MIAA Basketball Post-Game Handshake Protocol
Implementation: 2009-2010 Season
Adopted 10/27/2009

The MIAA has a mission “to promote a culture of fairness, respect, responsibility, and civility in sports and to foster initiatives which encourage positive attitudes and behaviors in athletes, coaches, officials, parents, and spectators of all ages in Massachusetts.”

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Council (MIAC) voted at its November, 2007 meeting that: “Beginning with the fall season of 2008, officials will be required to remain at the team competition site until the handshake ceremony has concluded.” All game participants (site-managers, coaches, officials, student-athletes), in full view of the spectators, will conclude the contest experience with an appropriate and structured “handshake” ceremony.

In the sport of basketball, the requirement of game official participation in the post-game handshake began with the 2008 MIAA tournament. The (PGHC) is in agreement that the procedures instituted consistently across the state led to a successful implementation of the post-game handshake ceremony. In combination with the desired positive outcomes, the protocol was developed to ensure the health and safety of all participants. DURING the 2008-2009 regular season play, the (PGHC) handshake protocol as adopted by the MIAA Basketball Committee REFLECTED the ongoing health/safety concerns of some basketball game officials, and as a result recommended the continuation of a structured and consistent protocol.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REVIEW TWO rule interpretations which impact the ceremony:


NF Basketball Rule 2, Section 5, Article 7 has been adopted, “When the referee either signs the scorebook following the game, or when a non-verbal confirmation is exchanged between the referee and the official scorer, the score is then final and considered approved.” Thus, the post-game handshake will never impact the final score.

MIAA Sportsmanship Rule 49.8 states- “Fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be within the authority of the official at all times at the contest site. The official’s authority extends to pre and post game oversight.” Implementation of this rule could have future consequences on the offender, but does not affect the final score.

The protocol outlined below should serve as the guide across the state. Inherent in the expectations is the belief that the post-game handshake initiative is in fact a mutual endeavor of all game participants- site managers, coaches, officials, student-athletes, and in full view of the spectators. This protocol also describes three potential scenarios where the officials’ participation in the post-game handshake ceremony would be suspended.

Suggested Protocol

Including Participant Responsibilities

A responsible delegate of the principal at each host school will act as the site manager. In most cases, this will be a school athletic director, principal, assistant principal, or school staff member.
The site manager WILL MEET with the game officials PRIOR TO THE START OF THE GAME to discuss/plan the post game handshake. Among the most important discussion topics should be the site manager’s or designated person’s (possibly police/security) designated location during the post-game handshake and the plan for exiting the court following the ceremony.

In game locations with a public address system, the site manager MUST MAKE EVERY ATTEMPT to have the announcer read the suggested MIAA announcement at APPROPRIATE TIMES prior to the conclusion of the game. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS BE MADE BETWEEN THE 3rd & 4th QUARTERS AND ANY LATE 4th QUARTER GAME TIME-OUTS.
Following the final horn, the referee will approve the final score.

As the teams line up and prepare for the post-game handshake, the officials will stand at the half court area facing the scorer’s table, or in front of the scorer’s table. It is most important to reinforce that head coaches (and not game officials) are responsible for their teams and student-athletes during the post-game handshake. Also, the site manager and school administration are responsible for spectator decorum at the venue. The officials will then observe/participate in the ceremony.

If while observing the handshake anything occurs which would normally penalize the actions with an unsporting technical foul or flagrant technical foul, the official will report those actions to the site manager. These actions will be penalized under MIAA Sportsmanship Rule 49.8.

Following the handshake ceremony, the site manager or designee will meet with the officials at the designated location and walk them to their locker room area.
Post-Game Handshake Cancellation- Scenario #1