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Throwback Thursday: In 1929, Basketball Teams Experiment Eliminating Tip-Off

This week in the year the stock market crashed, teams across the Northeast decided to pursue an experiment to get rid of the tip-off at center court after each basket. In the past, players met in the center for a jump ball after each basket, which gave advantage to taller players or players who were better jumpers. With the new rule, instead, teams experimented giving alternate free passes from the sideline at center-court.

Other reasons in favor of eliminating the jump balls included the violent physicality tip-offs used to involve, the inconsistency in the toss made by the official and the frequent violations made and injuries incurred in the action.

Today, of course, after a basket, the ball returns to play through a pass-in for the team that gave up the basket, from the enplane below the basket that team is defending. The first time the tip-off at center was eliminated was in the season-opening game between Colgate and Hobart and William Smith, but Cornell would be included in the experiment as well.


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