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NCAA announces experimental rules to be used during NIT

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While it’s the NCAA tournament that captivates much of the nation for three weekends in March/early April, the Postseason NIT is an important event as well. Not only are there 32 teams looking to end their seasons on a positive note, but the event tends to be used as a way for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee to see the effects that proposed rules changes would have on the game.

Tuesday afternoon it was announced that four experimental rules modifications will be used in this year’s Postseason NIT, including moving the three-point line out to the international distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches. Also, the lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, matching the width used in the NBA.

Both of these rules modifications are being made to see if such a move will help improve spacing and limit physical play in the half-court.

The other two rules modifications will impact the clock, with games being split into four, ten-minute quarters as opposed to two, 20-minute halves. And an offensive rebound will trigger the shot clock being reset to 20 seconds as opposed to the full 30 seconds.

With the NCAA playing rules process having a two-year cycle, the earliest that rules changes can be made will be May 2019. But even with that being the case, these games provide the rules committed with valuable on-court evidence when assessing the possible impact of these changes.

“Experimenting with two significant court dimension rules, a shot-clock reset rule and a game-format rule all have some level of support in the membership, so the NIT will provide the opportunity to gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants,” NCAA senior vice president of men’s basketball Dan Gavitt said in the release.

Big Ten and MAC to experiment with block/charge reviews


More instant replay is coming to college basketball, albeit in a rather narrow avenue to start.

The Big Ten and the MAC have approval to allow for instant replay in instances of block/charge calls dealing with the restricted area at the end of conference games, it was announced Tuesday,

Instant replay, which in this instance will only apply to Big Ten and MAC conference games, will be available in the final two minutes of both regulation and overtime periods. It can only be used to determine whether or not a player was in the restricted area when a foul is called, not to make a judgement call on whether a defender was set or not.

It cannot be used on no-calls. Reviews can be initiated by a coach’s appeal or if an official believes a call was incorrect. If a coach appeals and it is determined the call was correct, that coach’s team will be charged a timeout.

The (NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules) committee believes allowing the two conferences to experiment with the rule during conference games will provide data that will be useful in helping the committee decide during its meeting next year whether making a permanent rules change is appropriate,” the NCAA said in a statement.

While this experiment will allow for controversial calls to be corrected, it’s also fair to wonder at what cost. The end of college basketball games are already a slog with timeouts, fouls and existing replay reviews.

Is expanding replay good for the overall health of the sport if it makes what should be the most exciting part of the game slow, anticlimactic and antiseptic? The sport already acknowledged issues with the length of games and the protractedness of end-of-game situations when it limited teams to three second-half timeouts last year.

It’s hard to argue against getting more calls correct, it really does seem silly to even contemplate it, but it’s also hard to ignore how difficult some of these end-of-game scenarios can be to watch and enjoy.

Alabama self-reported 13 minor violations last academic year, including one for men’s basketball


Minor rules violations aren’t seen as a huge deal amongst athletic departments, provided that there aren’t a massive number of them. If anything, finding and self-reporting such mistakes to the NCAA is seen as a sign that the school’s compliance department is doing its best to make sure that its coaches, administrators and athletes remain mindful of the rules.

Friday it was reported by the Tuscaloosa News that the Alabama athletic department self-reported 13 Level III or Level IV violations to the NCAA between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Football was responsible for a department-high five secondary infractions, and men’s basketball was among the programs to be reported as well.

The men’s basketball program and Crimson Tide Productions violated NCAA rules for using a prospect’s image to create a personalized recruiting aid during the player’s official visit.

Secondary violations generally don’t result in much more than additional education for the rule violator, and in this instance there was also a letter of admonition written by the school (who committed the violation was not disclosed). Not a huge deal for those involved; it simply serves as a reminder of the rules while also showing that compliance is doing its part to make sure those rules are being followed.

Report: Mother of Kansas forward has ties to firm specializing in ‘loans to potential high draft picks’

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Saturday afternoon Kansas freshman forward Cliff Alexander missed his third straight game due to an ongoing investigation into his eligibility by the NCAA. According to a Yahoo Sports report earlier this week, the NCAA is looking into the possibility that a family member may have received impermissible benefits.

Saturday afternoon Yahoo Sports reported that Alexander’s mother can be tied to a company that specializes in drafting loans to “potential high draft picks in the NBA and NFL.” Those loans are extended to athletes in their families after the prospect has declared himself eligible for the draft, not before.

According to the report a Universal Commercial Code (UCC) was secured by Ludus Capital, a financial company based in Florida, last August. According to, a UCC “is applicable in sales, leases, negotiable instruments, bank deposits, funds transfers, letters of credit, bulk transfers and bulk sales, warehouse receipts, bills of lading and other documents of title, investment securities, and secured transactions of commercial transactions.”

