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I was watching a local college basketball game last night (SSAC) and saw something I really don’t understand, so I thought I would do some research. I’ve come up empty so far.

The opposing team was inbounding the ball along the baseline of the home team. The inbounding player was standing to the left of the goal, about midway between the goal and the sideline. Another team member moved outside the baseline on the other side of the goal, received the “inbound” pass and dribbled onto the court. It was not called as out of bounds and play continued normally.

Was this a legal move or did the referee just miss the call?

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If this was a throw-in after the opponent scored, yes, the player that receives the throw-in can be out of bounds behind the endline, with the caveat that the 5-second limit still applies and so the receiver must bring the ball in bounds within that time limit.

NBA Rule 8, in Section III, part c says

After a score, field goal or free throw, the latter coming as the result of a personal foul, any player of the team not credited with the score shall put the ball into play from any point out-of-bounds at the endline of the court where the point(s) were scored. He may pass the ball to a teammate behind the endline; however, the five-second throw-in rule applies.

with emphasis added

The equivalent NCAA rule is 7-4-6-b.

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  • Your citation says nothing about the second player who received the pass out-of-bounds being allowed to dribble the ball inbounds. It says the "five-second throw-in rule applies", which means that the second player must still throw the ball in. Feb 28 at 6:24
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Another team member moved outside the baseline on the other side of the goal, received the “inbound” pass and dribbled onto the court.

This is illegal.

Take a look at this video. You will see the following:

  1. A Georgia Tech player makes a 3-pointer with 11.7 seconds remaining in the second half.
  2. A UConn player goes out of bounds, and picks up the ball to inbound it.
  3. A second UConn player runs out of bounds.
  4. The first UConn player passes the ball to the second UConn player, who is still out of bounds.
  5. The second UConn player lifts his pivot foot, and then that foot comes down and touches the ground, and then he passes the ball inbounds.

It if was legal for the second player to receive the inbounds pass while out of bounds and then dribble the ball inbounds, then traveling rules are in play, and the second UConn player committed a traveling violation by lifting his pivot foot and returning it to the ground before passing the ball.

But what the second UConn player did was not a traveling violation, because all players on the inbounding team who are out of bounds on an inbounds play are allowed to run the baseline with the ball (assuming the other team had just scored). They must pass the ball to a teammate who is inbounds. None of them can just start dribbling from out of bounds to in bounds.

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According to NCAA rule 7-4.6.b the ball MUST be passed inbounds. The pass along the baseline is legal but the player may NOT dribble the ball inbounds. The pass must be made from out of bounds to inbounds within the 5-second limit. The referee missed the call if the receiving player dribbled the ball from out of bounds.

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    The rule you quote says nothing of the kind; the ball may be passed behind the end line, with the throw-in count continuing. What you should reference is rule 7.9.a: "Art. 9. Until the throw-in ball crosses the plane of the sideline or end line: The thrower-in may not touch the ball until it touches another player inbounds".
    – Nij
    Jan 30 '19 at 0:06

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