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Greg Johnson, NCAA.org | June 5, 2019

Men’s college basketball 3-point line extended to international distance

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The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved moving the 3-point line to the international basketball distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches in men’s basketball.

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The rule will be effective for the 2019-20 season in Division I. Due to the potential financial impact of placing a new line on courts, the new 3-point line will go into effect for the 2020-21 season in Divisions II and III.

Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members recommended the change after receiving positive feedback from the annual rules survey from coaches whose teams competed in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitation Tournament, where the international 3-point distance was used on an experimental basis.

The committee cited the following rationale for extending the line:

  • Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
  • Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more    challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
  • Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.

Teams in the 2019 NIT averaged 23.1 field goal attempts in the tournament from behind the arc, compared with 22.8 3-point attempts in the 2018-19 regular season. The 3-point shooting percentage of teams in the 2019 NIT was 33%, compared with their regular season average of 35.2%.

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When the line was moved before the 2008-09 season, the distance went from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches. The percentage of 3-point shots made during that season compared with the previous season declined from 35.2% to 34.4%. The percentage of made 3-point field goals steadily increased back to 35.2% in Division I by the 2017-18 season.

Shot clock reset

The panel also approved resetting the shot clock at 20 seconds after a field goal attempt hits the rim and the offensive team rebounds the ball in the front court. 

The change is being made to enhance the pace of the game. The committee decided a full 30-second shot clock is not needed because the offensive team is already in the front court after securing the rebound.

This was an experimental rule in the 2019 NIT, as well.

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Other proposal

  • The panel approved a proposal where players will be assessed a technical foul should they use derogatory language about an opponent’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, gender identify, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Coaches will be allowed to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime periods. Previously, coaches weren’t allowed to call any live-ball timeouts during the game.  

In the last two minutes of the second half or the last two minutes of any overtime, instant replay review can be conducted if a basket interference or goaltending call has been made. 

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