Marcus Smart was suspended three games for shoving a Texas Tech booster. (John Weast/Getty Images)
The NCAA rules committee has altered the rules to address a basketball player going into the stands following the Marcus Smart incident at Texas Tech earlier this month.
The NCAA alerted schools on Wednesday that, effective immediately, any player who goes into the stands will receive a flagrant non-contact foul 2 and be ejected.
"The clear intent of Rule 10-1.3.h is to prevent players from leaving the playing court and becoming involved in verbal, physical or any other type of confrontation with fans, team followers mascots or band members," the memo said of the rule change.
After falling into a crowd behind the baseline against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State's Smart jumped up to confront Tech booster Jeff Orr and shoved him. Smart was called for a an unsportsmanlike technical foul, but was not ejected. He did not play in the game's final seconds. Under the new rule, Smart would have been automatically ejected for entering the stands.
Big 12 coordinator of officials Curtis Shaw said on Feb. 8 that existing rules didn't give the game's officials the power to eject Smart:
"We didn't have a rule to cover it.
"We had a rule that if a player left the court in order to participate in a fight but not one to interact with the fans,'' he said. "We discussed that the rule was intended to cover (a player interaction with a fan), but it wasn't in there. Now if any player leaves the court to have a physical altercation with a fan it is a flagrant 2 and an automatic ejection.''
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Smart was subsequently suspended for three games and is eligible to return Saturday against the Red Raiders