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PROP approves rules changes for men’s and women’s basketball

By Greg Johnson

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which met via conference call June 24, approved a change to how block/charge calls will be made in men’s basketball and added a 10-second backcourt rule in women’s basketball, effective for the 2013-14 season.

Panel members also approved rules changes in the sports of wrestling and swimming & diving, as well as modifications in rifle, which uses the USA Shooting and Rules Regulations.

Under the revised block/charge call in men’s basketball, 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.

Previously, a defender had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player lifted off the floor.

The Men’s Basketball Rules Committee believes this will give officials more time to determine block/charge calls. Committee members also believe the tweak to the block/charge rule will:

  • Allow for more offensive freedom;
  • Provide clarity for officials in making this difficult call; and
  • Enhance the balance between offense and defense.

In Division I games last season, the average amount of points scored in games was 67.5. This is the lowest amount 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.

With these facts in mind, much of the committee’s discussion in May focused on ways to open up the game.  To that end, it will be stressed to officials that they must address the current rules throughout the game. The following types of personal fouls should be called consistently:

  • When a defensive player keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent;
  • When a defensive player puts two hands on an opponent;
  • When a defensive player continually jabs by extending his arm(s) and placing a hand or forearm on the opponent;
  • When a player uses an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent.

Women’s basketball 10-second rule

The 10-second rule in the backcourt will be implemented 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. The 10-second back court count begins when a player on the floor legally touches the ball.

The Women’s Basketball Rules Committee believes 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 did not have a backcourt rule in place.

The five-second closely guarded rule in the backcourt is now eliminated from the rules book.

The closely guarded rule in the frontcourt remains, however it has been changed to read, “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.

Monitor reviews

In men’s and women’s basketball, the panel approved monitor reviews in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime so officials can look to see if a shot clock violation occurred and to determine who caused the ball to go out of bounds on a deflection involving two or more players.

Additionally, it was approved that when officials have a question as 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 four minutes of the game and the entire overtime, officials will go to the monitor immediately to look for indisputable evidence as to how many points should be awarded for a field goal.

In both men’s and women’s basketball, the use of the monitor was approved to determine which player committed a foul when there is uncertainty after a call has been made. Previously, officials were only permitted to use the monitor to determine the free-throw shooter.

Elbow rules

In men’s and women’s basketball, panel members approved a tweak to the rules regarding elbow contact above the shoulders.

 In these circumstances, officials may use the monitor to determine if a flagrant foul has been committed.

Officials will 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.

In a flagrant 1 situation, the player who was struck is awarded two free throws and his or her 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.

 The men’s and women’s basketball committees felt the original intent of the elbow rules have caused too many flagrant fouls being called when they weren’t appropriate. The intent of the elbow rule has always been to protect players and eliminate the rip move where players were making contact above the shoulders of defenders.

By allowing officials to review these plays on the monitor, both committees believe it will eliminate the non-deserving flagrant 1 fouls in particular.

Women’s basketball media timeouts

When a team-called timeout occurs within or up to 30 seconds of the scheduled media timeout (first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks), it becomes the subsequent media timeout with the exception of the first team-called 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.

This will eliminate consecutive timeout stoppages in play.

Women’s Basketball: Lower-defensive box added to the restricted-area rule

In women’s basketball only, the panel approved a revision to 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 and the restricted area is not in effect.

■ Wrestling

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved making the mat-side video review rule an option for use beginning in the 2013-14 season.

There will be no mat-side video review for open tournaments.  

Wrestlers will be allowed to go to their respective corner while the review is taking place.

The process was in place last season as an experimental rule. Wrestlers were required to remain in the center of the wrestling area while the referee conducted the review.

Coaches wishing to challenge a call/non-call via video review must immediately go to the head scorer at the mat-side table and declare they are making a challenge. The referee will conduct the review when there is no significant action after the request has been made.

The number of coaches’ challenges will also be changed in tournament competition. A coach who has seven to 10 wrestlers competing will start with three challenges available; a coach with four to six wrestlers in a tournament will start with two challenges; and a coach with one to three wrestlers participating will have one challenge.