The question is how this would apply to a situation in which a family member could possibly receive a loan with the player’s future NBA earnings being used to repay the loan in the future. The filing was made in Alexander’s home state of Illinois. Also of note in the report is that the family met with various agents in August, and the meetings are not against NCAA rules as noted in the most recent Yahoo Sports report.

Alexander’s family took meetings with NBA agents during August, sources said. Discussions with agents for the purpose of gaining information on a player’s market value do not violate NCAA rules, but entering into a written or verbal agreement and receiving compensation is a violation.

Complicating matters in regards to when (or if) Alexander will be able to return to the floor is the fact that the family has retained legal counsel. The NCAA has yet to interview the freshman, and that is something that has to take place before there’s any conversation about possible reinstatement.

With Perry Ellis (sprained knee) sidelined and Brannen Greene (who was suspended for Saturday’s game) and Wayne Selden Jr. (ankle) also banged up, Kansas has personnel issues to deal with during the most important stretch of the season. With that being the case, Alexander’s situation clearly doesn’t help matters.

NCAA declares Geno Auriemma’s phone call to Mo’ne Davis a secondary violation


Wednesday it was reported that an unnamed school turned in UConn head coach Geno Auriemma for his phone call to Philadelphia little leaguer Mo’ne Davis during the Little League World Series. Originally it was thought that, since Davis is in the eighth grade, the call did not violate any NCAA rules because she wasn’t considered to be a “recruitable athlete.” However that isn’t the case, and on Thursday it was reported by the Hartford Courant that the NCAA has determined the phone call to be a secondary violation of NCAA rules.

The phone call was deemed to be a violation of NCAA bylaw, which states that in women’s basketball a phone call cannot be made to an individual (or their parent or guardian) prior to September 1 of their junior year of high school. The key word in that bylaw is “individual,” which has a broader definition than if the phrase “recruitable athlete” were used.

It’s safe to say that UConn athletic director Warde Manuel was none too thrilled with the NCAA’s decision, despite the fact that the “penalty” for most secondary violations is simply some more education on the rules.

“Prior to attempting to reach Davis, Coach Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department and was advised such a call would be permissible since Davis is not considered a prospective student-athlete by the NCAA and the call was to be congratulatory rather than recruiting in nature.

“While UConn will continue to adhere to the NCAA and conference rules, I believe that upon request from a friend to Geno, a proud Philadelphian, to call a young lady representing the City of Brotherly Love who had accomplished historic feats in the Little League World Series, should not constitute a violation especially due to the fact that NCAA rules do not classify Mo’ne as a prospective student-athlete.”

As noted above, a secondary violation isn’t a crippling blow to a program by any means. Maybe a conversation about how to not run afoul of certain rules will occur, but not much else.

Geno Auriemma’s congratulatory call to Mo’ne Davis ruffled some feathers


This summer has been a busy one for 13-year old Mo’ne Davis, whose pitching exploits during her team’s run to the Little League World Series resulted in increased attention for the event. For Davis, the days following the LLWS have included a meeting with Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, throwing out the first pitch at a Dodger game and meeting both Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner during the just-completed WNBA Western Conference Finals.

What also came from Davis’ experiences with the Taney Dragons was the nation learning that she would like to play point guard at UConn when the time comes. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma got in touch with Davis, giving the Philadelphia native some words of encouragement during the LLWS. Yet while the conversation had been cleared as being well within NCAA rules since Davis isn’t considered to be a recruitable athlete at this time, an unnamed school reported UConn for a violation of NCAA rules.

Here’s what Auriemma had to say about the matter according to Jim Fuller of the New Haven Register:

“One of the funniest things I have ever heard. I will probably get in trouble for saying this but somebody from the Sixers called and contacted some friends I know and said this kid is great, this kid loves basketball and I think congratulations from Coach Auriemma would really go a long way to helping this kid,” Auriemma said. “I go and get contacted by some people with Little League World Series and say is it OK if she calls you. I said ‘how about I just call and you tell her I said congratulations.’ I call the office and (they said) ‘you know Coach, she is standing right here.’ I said ‘put her on the phone, I want to say congratulations.’ I say congratulations. She is 13 and the conversation lasts about two minutes and she hangs up. How about a school turned us in as a recruiting violation because we are not allowed to talk to her until July 1 of her junior year (of high school) but that is the world that we live in.

“It shows you what is wrong not only for things that go on but also with some of the people that I coach against.”

According to UConn, Davis wouldn’t be considered a recruitable athlete per NCAA rules until she begins high school. Davis will be an eighth grader this school year. It should also be noted that Auriemma stated that he’s never seen Davis play basketball.

Of all the things to report, an brief conversation between a coach and an eighth grader is taking things too far. How’s anyone to know what kind of basketball player Davis will be in a couple years? This appears to be one of those situations where the unnamed school (the school that reported the possible infraction doesn’t have to go public) could have simply gone on about its business.