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Airborne shooter rule revised for men’s basketball

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel adopts a change in how officials apply the block/charge rule


The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the alteration of the airborne shooter rule in men’s basketball during a conference call Wednesday.

Starting with the 2014-15 season, defending players attempting to draw a charge are required to be in legal guarding position before the airborne player leaves the floor to pass or shoot. Additionally, the defending player is not allowed to move in any direction before contact occurs (except vertically to block a shot). If the defender isn’t in legal guarding position, officials should call a block if contact occurs.

The charge/block call is traditionally one of the toughest for officials to make during a game. This alteration returns the rule back to the way it was written in the 2012-13 rules book.

Last season, the Men’s Basketball Rules Committee changed the timeframe at which the defender had to be in legal guarding position, adjusting it to when the airborne player started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a shot or pass.

After gathering feedback from coaches, officials, coordinators of officials and others, plus reviewing game footage from last season, the committee concluded the new rule made these types of plays more difficult to coach and officiate. The committee believes returning to the previous rule is in the best interest of the game.


Experimental rules: Preseason NIT Season Tipoff

The panel approved two experimental rules for the 2014 preseason NIT Season Tipoff tournament.

The first rule will reset the shot clock to 25 seconds when a defensive foul occurs in the front court with 24 seconds or less on the shot clock.

The rules committee feels experimenting with this rule will help determine if it adds possessions to the game, and possibly increases scoring, without penalizing the offensive team.

The other experimental rule that will take place in the upcoming preseason NIT will be to increase the distance of the restricted area arc from three feet to four feet.

Basketball rules committee members want to see if extending the arc by one foot will continue to help reduce the number of player collisions under the basket by making it more difficult for secondary/help defenders to take a charge.


Experimental rules: 2015 NIT postseason tournament

The panel also approved reducing the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 seconds for the 2015 postseason NIT.

The rules committee is interested in gathering data to help determine if a reduction of the shot clock increases the number of possessions, scoring and overall flow of the game as compared to the games played as part of the 2014 NIT postseason tournament.

The panel also approved an experimental rule involving timeouts for the 2015 NIT postseason tournament.

When a team calls a timeout within 30 seconds of the next scheduled media timeout (first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks), that timeout will become the first media timeout.

For example, when Team A calls a timeout at 16:02 in the first half, no media timeout will take place at the first dead ball under the 16-minute mark. This rule eliminates a stoppage of play without reducing the number of team timeouts.

Before implementing the experimental rules changes in the preseason and postseason tournaments, the NIT Committee must approve the recommendations as well.