INDIANAPOLIS -- Research on changes to the collegiate basketball court and playing rules will continue during certified events and preseason games this fall. The Men's Basketball Rules Committee is examining three experimental rules: the three-point line extended to 20 feet, 9 inches, the lane widened by one foot on each side, and a restricted-area arc. In the women's game, the three-point line will be extended to 20 feet, 6 inches, and the 10-second backcourt rule will be utilized.

The same three experimental rules with different dimensions were examined last fall by the Men's Basketball Rules Committee. This year the three-point line is extended 12 inches from its current distance of 19 feet, 9 inches, and the lane is extended by one foot on each side instead of 1 ½ feet. The restricted-area arc will be three feet from the center of the basket instead of two feet.

"We thought the feedback from last year's experimental rules was positive, but we need to make sure we've done all of our homework before we make any significant changes," Larry Keating, chair of the Men's Basketball Rules Committee and senior associate director of athletics at the University of Kansas, said. "Making these changes, which we think are necessary to keep our game current and growing, will mean updating every college court in the country, all three divisions. It is not a decision we're taking lightly."

Participating institutions are asked to track three-point field goal percentages, three-second violations, rebounds from free-throw attempts by lane space, and fouls following free-throw attempts. Last year, data was collected from a 134 games, including 117 from Division I, 14 from Division II and three from Division III.

The 2004 information showed that lengthening the three-point line did not create a significant difference in the number of three-point shots made, shots attempted, or shooting percentage during the experiment. In studying the lane, the percentage of offensive (21 percent) and defensive rebounds (79 percent) per game was consistent with the random sample of regular-season games tracked by the committee. There was no significant difference in the number of three-second violations or fouls after free-throw attempt either.

Coaches' support for changing court dimensions has grown. When asked last season to describe the level of support for adopting the widened collegiate lane and the extended three-point line, 65 percent of participating coaches were either greatly or somewhat in favor of the change.

The women will be experimenting for the first time with the three-point line extended and the 10-second backcourt rule, which is currently one of the primary rule differences between the men's and women's games.

"The men have been looking at court changes for many years, and we are just at the beginning of examining this possibility," Ronda Seagraves, chair of the Women's Basketball Rules Committee and associate athletics director at Southwestern University (Texas), said. "We believe our players are more than capable of utilizing the three-point line nine inches further from the basket. We need to decide if this is good for our game or not."

Data will be collected to look at the number of 10-second violations called during games using the experimental rules and the three-point shooting percentages. Coaches' feedback about the experiences will be sought.

The experimental rules are required to be used during games which have been certified by the NCAA. The men's certified events include: America's Youth Classic, BCA Classic, BCA Invitational, Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, Coaches vs. Cancer, Colonial Athletic Association Basketball Classic, CoSIDA Classic, EA Sports Maui Invitational, Guardians Classic, Hispanic College Fund Basketball Classic, Jim Thorpe Association Classic, John Thompson Foundation Basketball Classic, Las Vegas Holiday Classic, Las Vegas Holiday Invitational, NABC Classic, National Catholic Basketball Tournament, Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, Preseason NIT, San Juan Shootout, South Padre Island Invitational, Top of the World Classic, and the University of Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

The women's certified events are the Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic, Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, Hawaii Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic, North Star Invitational, Preseason Women's NIT, San Juan Shootout, University of the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, WBCA/Basketball Travelers Classic, Waikiki Beach Marriott Invitational, Women's Hoops Fall Classic, and the Women's Sports Foundation/Basketball Travelers Challenge.

Institutions are asked to utilize the rules during preseason games and scrimmages during at least one of two preseason to help bolster the data collection, especially in Divisions II and III.

-- Courtesy