In NCAA basketball, there are media timeouts at the first whistle after the 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00 minute marks of each half.

What happens if there is no whistle from the four minute mark until the half-time or final buzzer? It almost happened in this game here:

MISSED 3 PTR by Jones, Johnathon                00:09
REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)                         00:09
TIMEOUT MEDIA                                   00:08
GOOD! JUMPER by Waterstradt, Dan                00:06  34-42  V 8
ASSIST by Cushingberry, Blake                   00:06


What would have happened if there was no whistle at 0:08?

  • 3
    The TV stations would go bankrupt! :) – Marcus Swope Feb 16 '12 at 19:25
  • I think this question is more about the broadcast then the sport. – Dynamic Feb 16 '12 at 20:18
  • @Jae there are other qualifying criteria, but the most straightforward is that because media timeouts are part of the official rules of the NBA, it qualifies as an on topic question. – corsiKa Feb 16 '12 at 20:24
  • 3
    @Jae This is a rules question, as the media timeouts are written into the NCAA rules, whether or not the game is on TV or radio. – TheGeneral Feb 16 '12 at 21:08
  • Did I say NBA? I meant NCAA. I think they're written into NBA too. – corsiKa Feb 16 '12 at 21:21

I am unaware of any game in which this actually happened, but this is my interpretation of the rules:

  1. By rule 5, section 13, the media timeouts take place "at the first dead ball" after the 16, 12, 8, and 4-minute marks (or 15, 10, and 5-minute marks, depending on the agreement, but this is rare).

  2. By rule 6, section 5:

    The ball shall become dead or remain dead when:
    e. Time expires for a half or extra period.

Therefore, if there were no stoppages of play in the last four minutes, there would be a media timeout immediately preceding halftime.

This would be consistent with other timeout rules; it is, in fact, legal to call a timeout during halftime or between the second half and overtime (though two successive timeouts cannot be called during such break periods; see Approved Ruling 161 in the 2012 Case Book).

As a side note, if there were no stoppages in play between the 9:00 and 3:30 mark and a player is fouled in the act of shooting, the 8 minute timeout would occur before the first free throw and the 4 minute timeout would occur at the next dead ball, which is before the second free throw (AR 159).

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