NCAA Basketball Rules Committee Places College Basketball At Risk With Shot Clock Proposal


The NCAA Basketball Rules Committee has been hard at work recommending changes to one of the greatest games the world has ever known.

If something needs breaking, the NCAA can do it.

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NCAA: 1-800-ruin-the-fun.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee has been hard at work fulfilling its mission: If it ain’t broke, break it.

As often with rule changes, more scoring is a primary goal. The Committee therefore recommended reducing the shot clock length from 35 seconds to 30 seconds.

Will this increase scoring? Maybe. It will certainly increase shooting. But, the unintended consequence will be to increase the amount of one-on-one play and increase the competitive advantage of teams with great talent. The value of  team play will be reduced and less skilled teams that learn to compete with sustained defensive pressure will be penalized.

The NCAA Basketball Rules Committee has picked its winners, and they are the corner cutters and cheaters.

Coaches that can recruit elite talents would be rewarded by this change. Coaches emphasizing ball handing and passing would be penalized.

Forcing more shots means predictable shooting averages will rule more games – fewer teams will “stay hot” for 40 minutes and fewer teams will “stay cold’ for 40 minutes. You’ll say goodbye to the 12 seed – 5 seed upset. Forget anticipating the first ever 16 seed upset of a 1 seed – not going to happen with this rule change.   Reduce the shot clock time and the rich get richer.

Enjoy watching upstart programs rise to excellence? Plan to be patient. Disturbed by the basketball dorm craze? Expect more teams to join the facility arms race.

The NCAA Basketball Rules Committee has picked its winners, and they are the corner cutters and cheaters.

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Reducing the shot clock to 30 seconds pours all college basketball into the same bottle, funneling all teams into similar styles of play.

Of course, the professionals have a 24-second shot clock. The professionals also have a draft and salary caps to prevent unfair talent advantages. Colleges are at the mercy of school size, budgets, school tradition, local population, geography, and limited practice time.

Besides, there’s already an NBA. Do we need another one? The last thing the colleges need to do is reduce the differentiation between professional and college basketball. Is no one watching Shark Tank? Differentiation is key to branding and viewership. If the college game is NBA lite, fans will just watch the real NBA. The NCAA needs to work harder to be different from professional basketball, not work harder to be the same as the pro game.

The Committee says the shot clock recommendation addresses concerns over “pace of play.” Obviously, however, this is about scoring – the assumption is fans want to see the ball go through the hoop more often.

Increasing offensive activity can be addressed much more constructively – adjust the five-second count rule. As the rule is written and enforced, the five-second count restarts on a dribble and the stopping of a dribble, allowing the ball handler as much as 15 seconds with the ball before passing or shooting. Change that rule to a four-second count or do not restart the count on a dribble – or both. Players would be obligated to attempt to score but they could attempt to score by passing,  not just by one on one play forced onto the game by the shortened shot clock. Adjusting the five-second rule increases offensive activity but the value of team play is not diminished,

Reducing the shot clock will be applauded by Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas, Arizona, and other school that consistently recruit top 20 classes. But for schools with recruiting disadvantages, reducing the shot clock to 30 seconds is a barricade on the road to the Final Four.

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