The NCAA officially changed a couple of rules for the 2015-16 season, the most notable of which was the decision to drop the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 seconds. They also reduced the number of timeouts that coaches have at their disposal while expanding the charge circle under the rim.
They’re all changes that we needed to see made, and they’re all steps towards making the collegiate game more digestible, although, as I wrote here, unless officials buy into the idea of freedom of movement and truly call the game that way, none of these changes will have much of an affect.
But there are two notes that I did quickly want to discuss:
- The NCAA voted to get rid of the five-second closely-guarded rule, which is the one change that I am not a fan of. In the past, it was a violation to hold the ball for longer than five seconds or to dribble the ball without going towards the basket for longer than five seconds while being closely guarded. That’s the reason that we had so much false motion in the college game at the start of a possession. It demanded some creativity offensively and created an incentive to play aggressive, extended defense. Without the rule, expect to see a lot more over-dribbling, particularly when point guards look to drain the clock to set up a ball-screen at the end of a possession.
- The women’s game made the change to four 10 minute quarters as opposed to two 20 minute halves, which is a change that the men’s game should have made as well. There are more natural stoppages — as opposed to manufactured TV timeouts — and, with team fouls getting reset after each quarter, there would be fewer trips to the free throw line.
That said, the changes that did get implemented are a step in the right direction.