NCAA Basketball: Analyzing the proposed rule changes for 2021-22 season

The NCAA Basketball rules committee made five recommendations, out of 13 proposed changes, for the 2021-2022 season during the committee’s three-day meeting in Indianapolis.

The rule changes that passed the eye test of the NCAA Basketball rules committee were Technical fouls for flopping, changing the maximum fouls for a player to six, and a tweak to how timeouts are treated. Permitting the shot clock to include tenths-seconds and allowing coaches to use technology, live statistics, and video on the bench during conference play were the other changes recommendations by the committee.

If these proposed changes get passed by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) in June, they will become official rules.

Changes I like

 Flopping will earn a technical foul

This is a much-needed change as players flopping has been a problem for several years, and now with the “rule change,” there will be no more warnings. For some reason, warnings generally don’t work in sports unless the penalty is severe. Instead, officials will issue technical fouls when a  “fake being fouled” situation is clear and obvious. The technical foul will result in the other team shooting one foul shot. The player called for the technical foul would not accumulate a personal foul.

Plus, the change is in line with professional rules, which is always good when rules are unified.

Tweaking the timeout

This rule is really a no-brainer. To keep games within a two-hour window, the committee approved a timeout called by a team can also serve as the media timeout as long the media timeout has not already been used. For example, according to the NCAA release, “if a coach calls a timeout at the 18-minute mark, it will serve as the under-16-minute media timeout.

Then if If either team calls a timeout under the 16-minute mark, it will serve as the under-12-minute media timeout. Under this scenario, the next media timeout wouldn’t occur until the under-eight-minute mark.”

Tenths of a second showing on the shot clock 
I like this rule — the NBA has had it on its book for nearly a decade — but the change is ultimately up to each school.

Changes I have a problem with

Players get six fouls

While this change will only be “experimental” and used for the 2022 NIT, I like it as it unifies rules between college and NBA, and it potentially keeps “star” players in games longer, which fans have long clamored. However, I’m not too fond of the rule caveat, which is the following:

“Under the experimental rule, any player called for four personal fouls in one half would be disqualified from playing the rest of the game. For example, a player who picks up four fouls in the first half would have to sit out the rest of the game. If a player has one foul in the first half, he would be disqualified after picking up four in the second half. If a player has three fouls in the first half, he would be disqualified after being called for three fouls in the second half.”

My contention is if you are going to change a rule, do so without any modifications.

Technology on the sideline

This is another rule that is good for the game overall. But, conferences will need to apply for a waiver, which is pointless — if a conference decides that they will allow it, why require a waiver. Plus, this rule would not be in effect for nonconference contests or postseason tournaments, so what is the point.

Proposed rule changes that didn’t get recommended (My thoughts afterward)

  • Widening the lane from 12 to 16 feet.  This is not a bad idea, but a change is not necessary.
  • Award possession to defense after a held-ball. I like it in theory, but what if a loose ball. Rather have the jump ball reinstituted.
  • Eliminate the 10-second backcourt rule. Just no.
  • Eliminate five-second closely guarded rule — Yes. It is never called, and technically a player can hold have the ball, closely guarded for 12 seconds ( hold, dribble, hold).
  • Allow instant replay on shot-clock violation in final two minutes/overtime on a missed shot – I support it if it can be done quickly and only when absolutely necessary.
  • Allow instant replay on basket interference/goaltending calls — but only if/after an official calls the violation.
  • Quasi quarters by resetting team fouls at the 10-minute mark of each half. Begin double bonus on the fifth foul within each 10-minute segment. This eliminates the one-and-one free throw.  A definite no! If going to do this, just go to quarters like the women. I do like the elimination of the 1-and-1 free throw, however.

Potential for two-year NIT trial period
These two rule adjustments were slated to be on a trial basis, and I don’t like either one.

  • Two-timeout limit per team with under two minutes in regulation and throughout overtime(s)
  • Eliminate offensive basket interference and use the FIBA rule instead: the ball is always live after it makes contact with the rim.