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NCAA rules committee proposes moving back 3-point line to international distance

The NCAA men’s basketball rules committee offered up a proposal on Friday that, if passed, would extend the 3-point line more than a foot deeper than its current positioning.

The rule would move the line back from 20 feet, 9 inches feet to 22-1¾, the same measurement used in international play and in the WNBA. The 20.75 feet in NCAA men’s basketball has been in place since 2007, while the same distance has been in place for the women’s side since its passing in 2011.

There has been measures taken by the NCAA to gauge the success of such a change in recent years if it were to pass. In the 2018 and 2019 NIT Tournament, one of many experimental rules was the deepening of the 3-point line to the international distance. Results from the 2019 NIT experiment showed teams took more 3-point shots and shot a slightly lower percentage compared to their regular-season averages.

“After gathering information over the last two seasons, we feel it’s time to make the change,” said Tad Boyle, committee chair and coach at  Colorado. “Freedom of movement in the game remains important, and we feel this will open up the game. We believe this will remove some of the congestion on the way to the basket.”

The committee’s goal in exploring such a change, according to the NCAA, is based off three objectives:

  • Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
  • Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
  • Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.

In addition to the 3-point proposal, by far the biggest potential shift (which could be put into place as soon as the 2020-2021 season), the committee is also recommending a new shot clock reset “to enhance the pace of the game.” Other proposals include the recommended use of instant replay during the last two minutes of the second half or the last two minutes of any overtime; the allowance for coaches to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half or of any overtime; and the recommendation that players be assessed a Flagrant 2 technical foul and ejection if they use derogatory language aimed at an opponent regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

The committee’s proposals will be considered and voted on by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on June 5.The rules would go into effect for the 2019-2020 season in Division I.

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