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Publish date: May 9, 2013

Men’s basketball rules committee tweaks block/charge, 
Women’s committee adds 10-second backcourt rule

By Greg Johnson

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee recommended a significant focus on freedom of movement and a change to how block/charge calls will be made, and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee recommended adding a 10-second backcourt rule during their respective annual meetings Monday-Thursday in Indianapolis.

All proposed rules changes by the committees must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which next convenes via conference call June 18, before becoming effective for the 2013-14 season.

The men’s committee focused much of its discussions on attempting to open the game.

“We talked a lot about the rules that are currently in place and ultimately believe a focused effort on calling the rules as written will have an immediate and significant impact,” said John Dunne, chair of the committee and head coach at Saint Peter’s.

For what is believed to be the first time, the committee met with the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors and Division I Men’s Basketball Committee to share concepts and opinions.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to get some feedback and ultimately, particularly from the coaches, the emphasis was to call the rules that are already in the book,” Dunne said.

In regard to the block/charge call in men’s basketball, the committee is proposing that a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul.

The current rule calls for a defender to be in legal guarding position before the offensive player lifts off the floor.

Committee members believe this will give officials more time to determine block/charge calls. Committee members also believe the tweak to the block/charge rule will:

In Division I games last season, the average amount of points scored in games was 67.5. This is the lowest scoring average since the 1981-82 season when teams averaged 67.6 points per game. The points-per-game average has also dipped in each of the last four seasons at the Division I level.

To curtail the impeding progress of a player, it will be stressed to officials that they must address these rules throughout the game.

The committee wants the following types of personal fouls be called consistently throughout the game:


Women’s 10-second backcourt rule

In women’s basketball, committee members added the 10-second rule in the backcourt for the first time since the NCAA began administering women’s championships in 1981-82.

Previously, teams could take as much time off the 30-second shot clock as they wanted before crossing the mid-court line.

Officials will use the shot clock to determine if a 10-second violation has occurred.

Committee members believe adding the 10-second rule it will increase the tempo of the game and create more offensive scoring opportunities.

NCAA women’s basketball is the only level in the sport throughout the world that does not have a backcourt rule in place.

If this rule is adopted by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, the committee is also recommended that the closely guarded rule in the backcourt be eliminated from the rules book.

The closely guarded rule in the frontcourt would read that a player holding the ball for five seconds with a defender not exceeding six feet will be a violation. Previously, the defender had to be within three feet of the offensive player with the ball to force a five-second violation.

“Given feedback from stakeholders through the years, this is the right time to approve the rule,” said Barbara Burke, women’s basketball rules committee chair and director of athletics at Eastern Illinois. “Overall, we discussed pace of play, creating scoring opportunities and flow of the game. Adding the 10-second backcourt rule adds another element of strategy, and this rule fits into the concepts of growing the game.”


Monitor reviews

In men’s and women’s basketball, the committee recommended that in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime officials can go to the monitor to review a shot clock violation and to determine who caused the ball to go out of bounds on a deflection involving two or more players.

Additionally, it was recommended that when officials have a question to whether a shot was 2-point or a 3-point field goal, they will be allowed to signal to the scorer’s table that the play will be reviewed during the next media timeout. The Big Ten Conference successfully experimented with this rule during the season in 2012-13.

In the last 4 minutes of the game and the entire overtime, officials will go to monitor immediately to look for indisputable evidence as to how many points should be awarded for a field goal.

Both committees approved the use of the monitor to determine the fouler when there is uncertainty after a call has been made. Currently, officials have only been permitted to determine the free throw shooter using the monitor.


Elbow rules

In men’s and women’s basketball, if a foul was called for elbow contact above the shoulders, the monitor may be used to determine if a flagrant foul has been committed.

In this scenario, the official may determine if the contact was a flagrant 2, flagrant 1, common foul or no call. When the officials use the monitor to review a situation that is not called on the floor, the only options are flagrant 2, flagrant 1 or no foul.

“The intent of the elbow rule has always been to protect the student-athletes and eliminate the rip move in men’s basketball,” Dunne said. “There was a strong feeling in the men’s community that some other types of elbow contact didn’t deserve a flagrant 1, so we are allowing the limited use of the monitor to appropriately manage this play.”

In a flagrant 1 situation, the player who was struck is awarded two free throws and his team gets possession of the ball.

In a flagrant 2 situation, free throws and possession are awarded and the player who threw the elbow is ejected from the game.


Women’s media timeouts

When a team-called timeout occurs within 30 seconds prior to the scheduled media timeout (first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks), it will become that media timeout with the exception of the first called team timeout in the second half.

For example, when Team A calls a timeout at 16:02 in the first half, there will not be another timeout at the first dead ball under the 16-minute mark.

Committee members want to eliminate consecutive timeout stoppages in play.


Lower-defensive box added to the restricted-area rule

In women’s basketball, the committee revised the restricted area rule in the lower defensive box (the area on the court that starts at the second free-throw lane space to the three-foot area outside the lane to the baseline).

When a player with the ball starts outside the lower defensive box area, a secondary defender must be outside the restricted area to draw a charge.

When a player with the ball starts her move from inside the lower defensive box area, a secondary defender can draw a charge the restricted area is not in effect.

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