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PROP approves basketball court-surface rule

By Greg Johnson 

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Tuesday approved a rules change that requires temporary decals and logos placed on the court to be “of a consistent surface” as the rest of the floor.

The change is intended to enhance the safety of men’s and women’s basketball players. While this is a non-rules change year for the basketball, policy permits rules committees to make changes in off years if safety issues are involved.

The Men’s and Women’s Basketball Rules Committees have asked NCAA staff to work with appropriate facility managers and court manufacturers to provide resources and best practices to the membership.

The committees believe most surfaces already comply, but no rule required a consistent surface until now.

Members of both committees agreed “the playing court must be completely finished in a manner that is consistent throughout.”

The rules change does not restrict the use of decals and logos, which are permitted in other rules, but it does make clear that those marks must be similar to the rest of the court. That includes the 3-foot area outside each sideline and the 6-foot area behind the end lines.

The host game management will be responsible for ensuring the court is of a similar finish, including any logos or decals that are legally allowed on the floor. Game officials will have the authority to suspend play if the surface does not comply.


The Playing Rules Oversight Panel also heard both committees’ sportsmanship initiative that calls for more stringent adherence to officiating guidelines regarding bench decorum by coaches and bench personnel next season.

Basketball committee members believe the following behaviors hurt the image of the game and should result in a technical foul against the coach or other bench personnel:

  • Comments directed at or referring to any game official that question the integrity of an official (repeated references to the number of fouls called against each team; suggesting an official is “cheating” a team, etc.).
  • Profane, vulgar, threatening, or derogatory remarks or personal comments relating to race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation directed at or referring to any game official or opposing player/bench personnel.
  • Prolonged, negative responses to a call/no-call that are disrespectful or unprofessional, including waving or thrashing the arms in disgust, dramatizing contact by re-enacting the play, or running or jumping “in disbelief” over a call/non-call.
  • A negative response to a call/no-call that includes approaching/charging an official in a hostile, aggressive or otherwise threatening manner, emphatically removing one’s coat in response to a call/no-call, or throwing equipment or clothing on to the floor.
  • Continual criticism during a game regarding the same incident after being warned by an official.

Committee members understand there will be spontaneous reactions to calls, but the effort is intended to improve the game environment.

More men’s officiating guidance

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel also reviewed, as an informational item, rules committee discussions about officiating in the men’s game.

Committee members believe that charge/block calls in some cases were not made correctly, sometimes giving the defense an advantage.

To help address that circumstance, the committee approved guidelines to help better administer these rules:

  • Before the offensive player (with the ball) becomes airborne, the defender must have two feet on the floor, be facing the opponent and be stationary to draw a charge. Otherwise, it should be a blocking foul.
  • Secondary defenders (help defenders) moving forward or to the side are also in violation and those should be blocking fouls.
  • Contact that is “through the chest” is not de facto proof of a charge. The rule in its entirety must be considered before determining a foul.
  • In some cases, it appears a defender is being rewarded solely for being outside the arc, without considering the other aspects of the rules.

Monitor reviews

Another informational item the panel reviewed was basketball rules committee members’ discussion about the use of video replay monitors during the game.

The women’s committee discussed specific areas to monitor, such as correctable errors and technical fouls. That led to a discussion about whether monitor reviews hurt the flow of the women’s game.

Key in the discussion is whether the last few minutes of a contest merit different treatment.

The men’s committee discussed the last minute of the game as a potential area to expand the use of the monitor to get calls right. With the expanded acceptance of technology, the committee will continue to review its appropriate use.

The women’s committee also decided not to tinker with the rule that allows teams to have electronic devices such as tablets and laptops on the bench. Those are allowable in the women’s game for keeping statistics, but they cannot be used to transmit information. The men’s committee discussed that and will continue to prohibit such devices on the bench, regardless of purpose.