• Unified Basketball

    COACH Alex Strongin
    COACH Jesus Rodriguez
    Playing Rules/Guidelines 2019

    All MIAA Basketball rules will be adhered to with the following modifications;

    • Roster Size: A minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 players with a proportional number of Unified athletes, students with intellectual disabilities, and Unified partners, students without intellectual disabilities, who serve in the role of on-court “mentor coaches.” There must be a minimum of 3 Unified partners on a team’s roster.
    • Co-ed Lineup: Each team has three Unified athletes and two Unified partners on the court at all times.       
    • Principals of Play:
      • Coaches should ensure that the Unified Sports principle of ‘meaningful involvement’ for all members of the team.
      • Coaches should ensure that the Unified Sports principle prohibiting ‘player domination’ is adhered for all team members.
    • Player & Safety Equipment*: Special Olympics does not allow the following in the sport of basketball during a game: Helmets of any kind, Wheelchairs, Walkers, crutches, canes, Boots, Hard casts, Jewelry. The sport of basketball by its nature is a contact sport, per our rules we do everything we can to limit the contact but, as much as we try, we cannot eliminate all aspects of contact or incidental contact. It is the responsibility of Special Olympics to look out for the safety and well-being of all of our participants and to manage any and all potential risks that may result or cause an injury to a participant.

            *see addendum for skills competition opportunity for students that use devices

    • Ques: A Unified partner may give verbal or visual instructions only to members of his/her own team. Communication designed to distract or confuse the opposing team is prohibited.
    • Time Outs: 1 time out equals 30 seconds. 4-time outs per game. 2-time outs per half. No carry over of time out.

    1 time out allowed for overtime.

    • Substitutions: A head coach may make a substitution in dead ball situations only (i.e. after a basket has been made, the ball goes out of bounds, or a foul is called). The coach must inform the referee first, who will stop play momentarily to allow the substitution. The referee should preferably use a verbal and physical signal. Some teams choose to substitute at a regular interval ie. Every 3-4 Minutes.
    • Traveling: to be called. Efforts made to explain. Warnings may be communicated. Carrying the ball around the key not ok.
    • Three Second Rule: The three-second rule, allowing offensive players to remain in the free throw lane for only three seconds, will not be enforced. Efforts made to explain. Warnings may be communicated.
    • Double Dribble: Every effort should be made for players to not double dribble.
    • Game Ball:5 Women’s ball to be used.
    • Game times: A game will consist of 2 halves, each 15-20 minutes long, running clock, with a 5-minute half-time. Last-minute of play stop-time. Jamboree director may make modification to game schedule as needed.
    • Uniforms: basketball uniform must be worn during games and Jamborees.
    • Additional Rules: Any areas or situations not covered in the Unified Player Development rules will be governed by the complete set of Special Olympics rules which can be found at specialolympics.org/sports.aspx.

    Skills Competition

    A structured skills competition has been created to prioritize safety for students and provide an opportunity to highlight the participation of students that use assistive devices. The skills competition will be run during the half-time of the regular-season games.

    Participants in the skills competition will consist of Unified athlete/partner pairs. For example, if an athlete uses a wheelchair they must enter the competition with a partner. The two will compete together as a Unified pair.


    During the Regular Season – coaches make arrangements with the opposing team to design the skills competition framework, 10-12 minute timeframe for half-time, reflective of teamwork and the Unified Sports model.

    During Jamborees – the Unified Sports Advisory Committee will design a skills competition that includes representatives from participating teams at each postseason jamboree.


Unified Basketball