Opinion on Changing NCAA Basketball Rules
ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan recently opined regarding 5 rules changes that he would like to see in NCAA basketball governance. Specifically, he raised the following 5 opinions:
- I would create a strict, low, revenues and expenditures cap
- I would lobby for a constitutional amendment to prevent any and all further changes to the structure of the NCAA tournament
- I would allow players to return to college basketball after the draft if they went undrafted or failed to earn a contract by a given date
- The salary of the NCAA’s president is getting cut
- I would force a video game company to make a really good college basketball game
One suspects that the last entry was tongue-in-cheek, but the other four seem serious. Then again, none of them seem likely. The major conferences are not going to agree to a spending cap and our US Constitution seems to have bigger issues than NCAA sports. The cutting of the NCAA President’s salary is a populist measure, at best. So what are rule changes that make sense? The Confidential has a few.
First, we can go ahead and adopt wholeheartedly the third measure suggested by Brennan–let’s allow NCAA players to return if they are undrafted and/or fail to sign a contract. Why not? Does it interfere with a school’s ability to determine the number of scholarship athletes it has? Perhaps. Or a school could plan for this contingency by either keeping a spot open or not keeping the spot open. In the latter situation, the player would be able to immediately “transfer” to a school in a different conference. If you do not want to lose the player, keep his roster spot open. Simple. Or make it complex. But if the NCAA cares about student-athletes, it needs to stop punishing those who fail in becoming a professional.
Second, let’s make the shot clock 30 seconds. The 24-second clock is too short, and 35 seconds seems a tad too long when there are meaningless passes simply using up the clock without strategic advantage. 30 seconds is a nice medium.
Third, let’s give every play six fouls. That is three per half. Why 5? That never made sense mathematically.
Fourth, while there needs to be better and more consistent officiating, but let’s step away from the constant ref attacking. In fact, let’s get the ratings of the officials out of the sphere of fans and media–and place it with the coaches. The coaches may complain on the sidelines, but the NCAA should have coaches privately rate the officials and make those results public. If John Doe is ranked as a good official by the coaches, the fact that fans think the official is terrible should be muted somewhat by the fact that coaches think he (or she) is relatively competent. It has been said before, most games are competently refereed when you are watching a game involving two teams that you do not care about. It is only when you have a passion or bias that you begin to think that the refs are incompetent. As referee integrity is essential to the perception of the game, it needs a boost.
Fifth, better logic in the determination of NCAA subregional sites. There should always be sites in these areas: (1) the Northeast (NE, NY, Boston, Philadelphia, New Jersey); (2) the Midwest; (3) the Basketball heartland (Kentucky/North Carolina); (4) the mid-Atlantic; (5) the South (South Carolina to Louisiana); (6) Florida; (7) Texas; and (8) California. Some years, it seems like the “East” is too Midwest or South. It also seems like a North Carolina subregional every year. The Western regional can fairly be in Salt Lake City, Denver, El Paso or Albuquerque too. Not just California, Seattle, and Phoenix.
In any event, that is OUR opinion. What would YOU like changed?
Regarding the shot clock, I’m a proponent of a 35 second shot clock when the ball is being advanced full court, and a 25 second shot clock when the ball starts in the half court. That gives a team 10 seconds to get the ball across the middle without a back court violation, but speeds up the offense in the half-court.
I am in wholehearted agreement regarding the draft: players without a guaranteed contract should be allowed to go back to school if they have remaining eligibility.
With respect to the officials, we need to remove all immunity that they have from criticism. Let’s face the fact that they make mistakes from time-to-time, they call games differently depending on what half it is, and no one can say anything about them.
Let’s allow coaches to openly criticize the calls that a ref made without any fines. If Jim Boeheim wants to say that the ref made a bonehead call, then let him. The tape may prove otherwise and then its up to the Coach to defend their position. But let’s not make it so that refs are untouchable.
One of the best moments in officiating happened after Jim Joyce openly admitting he blew a call thereby ruining Galarraga’s perfect game. It showed that the officials are human, and should be treated as such.
If you want to pretend that refs are perfect and above any criticism, then by all means let the fans, players, and coaches rip them when they make mistakes.
Not saying refs are untouchables. Saying that the coaches’ perceptions of refs should be public.
Who stopped Jim Boeheim?