On Friday, the NCAA released approved rules proposals for both men's and women's basketball. Both sets of proposals are just that and will need to be officially approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will vote on them on June 8. I would have to imagine that the Oversight Panel's vote is largely a formality, but for the time being, these changes are not official.
The biggest change on the men's side is shortening the shot clock from the current 35 seconds down to 30 seconds. A quick Google search will gather up opinions on either side of that issue, but I'll say this: Shortening the clock is not going to make the Wisconsins and Virginias of the world shoot the ball earlier in the possession. They'll now just have five fewer seconds, which ultimately won't really speed their games up all that much.
Also a highlight for the men's game is the timeout reform. Two of the five team timeouts will now be first half "use it or lose it" timeouts, leaving teams with just three timeouts after halftime. On top of that, called timeouts close to the scheduled media timeouts now turn into the media timeout and coaches can't call timeout while the ball is live. At all. Ever.
It doesn't quite qualify as "timeout reform," but I do like the adjustment of "only 10 seconds in the backcourt." If you're on defense and you're trapping and you tip it out of bounds six seconds into the shot clock, you get rewarded as the offensive team now only has four seconds to get it across mid-court instead of a fresh 10 seconds.
Here's the full list of recommended men's changes, as written in the NCAA's press release:
The key areas the committee will focus on in the upcoming season are:
• Perimeter defense, particularly on the dribbler and strictly enforcing the directives put in the book before the 2013-14 season.
• Physicality in post play.
• Screening, particularly moving screens and requiring that the screener be stationary.
• Block/charge plays.
• Allowing greater freedom of movement for players without the ball.
As it did in the 2013-14 season, the committee is formalizing in the rulebook several officiating guidelines dealing with screening and post play, making those items fouls and not just guidelines.
"We had some success with perimeter defense and believe upgrading these guidelines to be clear rules will significantly impact enforcement," [Belmont head coach and rules committee chairman Rick] Byrd said. "Without question, this will require an adjustment period for everyone in the game and it is likely to be difficult at times. If we strictly enforce these rules consistently, we believe players and coaches will adjust and the game will be much better in the future."
To continue the focus on reducing the number of collisions at the basket, the committee approved the expansion of the restricted area arc from the current 3 feet to 4 feet. This arc would be effective in 2015-16 for Division I and 2016-17 for Divisions II and III.
Games in the 2015 Postseason NIT were played with the 4-foot arc on an experimental basis.
When compared to the 2013 NIT (which had the same block/charge standards as the 2015 event), the number of block/charge plays decreased from 2.77 to 1.96. The restricted-area arc rule was put in college basketball to reduce the number of collisions around the rim.
Pace of Play
With an eye on reducing inaction and improving pace of play, the committee approved several proposals. The most significant of the changes is to reduce the shot clock to 30 seconds. The shot clock period was last reduced for the 1993-94 season when the clock was reduced from 45 seconds to 35.
The committee also voted to remove one team timeout in the second half and strictly focus on resuming play more quickly after a timeout, which would now include a delay of game warning when a team does not comply and a one-shot technical foul on subsequent violations.
"Overall, there is a belief that finding ways to improve the pace of play is needed," Byrd said. "This is one way to help accomplish that goal."
The rest of the package to improve the pace of play includes:
• Adjusting the media timeout procedures to allow a timeout called within 30 seconds of a break (e.g., 16:30) or at any time after the scheduled media timeout becomes the media timeout.
• Removing the ability for a coach to call timeout when the ball is live.
• Allowing only a total of 10 seconds to advance the ball to the front court (with a few exceptions).
• Reducing the amount of time available to replace a disqualified player.
"Another concern has been the flow of the game and the amount of stoppages in play," [president of the NABC and Georgia State head coach Ron] Hunter said. "The elimination of a 30-second timeout in the second half as well as the possibility of a technical foul for any unnecessary delays should help in that area."
The committee discussed the growing issue of players attempting to draw fouls by deceiving officials. The committee proposed a rule that would allow officials to penalize faking fouls during the use of video to review a possible flagrant foul.
