With the men’s college basketball rules committee proposing a host of changes in hopes of increasing scoring earlier this month, the move that attracted the most attention was their recommendation to trim the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. However, while having five fewer seconds to attempt a shot does increase the likelihood of more possessions in a game it doesn’t not guarantee more points on the scoreboard.
One coach who isn’t in favor of the move is Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, who discussed the matter with Brian Howell of the Boulder Daily Camera. Boyle also touched on another key in college basketball, which in recent years has been decried as being too physical by some. If people want to see more points scored, ensuring that freedom of movement initiatives are not only enacted but enforced by officials needs to occur as well.
“No, I think it’s a very exciting game. If they want to increase scoring, they just have to take away the physical play and the game has to be officiated differently and it has to be officiated more consistently. You could make an argument that the college game is more physical than the pro game, because of the way it’s officiated and what you’re allowed to get away with and what you’re not. The defensive rules that the NBA has put in place, if we ever get to that, that’s when you’re going to see scoring really take off.”
The fact that the rules committee is looking to make improvements is a good thing, even if some don’t agree with the measures they’ve proposed. But if there’s to be any lasting impact, consistent officiating in regards to the physicality of the game is key.
While some conferences are sticklers for “strategies” such as bumping cutters, others aren’t as strict in enforcing freedom of movement. It should be noted that in college basketball, officials are essentially independent contractors who can be work for any conference that asks them to work games, which is why some have schedules that result in them calling five or six games in a week.
There have been attempts to make sure that officiating is more consistent across the country, but with a setup unlike that of the NBA (unionized officials, and there are only 30 teams as opposed to 351 at the Division I level) that’s a task far easier said than done.