the 10-second rule to advance to the ball across the line. The rule was meant to deter stalling, which had become a technique employed by coaches to keep the score close.

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