The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee has proposed several changes to improve the game. Some of these changes are simply catching up with the current game, while others are based on trial runs during the NIT this past year.
Before any of these rules are put into place, the Playing Rules Oversight Panel would need to approve the proposals at their June 5th meeting. In the meantime, the rest of us can argue the merits of each rule change.
For starters, let’s talk about the proposed goal-tending and basket interference change. In the current proposal, referees will be able to review calls concerning basket interference during the last two minutes of regulation and overtime. Does that mean they can make the call after a review, or that they can only review it if a violation is called? That isn’t clear yet, but either way would be an improvement.
That one hits close to home, of course, as Kentucky lost to LSU on a very controversial last second basket that certainly appeared to be basket interference. Since they changed the shot clock violation review rules after Kentucky got jobbed, it only makes sense that they make this change as well.
Another major change could alter the way the shot clock operates. Currently, if a shot hits the rim, the shot clock is reset to 30 seconds, no matter who brings down the rebound. Under the new proposed rule, an offensive rebound would result in a 20 second shot clock. This would certainly pick up the pace of play, which is really in the best interest of the game for all fans.
Somewhat of a minor rule change, one proposal would allow head coaches to call a live-ball timeout during the last two minutes of regulation or overtime. They currently cannot call a live-ball timeout at any point, which I really like. However, I do not think this rule would impact the game as much as the other changes.
One proposal is less about basketball and more about player interactions. This new rule would allow the officials to issue a flagrant 2 foul and eject a player for using derogatory language regarding an opponent’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. While I agree with harsher penalties for hate speech in general, I feel there is a lot of room for interpretation here that could cause some controversy.
The biggest change, of course, would be if the panel approves the proposal to extend the three-point line. The proposal is to move the three-point line back to the distance used in international competition, 22 feet, 1¾ inches. That is nearly 18 inches longer than the current distance of 20 feet, 9 inches.
In addition to testing this distance change during the NIT, the committee cited several reasons for this proposal.
- Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
- Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
- Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.
During the NIT, players shot 33% from behind the arc, compared to 35.2% for the regular season. Could that be solely because of the distance? Maybe. But you also have to factor in the fact that these were not NCAA Tournament teams, so theoretically they did not have as many talented shooters anyway.
I am all for all of these changes, personally. All of the proposals would improve the game, with only minor drawbacks. I would be especially excited to see the spacing created by the extended three-point line.
What do you think of these proposed rule changes?