Previously in tournaments, coaches were allowed three video challenges regardless of how many wrestlers they had competing.

Coaches will still have only one challenge available during dual matches. In all cases, the coach retains the challenge when an outcome is ruled positively.

Additionally, falls remain the only exception to a coach’s video challenge.

The referee can call for a video review at any time. To alleviate any financial impact of the video review, the match referees are the only individuals who will review the call.

At the 2013 Division I Wrestling Championships, coaches made 51 challenges. Thirty-eight of the calls were upheld, 10 were reversed, two were inconclusive and one was a deemed a video error. The average time per review was one minute and nine seconds.

Mat area

The panel approved a change that the matted apron around the wrestling area must extend at least five feet between out-of-bounds lines when two mats are side-by-side. Additionally, the apron must extend at least five feet from the out-of-bounds line and any obstruction such as a table, bleachers or wall.

Previously, it was recommended that the apron extend 5 feet, but the committee wants to make it a requirement to enhance student-athlete safety.

Edge of wrestling area

In a progression of the rule that allows wrestlers to score takedowns on the edge of the wrestling area, it was approved that near-falls and pins can occur as long as any part of either wrestler remains inbounds.

In recent years, a rules change was invoked in regards to takedowns in that area of the mat, and the Wrestling Rules Committee believes expanding the rule to include more ways to score points will enhance the sport.

In addition, the committee developed a point of emphasis for referees to be quicker to call a stalemate when neither wrestler is improving position.

Reaction-time takedowns

Panel members approved a rule allowing a more liberal definition for takedowns when wrestlers are in neutral positions.

If the defensive wrestler’s hand comes in contact with the mat, it is considered control and a takedown should be awarded.

Previously, it was the referee’s judgment on whether there was a significant portion of the defensive wrestler’s weight borne on his hand/hands in order for control to be established.

This change makes this call clearer for the referee.

Stalling

The panel approved a separate section in the penalty table that addresses stalling and to add disqualification back into the sequence.

The first stalling violation results in a warning; additional violations are 1 point, 1 point, 1 point, then disqualification.

■ Swimming and diving

The panel approved a recommendation that all dual, double-dual, triangular, and quadrangular meets have a minimum of two, three or four officials to properly observe all competitors equally and enforce playing rules for the 2013-14 season. This is a recommendation and not a mandate.

Additionally, panel members approved the recommendation that all non-NCAA championship and invitational meets have at least six officials.

Members of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Rules Committee said that some regular-season meets were being conducted with only one official. Committee members believe it is difficult for one official to accurately see everything he/she needs to observe during a meet.

Committee members believe that funding could be why some meets have been conducted with one official.

While two has been set as the minimum, committee members discussed the fact that even for dual meets, three or four officials is more ideal. For example, a meet could have a starter, another official posted at the 15-meter mark where swimmers are surfacing and another official could be posted on the other end of the pool to make sure everyone is following the rules in terms of turns and relay exchanges.

The rationale for recommending a minimum of six officials at non-NCAA championship meets centers on workload concerns.

Other swimming and diving rules changes:

  • All heats will become eligible to be scored in double dual, triangular and quadrangular meets. These changes reflect expanded opportunities for entries and scoring.
  • Expanded the use of video review to evaluate the accuracy of relay judging equipment; this includes video review on all take-offs where both human officials and recording devices are used opposite of the electronic equipment.
  • Approved the certification of the FINA Short Course World Championships, which is held every two years in even numbered years, to count as a bona fide competition that can be used for NCAA qualifying purposes provided a student-athlete is eligible to represent his team at the time of the World Championships.

■ Rifle modifications

Panel members approved modifications in rifle in regard to tiebreaking procedures in individual events.

For discipline team events (i.e., smallbore or air rifle), ties will be decided by the center count of the four counting team members making up the score.

If a tie remains, the score of the fifth person on the team will break the tie. If the tie is still not broken, the center count of the fifth team member will break the tie.

If tie still remains, it will be broken by counting back the combined score in each ten shot series from the four counting scores beginning with the last series.

For aggregate team scores, ties first will be decided by the center count of the eight counting team scores.