NCAA looking for ways to speed up game, increase scoring
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The NCAA may be ready to spice up college basketball.
After a feeding frenzy of complaints over reduced scoring and longer games, rules committee members told a small group of reporters Monday that next season's potential changes could include a shorter shot clock, tighter calls to reduce contact and a different timeout structure to help speed things up at the end of games.
''We've got games that are just not edible,'' said John Adams, the outgoing head of college referees. ''Some of this is officiating and some of this is play.''
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and other leaders involved in the decision-making process are weighing several proposals.
The most discussed ideas are reducing the 35-second shot clock to 30 seconds, moving the restricted area arc from 3 feet to 4 feet to eliminate collisions and better enforcement of rules in regard to defending players without the ball, in the post and on screens.
Belmont coach Rick Byrd, the rules committee chairman, also acknowledged that they will look for ways to reduce the amount of in-game stoppages including a reduction in timeouts. It could work like the NBA, which assesses some media timeouts to the teams on an alternating basis.
''We're definitely going to address that part of it,'' Byrd said in reference to the timeouts. ''The question is how many timeouts can we reduce? It's not like TV isn't utilizing 30-second timeouts to sell product.''
The rules committee will evaluate the proposals when it meets from May 12-15 in Indianapolis.
Research on whether or not they will work is already underway.
Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's vice president of men's basketball championships, said scoring increased about 5 percent to 71.5 points in 2013-14 when 19.1 fouls per game were called but lost almost all of that gain this season, falling to 66.7 points when 18.2 fouls were called.
Those numbers prompted NCAA officials to experiment with a 30-second shot clock in the three recently-completed lower-tier basketball tournaments. Data showed scoring went up slightly, less than two points per game, while the number of possessions per game increased by just 1.02.
Numbers are not the only measurement, though.
While Byrd prefers a longer shot clock because it allows teams to use different styles, a hallmark of college basketball, others argue a change is overdue. The NBA uses a 24-second shot clock. College women's players use a 30-second clock, something that prompted UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma to call the men's game boring.
''People say, `Why are the men playing a slower game than the women?'' Byrd said.
But faster, higher-scoring games may only be part of the solution.
Byrd said there will be ''serious discussion'' about enforcing a stricter 10-second rule that would not allow a team to reset the 10-second count following a timeout. Another proposal calls for even shorter shot clocks following offensive rebounds.
''I think we want more balance between offense and defense,'' said Delany. ''I think it's time for some substantive experimentation.''
Delany also wants committee members to go beyond the standard rule-changing fare. He believes the NBA will start relying soon on analytics, technology and transparency to improve the game, and that college basketball would be well-served to take a look, too.
''I think it would be OK to say, `We had 37 judgment calls in this game and 34 were right and three were reasonably wrong,'' Delany said.