Other proposals approved by the committee include:
• Allowing officials to use the monitor to review a potential shot clock violation on made field goals throughout the entire game.
• Making Class B technical fouls (e.g., hanging on the rim, delaying the resumption of play, etc.) one-shot technical fouls. Two shots are now granted for these types of technical fouls.
• Eliminating the five-second closely guarded rule while dribbling the ball.
• Removing the prohibition on dunking in pregame warmups.
The women's game is set to make massive sweeping changes for the 2015-16 season. The most obvious change is switching the game to four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minutes halves. This causes all kinds of adjustments to how team fouls are counted, how timeouts are distributed, and how media timeouts are scheduled, and I'll let you scroll down to check that out in a moment. The highlight of all of it is that teams will have just four timeouts for the whole game, and only two of them will be available in the second half.
Again: TWO timeouts for the whole second half. Hopefully this works out wonderfully and the men's game adopts this idea quickly.
The other major change is advancement of the ball in the final minute. If a team calls timeout after their opponent makes a basket or immediately after rebounding or stealing the ball while on defense, the ball advances to their offensive end. I love every single thing about this proposed change.
I'm also a fan of allowing pep bands to start playing literally any time the ball goes out of bounds, but I'm also a big pep band nerd.
Here's the full list of proposed changes for the women's game, again as written in the NCAA release:
If approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, the four-quarter format will bring other changes to the game:
• Teams would reach the bonus to shoot two free throws on the fifth team foul in each quarter. In the current format, teams reach a one-and-one bonus on the seventh team foul of each half and reach the double bonus (two shots) on the 10th team foul.
• In the proposed four-quarter format, team fouls would be reset to zero at the start of each quarter. However, if a team reaches the bonus in the fourth quarter, that team would remain in the bonus in any additional overtime periods.
• Media timeouts in televised games would also be changed to one in each quarter. Media timeouts would occur at the first dead ball under the five-minute mark of each quarter and at the end of the first and third quarters. However, if a team calls timeout before the five-minute mark, that would be treated as the media timeout.
Media timeouts now occur at the first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, eight- and four-minute marks. So, going to quarters means two fewer stops in play.
In the proposed format, teams would have four timeouts (three 30-second timeouts and one 60-second timeout). A team may use the 60-second timeout at the discretion of the coach during the first or second half of the game. Teams would be allowed to carry over only two of those timeouts into the second half. Each team would be awarded one 30-second timeout in each overtime period, plus any unused timeouts remaining from the second half.
Under the current format, teams have five timeouts (four 30-second stoppages and one 60-second stoppage) with only four of those carrying over to the second half.
In non-televised games, teams would have five timeouts (three 30s and two 60s). Four of the timeouts would carry over to the second half.
Advancing the ball
The committee also recommended teams be allowed to advance the ball to the front court following a timeout called after made baskets in the last 59.9 seconds of the fourth quarter and any overtime periods.
Teams also would be allowed to advance the ball to the front court after securing the ball from a rebound or a change of possession and calling a timeout before any advancement of the ball (dribble or pass).
In these scenarios, the ball would be inbounded at the 28-foot mark on the side of the court where the scorer’s table is located.
Because teams would no longer be required to go the length of the court, committee members feel this change would add more excitement to offensive possessions at the end of games.
10-second backcourt exceptions
NCAA women’s basketball implemented the 10-second backcourt rule during the 2013-14 season.
For the upcoming season, the committee is proposing a team not receive a new 10-second backcourt count when a throw-in results from the following:
• The ball is deflected out of bounds by the defense.
• There is a held ball and the possession arrow favors the offensive team.
• A technical foul is called on the offensive team while the ball is in its backcourt.
The committee recommended defenders be allowed to place a forearm or an open hand with a bend in the elbow on an offensive post player with the ball whose back is to the basket.
In an effort to improve the overall fan experience, the committee recommended bands or amplified music may be played during any dead-ball situation. Current rules allow music to be played only during timeouts and intermission.