Move Back the Three-Point Line

The NCAA Basketball rules committee is meeting these days and among the things on the agenda is an evaluation of the impact of moving the three point line back to 20'9". Hopefully the committee will realize the impact has been minimal and move it back where it was.

This past season the longer 3-point basket had virtually no impact on the game. Teams did attempt fewer 3-pointers a game, but it was by less than one a game (.74). Thus, teams made fewer long range shots (.41) than they did in 2007-08 on a per game basis. Overall shooting percentages had a predictable drop but it wasn't too significant. Instead of making 35.2 percent of shots behind the line the number "plummeted" to 34.4.

So if there wasn't much of an impact why not leave it where it is? Well I'll give you three reasons.

First of all, the purpose behind the move was to allegedly spread out offenses and defenses and open up the lane. Did anyone see less physical play this past season? I sure didn't. Thus the change did not accomplish its primary aim so why keep it?

Second, the most important thing the three point shot does is reward one of the most basic skills in the game, the ability to shoot. The game already offers tons of rewards for the remarkably athletic player, so why not maximize the one thing that gives a "skilled" player the chance to make more of a contribution?

Third, and least important of all, it looks awful. The presence of two different 3-point arcs on the floor is hideous to look at. The men and women simply need to agree on a distance so the court they play on doesn't end up looking like a high school facility with lines in every direction.

The game was fine and looked better the way it was. Please change it back.

Adding the Restricted Arc

Another thing on the committee's agenda is to consider adding the "restricted arc" near the basket. The arc is on the floor for NBA games and you cannot draw a charge if you are inside it. The NBA is convinced there is more driving the ball to the basket since the arc was implemented, and since that is allegedly the aim of the college rule makers they should give it a shot.

There is plenty of debate about the exact placement of the arc because you need to encourage teams to defend the basket without discouraging players from "taking it to the hole" so to speak. Ideally they can work that out and implement the rule at least on an experimental basis for 2009-10.

Rules Changes Not on the Agenda

There are a couple of rules changes I'd like to see but aren't on the agenda and probably never will be,

No fouling out ----- Basketball is unique in having this method of disqualifying players and I don't like it. I say let a guy play no matter how many fouls he has, but after number five the team gets two shots AND the ball. Let the team decide if it's worth the risk to keep a player out there. Too many games are screwed up by two early fouls on a guy who sits the rest of the first half.

Call intentional fouls ----- No rule is so blatantly ignored by the officials who are supposed to enforce the rules than the intentional foul rule. Late in games people just grab and push and it doesn't matter. Perfect example was late in the game at South Carolina when Chandler Parsons grabbed what should have been a game winning rebound and was grabbed from behind. It was clearly intentional with no effort made for the ball but wasn't called such. The failure of officials to enforce the rule rewards teams that don't deserve the reward. Enforce the damn rule or throw it out.

Fewer Timeouts ----- We have four TV timeouts a half, so how about we give each team two a half and call it a day. There are too many stoppages late in the game, again helping the team that hasn't earned it. And while we're at it, if a team calls timeout it should immediately negate the next scheduled TV timeout. Is there anything more annoying than seeing time called with 16:03 to go in the half, play resume only to have a foul at 15:58 on the clock and another timeout?

Now we're all set!

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