Zero Tolerance Policy – Abuse of Referees, Minor Officials, OBA Officials, and Site Supervisors

Click here to download the Zero Tolerance Policy as a .pdf

Abuse of Referees, Minor Officials and OBA Officials/Site Supervisors

The most important aspect of Ontario Basketball (OBA) is fair play, not competition. OBA is looking to promote sportsmanship through courtesy between players, coaches, referees, parents and fans. Wins and losses and gold medals are secondary outcomes. It is important that participants not lose sight of this in the heat of the games. We have written policies, all readily available in the OBA Rules and Regulations Manual should you need to refer to them. These policies instruct all parties to show mutual respect and cheer for players from both teams. However, some people seem to forget these expectations once the game begins and a referee makes an unfavorable call (in some people’s opinion).

As a result of this, OBA implemented a Zero Tolerance Policy in 2014-15, regulating the conduct of coaches, players and parents toward game officials. Players, coaches or spectators are not allowed to disrespect an official’s decision, nor are they allowed to make abusive comments. This includes comments and complaints from the stands.

1. Prior to each game the Site Supervisor will remind coaches, by having them sign the OBA score-sheet and provide reminder of the Zero Tolerance Policy on challenging the decisions of game officials or making abusive comments.  

Coaches are reminded that they may ask for clarification on rules at stoppages in play, but under no circumstances are they to yell, call out, or question officials during the game. Coaches are to be courteous when making requests for clarification, while sarcasm or angry tones are not acceptable. Coaches are to advise their players of the Zero Tolerance Policy. Coaches are also required to remind spectators supporting them of the team’s responsibility to adhering to the rules of Ontario Basketball and not to disrespect or criticize officials, for any reason.

Note: If a coach or player receives two (2) direct technical fouls (contrary to the Zero Tolerance Policy) during a game, the penalties are as follows:

  • Learn to Train (U10 to U12): If a coach receives two (2) direct technical fouls, they are ejected from the game and duration of the Ontario Basketball sanctioned event.**
  • Train to Train (U13 to U19): If a coach receives two (2) direct technical fouls, they are ejected from the game and one (1) more game.

**The concept here is that coaches should not be receiving two (2) direct technical fouls during a game for any reason. Any type of behaviour that is displayed before our younger and most impressionable athletes should not be rewarded by returning during that tournament.

2. When a player or coach disrespects an official’s decision, a direct technical foul will be called.

The site convenor will be asked by game officials to eject a player or coach whose actions warrant this penalty. If a team is assessed a third direct technical foul for abuse the game will played to its conclusion but the team that has been assessed the three direct technical fouls will forfeit the game.

Note: The aforementioned does not limit the official’s right to forfeit the game during playing time if the conditions warrant it.

Indirect technical fouls that are called but do not involve the abuse of an official (ex: too many players on the court, uniform violation, score-sheet infraction) will not count toward the Zero Tolerance Policy and the official’s decision to call the game.

3. If a spectator disrespects or harasses an official, a technical foul may be called on the team that they support.

The site convenor will be asked by game officials to eject a spectator whose actions warrant this penalty. If the offending spectator refuses to leave, the site convenor will advise the coach of the team of which the spectator is supporting that his/her team will forfeit the game if the spectator does not leave. Coaches are asked to remind parents that any further outbursts from that team’s spectators may result in the team forfeiting the game.

4. Officials shall write-up an incident report of any forfeited game.

The Ontario Basketball Disciplinary Committee will review this report and may decide on any additional action that might be required.

5. If a spectator, coach or player harasses an OBA Official / Site Supervisor, the incident will be reported to the OBA Executive Director and OBA Fair Play Committee.

If the harassment occurs before, during or after a game, the OBA Official / Site Supervisor has the discretion to immediately eject the spectator, player or coach. If the person delays or refuses to leave, the OBA Official / Site Supervisor will advise the coach that his or her team will forfeit if they cannot get the person to leave. Coaches are asked to remind parents and spectators that any further outbursts will result in their team forfeiting the game.

In the event you have a concern about an OBA Official / Site Supervisor please report the incident to the OBA Fair Play Committee following their procedures.


Note: All OBA Policies and Procedures are available online, including the Harassment Policy.


Reviewed October 20, 2021 by Ontario Basketball Board of Directors
Approved November 6, 2014 by Ontario Basketball Board of Directors