One of the great parts about having so many great individual players and such a wealth of great teams across the country this season is that we only made it about a week until the topic of the increased enforcement of foul rules has become secondary.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have so much more fun talking about the players on the court and the plays they are running than I do writing about specifics and stats when it comes to fouls and foul shots.
But just because it has faded away from the headlines a bit doesn’t mean that the topic of fouling doesn’t come up.
Take Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy, who was ejected from his team’s loss to UTEP on Tuesday. Eustachy was mad about the officiating in large part due to the number of fouls taht were called on his big men. Both of Colorado State’s centers fouled out of the game, which was a major reason that the Rams were dominated on the glass; Colorado State has traditionally been one of the best rebounding teams in the country.
“It’s about money. Let’s face it, they want scoring up, which means they want more fans, so it’s really not about the student-athlete and that’s why I got into this profession—the student-athlete,” Eustachy said in his postgame radio interview. “I’m going to protect these guys who work so hard for me and this university. I’m going to protect them. If it means making some statements every now and then, I’m going to do it.
“(They called) touch fouls, which means you eliminated our two centers. Is that about the kids? Is that about the players? Is that what we’re really in it for?”
I understand his frustration. He’s spent his entire career coaching his kids to play one way, and now he’s being told that way is no longer OK. On Tuesday, it cost his team a game.
But you know what? The rules are the rules. They aren’t going anywhere, and, frankly, nothing new has been made up or added to the rule book. A decision was made that referees were actually going to enforce the rules that currently exist.
And he may be right. This may be about the fans and the dollars and the aesthetics of the game.
Eustachy’s wrong, however. He says that we simply wanted more scoring.
It’s actually because we want to watch basketball, not rugby.
Word of advice, Larry: you better figure out a way to teach your kids how to avoid fouling out with the way the rules are now being enforced, or you’re going to have a lot of games where your big men won’t be on the floor at the end of the night.