Geno Auriemma has never been short on opinions. We all remember the famous press conference after his UConn women’s team passed the UCLA men’s teams of the 70s for the consecutive wins title.
This time, the seven-time national champion head coach spoke out in an article by the Hartford Courant about rules changes. The one he wants to see? Lowering the rims.
Auriemma’s attack is equal parts tactical and poignant. He says that the average person who watches a women’s college game won’t notice — I have to agree there, who is really wondering that stuff during a game? — and it will lead to better play.
“What makes fans not want to watch women’s basketball is that some of the players can’t shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down,” he said.
In a loony twist, Auriemma purposed that the rim be lowered 7.2 inches, to honor 1972, the year Title IX was put into effect. Maybe he’s kidding, maybe not.
He added that he plans to propose this to the NCAA Rules Committee at their next meeting in the spring, along with proposing teams get to scrimmage against an opponent with a 24-second shot clock and an eight-second backcourt rule.
In summation, Auriemma wants to speed the game up. People want to see good, fast basketball and while lowering the rim would help, I don’t envision it turning women’s basketball — while at the elite level, is great and entertaining in itself — into an above the rime game, unless you’re Brittney Griner.
I do totally support the shot clock and backcourt rules. I think a huge problem with the women’s game is the rules that cater to playing a totally half-court game, to which there are a ton, on all levels. Speeding things up a bit will make things infinitely better, and after a transitional period, it will make the players better.