INDIANAPOLIS --The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee met at the NCAA Convention last week in San Diego, and among the many topics discussed was the state of game and the enforcement of rules adopted and emphasized prior to the start of the season. The consensus from the group: They are steadfast in their support of the rules emphasis and enforcement to date.

“The committee came away convinced that progress has been made, and that the game is better with greater freedom of movement,” said Ron Wellman, the director of athletics at Wake Forest University and the chair of the committee. “But it’s important that the officials stay the course now that conference seasons are in full swing. We don’t want to see a return to the style of play where players were too physical while guarding the ball. There was nothing experimental about the changes, so our expectation is that the rules are enforced as written.”

The rules changes call for fouls when a defender keeps a hand/forearm on a ball handler, puts two hands on a ball handler, continually jabs at a ball handler, or uses an armbar to impede the progress of an offensive player. In addition, the block/charge rule was strengthened to require a defender to be in legal guarding position before an offensive player begins his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass – or the call is a blocking foul.

The rules changes were adopted in May by the Men’s Basketball Rules Committee after discussion and support from a joint meeting together with the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors. The three groups agreed that improving freedom of movement in order to open up the game and provide for better balance between offense and defense was important for men’s basketball.

“We knew coming into the season that players, coaches and officials were going to have to adjust, and by and large they are,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president for men’s basketball. “The conferences have done an admirable job of enforcing the rules changes. The key for officials is to stay consistent because the NCAA men’s basketball championships will be played in March & April with these rules changes in place. Similar to any other year, officials who do the best job of enforcing the rules will be selected to work in the NCAA tournament, and those who do the best jobs in tournament games will be the ones advancing to later rounds.”