As usual, the NCAA has released the rules document for this upcoming basketball season. It contains several rules changes for the upcoming years that college basketball fans will absolutely want to be aware of.
Some of them are fairly harmless. I don’t think we need to know, for example, that “The officials’ uniform shall be a black and white striped shirt that may have a 3-inch-wide black insert, and black pants.” Also because it isn’t that different from how things already are.
There are some significant changes, though, and we want to make sure that we know what to watch for. Let’s take a look at what the NCAA has done.
1) Establishing Legal Guarding Position – (Rule 4-17.4.d). When the opponent with the ball is airborne, the guard shall have attained legal guarding position before the opponent begins his upward motion with his hand/arms to shoot or pass.
This is going to change the way that charging and blocking fouls are looked at and will absolutely be a factor in games. The defender now has to be set before the player starts to ascend, much earlier than in the past. We’ll see calls on this a lot early on as teams adjust to this change. I’ve seen fans elsewhere compare this to the NBA’s positioning rules. The college game is now much more similar in that regard.
2) Violations- Goaltending. (Rule 9-17.5). When the ball contacts the backboard and any part of the ball is above the rim on a field goal attempt, it is considered to be on its downward flight. In such case, it is goaltending when the ball is touched by a player as long as it has a possibility of entering the basket.
Now the whole ball does not have to be above the rim. I’m not sure I understand the logic of this change on part of the NCAA rules committee, but there it is.
3) Personal foul- elbow. (Rule10-1.14.c). Illegal contact caused by the swinging of the elbow(s) that occurs above or below the shoulders of an opponent is a common, flagrant 1 or flagrant 2 personal foul. Such contact no longer requires a minimum of a flagrant 1 personal foul when it occurs above the shoulders of an opponent.
This gives the officials much more flexibility in this regard. On several occasions, the flagrant 1 for something incidental has been seen as an issue, so now it doesn’t have to be that way. Good job by the NCAA here.
4) Monitor Review- Fouls. (Rules 11-2.1.d.1 and .2) When a foul has been called on the floor, a monitor review is permitted to determine if a flagrant 2 personal or flagrant 2 contact technical foul occurred. When it is determined that no such foul occurred but that a flagrant 1, common or contact dead ball technical did occur, that foul shall be penalized accordingly. When the review discloses, by indisputable evidence, that there was no foul committed, the foul call shall be reversed with no foul charged. In situations where officials fail to make a call on the floor, officials are permitted to review for a flagrant 2 personal or flagrant 2 contact technical foul, and when no such foul(s) occurred, a flagrant 1 personal may be charged or no foul charged, but common foul may not be charged.
A lot of words, but this basically gives officials a lot more flexibility in terms of how those fouls are assessed and gives them the opportunity to evaluate and change things when the wrong call was made on the court. They didn’t have this ability before and human error led to some questionable calls.
5) Monitor Review- Player to be charged with foul. (Rule 11-2.1.d.5) After a foul has been called, officials may use the monitor to determine on whom a foul is to be charged when there is uncertainty.
In the past, they could only review the foulee, not the fouler. This is logical.
6) Monitor Review- Shot clock violation. (Rule 11-2.1.e.1) In the last two minutes of the second period and overtime(s), officials may use the monitor to determine whether a shot clock violation occurred.
I’m torn here. The last two minutes of the game already take forever. Of course this won’t occur constantly, but it is one more thing that can make everyone’s least favorite time in the game take even longer. That said, I understand the NCAA’s logic even if I don’t like it entirely.
7) Monitor Review- Out of bounds violation. (Rule 11-2.1.e.2) In the last two minutes of the second period and overtime(s), officials may use the monitor to determine which team caused the ball to go out of bounds when there is a deflection involving two or more players.
Same deal as the last one – more replay expansion. In addition to echoing my thoughts from number six above, I also have to say that replay is a double edged sword. Too many things are happening in sports to center the game around the officials, and I’m not a fan of that. The NCAA is definitely giving officials the tools needed to make the right calls, but at what cost?
8) Official’s Duties- 10-second back court count. (Rule 2-7.9) There will be no visible count on a 10-second back court violation unless there is no shot clock available. Officials will use the shot clock to count for a 10-second back court violation, except when the shot clock has been turned off at the end of each period.
As the fan of a team who is willing to use the full court press, I really like this. As we all have seen officials count to ten so… sloooowly… Finally there will be an accurate count, and everybody everywhere will know if someone is bending the rules.
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I’m incredibly skeptical about the expansion of instant replay. I think that it could make these games a chore at times when it is already difficult to watch. Basketball already comes to a dead stop during the last three to four minutes, which end up taking as long to play out as the prior 16 – 17 minutes, and this is going to be worse now. I like the desire to get the call right, but I don’t think that this is the way to do it.
I’m a fan of the change to charges, though of course we’ll have to see how that manifests. The new rules regarding the ten second count makes all the sense in the world.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the NCAA wants to get more picky about hand checks. This isn’t a change, but rather a focus on existing rules. We’re going to see a lot more fouls, especially early.
Finally, I don’t entirely get why the NCAA chose to modify goaltending in this way. The new rule isn’t particularly clearer than the old. It could be interpreted that the ball is in downward flight now even as it goes upward, if it hits the backboard in the right way. This could be confusing.
Regardless, there you have it! Feel free to sound off – what do you think about these rules? The expansion of instant replay?
And for fans who would like to check out the full document, have a look right here. Changes are on pages 4 – 6 (of the booklet, not the PDF)