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College Basketball Rule Changes Approved

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The recently proposed rule changes for college basketball were all approved by the NCAA today.

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The rule changes proposed around a month ago (detailed in this post) were approved today by the NCAA. The biggest change is the move to a 30 second shot clock which the committee hopes will lead to increased scoring. The length of games was also addressed by decreasing the number of timeouts from five to four and allowing a team timeout to replace a media timeout in certain situations. In another move that will make college basketball more similar to the NBA, the restricted arc is being increased from three feet to four feet forcing defenders further from the basket to take charges. Increasing the size of the restricted area is also expected to decrease the number of collisions between driving ball handlers and defenders. In another rule that will affect defenses, the "five seconds closely guarded" rule has been eliminated while the offensive player is dribbling. The five-second call is rarely used, and officials no longer have to determine if a player is being "closely guarded" while dribbling. The last major on the court change will give the offense ten seconds to advance the ball across half court regardless of stoppages. Instead of the referees' ten second count resetting on a whistle, the count will carryover after a timeout or deflected ball out of bounds. Defensive fouls will still reset the count and shot clock, however.

A few minor situational changes passed the committee as well. Officials will now be allowed to use replay to determine whether a player beat the shot clock at any point during the game. Faking fouls can also be penalized during a review. Before games, players will be allowed to dunk during warmups where before this was punishable by a technical foul. Lastly, "class-B technicals" such as hanging on the rim and delay of game will now only be punished with one foul shot instead of two. Lastly, as an experimental rule during certain preseason tournaments, players will be given an additional foul before fouling out. On the women's side, instead of playing two 20-minute halves, games will now feature four ten-minute quarters. It will be interesting to see how quickly teams incorporate two-for-ones into end of quarter situations.

While all of the changes should help improve the watchability of college basketball,  none of them will turn a turnover filled game between two mediocre P5 teams into a game between the Warriors and Spurs. The rule changes also failed to address the increasing physicality of the game and freedom of movement related issues. These could be accomplished by widening the lane, altering the 3pt line, or changing the block/charge rule as Jay Bilas as been arguing for. While next year's games should be higher scoring, the majority will probably feature just as many wasted (albeit slightly shorter) possessions as games in recent seasons.