See that photo? Next year there’ll be a semicircle around the basket. Might not sound like much, but it’s significant.
The NCAA rules committee recommended adding a restricted area arc three feet from the basket, a rule the NBA already uses to eliminate contact in the lane and restrict where secondary defenders can stand to take charges. It’s currently an unmarked area that’s supposedly two feet.
Now it’ll be a larger area and have a definitive marking. Referees should have an easier time making those calls. (Fingers crossed.)
“I would hope the officials are in favor on it,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber told ESPN.com. “It’s such a hard call, and I know they’re going to have to take some time and make sure the feet are outside of the line, but in the long run, it makes it easier on them. And it protects kids. I like it. It’s a good thing.
“We try to take charges and take pride in it. I hope it makes it easier on the officials. That’s the most important thing. They have to so much they have to watch and call.”
The rule still has to be approved by the playing rules oversight panel.
But you won’t see every college hoops fan or coach in favor of the change. The difficulty of the call allowed smaller teams to fudge somewhat on interior defense and occasionally frustrate bigger, more athletic teams. I’m not completely sold on the idea that a mid-major won’t reach another Final Four, but it will make things tougher on them come March.
Still, anything that helps the refs call a cleaner, more balanced game is a good thing. There’s already enough gray area when it comes to taking a charge.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.