It was expected to happen, and it did happen.
The national committees for men’s and women’s college basketball approved significant rule changes on Monday. Beginning this year, the men’s game will revert to a 30-second shot clock while the women’s game will move to four 10-minute quarters per game instead of two 20-minute halves.
The changes, including other minor adjustments to timeouts and resumption of play, came after a severe decline in viewers of college basketball. Attendance and TV ratings have fallen, along with scoring averages – combined with the trend of the game rewarding physicality over artistry, the NCAA decided to address the issues during the offseason.
In an effort to make the game more exciting and generate more offense, the shot clock was cut from 35 to 30 seconds. The charge circle in the lane has been widened from 3 feet to 4 feet, giving offensive players another advantage. A reduction in timeouts per game (five to four) and an emphasis on allowing more freedom of movement are all being implemented to boost scoring.
Some coaches are in favor of the switches. Some, such as South Carolina’s Frank Martin, are not.
“It’s only 35 seconds to 30 seconds, so that’s not going to be that big a deal,” Martin said. “But people who say that’s going to increase scoring are completely out of their minds.”
Martin’s points – which he has declared many times during last season and on Twitter during the offseason – are that changes are being made to reward the teams with the most pro-ready players. The beauty of college basketball is that in the NCAA Tournament, an eight-seed can beat a one-seed any time. That kind of upset hardly ever happens in the NBA.
“The more you shorten the shot clock, the teams have experience, that means they understand how to play,” Martin said. “The teams that have the one-and-dones, it’s going to basically make sure that those teams are the only ones that have the chances of winning.
“It’s going to be a jump-shooting game, and a contested jump-shooting game. Because you can’t go in the paint.”
As for Martin’s particular style of play, it won’t change much. He doesn’t like the rules being tweaked to favor offense, but he won’t have to change his offense.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a shot-clock violation in eight years of me being a head coach,” he said. “I believe in playing fast, so it’s not going to be a problem for us.”
▪ Shot clock will be set to 30 seconds (down from 35).
▪ Teams have four timeouts per game (down from five). Three can be carried over to the second half.
▪ Officials will focus on resuming play quickly after a timeout and can issue a warning, then a one-shot technical foul after subsequent violations.
▪ A timeout called within 30 seconds of a break or at any time after the scheduled media timeout becomes the media timeout.
▪ Coaches can not call a timeout when the ball is in play.
▪ If a player is disqualified, coaches have 15 seconds to replace him (down from 20).
▪ The charge circle in the lane has been widened to 4 feet (up from 3).
▪ Officials can replay flagrant fouls and penalize players who are judged to be faking injuries.
▪ Officials can use replay to review potential shot-clock violations throughout entire game.
▪ Class B technical fouls (i.e. hanging on the rim, delaying resumption of play) are one-shot technical fouls (down from two).
▪ The 5-second closely guarded rule has been eliminated.
▪ No more prohibition on dunking in pregame or halftime warm-ups.
▪ The 2016 NIT, CBI and CIT tournaments will experiment with giving each player six personal fouls (up from five).
▪ The game will be divided into four 10-minute quarters (was two 20-minute halves).
▪ Teams will reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth foul of each quarter (was a one-and-one on the seventh foul, and two shots on the 10th). Team fouls resort to zero at the start of each quarter, but if a team is in the bonus in the fourth quarter, it will remain in the bonus for any overtime period.
▪ Teams will be able to advance the ball to the frontcourt following a timeout immediately after a made basket in the last 59.9 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. Teams can advance the ball to the frontcourt after securing a rebound or a turnover. The ball would be inbounded at the 28-foot mark on the side of the court with the scorer’s table.
▪ On the 10-second backcourt rule: A team will not be subject to the 10-second call if the ball is deflected out of bounds by the defense; there is a held ball with the arrow favoring the team with the ball; or a technical foul is called on the team with the ball while the ball is in the backcourt.
▪ Defenders may place a forearm or an open hand with a bend in the elbow on an offensive post player with the ball who has her back to the basket.
▪ School bands or amplified public-address music may be played during any dead-ball situation (was only during timeouts or halftime).