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Greg Johnson | | May 9, 2014

NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee recommends alteration to airborne shooter rule

The Men’s Basketball Rules Committee recommended an alteration to its airborne shooter rule during its May 7-9 meeting in Indianapolis, which if approved would become effective with the 2014-15 season.

In order to take a charge, the alteration will require a defending player 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). All rules alterations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to convene via teleconference on June 25. The proposal is allowed in the non-change year under PROP guidelines because the committee believes a new rule requires alteration.

“This alteration will impact block/charge plays in an effort to make this play easier to coach and officiate,” said Rick Byrd, head coach at Belmont and chair of the committee, which met jointly with the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors and the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Committee. “In our discussions, the men’s basketball community, including coaches, officials and administrators, agreed that this rule needed adjustment.”

Last season, the committee changed the timeframe at which the defender must 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. When reviewing game footage from last season, the committee concluded that those types of plays became more difficult to coach and officiate.

Experimental rules: restricted area and resetting shot clock in frontcourt

The committee also recommended an experimental rule to expand the restricted-area arc in front of the basket to 4 feet. The experimental rule can be used in multi-team events and the committee plans to work with the Preseason National Invitational Tournament and others who are interested to research the impact of a larger arc.

The current restricted-area arc, which marks an area on the court in front of the basket where a secondary defender is unable to draw a charge, is 3 feet in front of the basket.

Another experimental rule is to have the shot clock reset to 25 seconds (or the remaining time on the shot clock if more than 25) when a foul or a violation occur in the front court.

Defending the post

The committee addressed a major officiating concern for the 2014-15 season by focusing on play in the post area. The committee directed officials to call plays in the post as written in the rulebook. The officiating guidelines are below:

• A defensive player pushing a leg or knee into the rear of the offensive player shall be a personal foul on the defender;

• An offensive player dislodging a defensive player from an established position by pushing or backing in shall be a personal foul on the offensive player;

• A player using the “swim stroke” arm movement to lower the arm of an opponent shall be charged with a personal foul;

• Post players using hands, forearms or elbows to prevent an opponent from maintaining a legal position shall be charged with a personal foul.

Shot clock monitor reviews

The committee also approved an interpretation for the reviewing shot clock violations in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime. In cases where officials question whether a shot was released before the shot clock expired, the official must stop play before the ball is inbounded after a successful basket or immediately after the shooting team retains possession. In all cases in which the defense retains possession after a missed shot, there shall be no monitor review.

Team timeout experiment

Committee members also recommended an experimental rule involving timeouts, with an eye on potentially using this in the Postseason NIT. In this proposal, 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, there will not be a media timeout at the first dead ball under the 16-minute mark. This would eliminate a stoppage of play without reducing the number of team timeouts.

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