They’re far from earth-shattering, but the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has made some minor rule changes for the upcoming basketball season. One might even use the phrase “common sense” to describe them. And no, there’s no sarcasm there.
Elbow / Flagrant Fouls
Starting in the fall, the NCAA is ridding itself of the horrible rule that required any elbow above the shoulders to be automatically called a flagrant foul. Now, the referees will be allowed “discretion” in determining if the foul should be flagrant.
This is one of the most called-for changes from last season. Too many players were “leaning in” to elbows, and drawing not just fouls, but flagrant fouls at that. Plus there were numerous incidents of incidental elbows that might not even had been called as a regular foul if not for the rule.
There’s also another tweak to the block / charge rule. Under the new rule, a player must be in “defensive position” once the player has started an “upward motion” to either shoot or pass, essentially stripping calls where a defender moves under a player while they’re in mid air.
No one will say it, but that rule is essentially to reduce the number of charges called. Why? The idea is that if more blocking fouls are called, players will adjust and stop drawing fouls, giving offensive players an advantage and, in theory, increase scoring, something college basketball needs as a whole.
It’s also just fair. Once a player is in the air, there’s not a whole lot they can do.
Going to the monitor
Love how the flow of close NBA games down the stretch is completely broken by countless trips to the monitor. You’re in luck! The NCAA is doing something similar, by expanding the use of the monitor in the last two minutes of a game, or overtime.
Referees can now use the monitor to review shot clock violations and out-of-bounds calls. They can also review to see which player committed a foul, not just to determine who should be the foul shooter.
It’s not all bad news: the NCAA will also use the rule the Big Ten tested last season, waiting to review whether a shot was a two or a three until the next TV timeout unless it is in the final four minutes or overtime.
All joking aside, it’s important to get the calls right. If we can just get HD cameras / monitors to speed up the process on the sidelines, that would be helpful.
Points of Emphasis
On top of the rule changes, there are always a few “points of emphasis” for refs to pay attention to this year, and once again they have to do with fouls. Much like the reasoning stated above, these points of emphasis are to more tightly call some fouls, in an attempt to reduce overall fouling.
It kind of sounds backwards when I say it that way. But it makes sense, if the players adjust to these points of emphasis.
here are this year’s points that refs will be looking to call:
- 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.
I’m fairly certain these will be the least popular fouls called this season.
All in all, the changes are solid. There’s nothing that should cause a major change to the game, and if they can increase scoring that’s good for the college game as a whole.
BTW: I can already hear the complaints from the “OVC refs are horrible” group out there (you know who you are) that it doesn’t matter if the refs call the new rules wrong. Feel free to post that in the comments. I might even read it.