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It's official - NCAA approves changes for men's basketball

After seeing scoring drop to near historic lows in the 2014-15 season, the NCAA has adopted some rule changes for the upcoming men's basketball season.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I wrote about was the rules changes recently approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP - I love the inherent irony of that!) for women's basketball. Of course, the rules committee couldn't leave the men's game unscathed. How would they justify their stipends? Testudo Times' Grant Whittington wrote about the proposed changes and if you've read his story, the overall content below Will Likely not  surprise you. What Grant's story lacked was, I think, the appropriate degree of snark. That will be my main contribution.

After rules changes prior to the 2013-14 season, the panel saw its aim of better balance between offense and defense fall by the wayside for the season just ended. In Division I men's basketball for the season that ended in April, scoring fell to 67.6 points per game - a figure close to historic lows.

First and foremost - The pace of play rule part one

Boom! The men's game has finally caught up with the women's game and will institute a 30 second shot clock. The women's game installed a 30 second shot in the 1969-70 season when it was still governed by the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Yet, even after such games as Maryland's 31-30 overtime win against South Carolina in 1971 or even worse an 11-6 win by Tennessee over Temple in 1973, the men's game needed another dozen years to move to a 45 second shot clock for the 1985-86 season.

Eight seasons later, in the 1993-94 season, they shaved 10 seconds off that limit reducing it to 35 seconds. And there it ticked for over two decades. Well, beginning with the 2015-16 season, the men will now have to attempt a shot in the same length of time as the women have had since 1969.

The pace of play rule part two - You're on a timeout, young man

As is presently the case, teams will start the game with five timeouts. However, unlike the present situation, only three can carryover to the second half as opposed to the current four. While this will arithmetically improve the pace in the second half whether coaches will simply use the timeouts in the first half (as they do with the one use it or lose it timeout now) remains to be seen.

Next, teams will be forced to break their timeout huddles quickly because referees have been directed to see that play resumes promptly at the end of a timeout. The have the authority to issue a delay of game warning on the first violation and a one shot technical foul on any subsequent violation.

There will be some merging of media timeouts and called timeouts. If a team calls timeout within 30 seconds of a scheduled break becomes the media timeout. Similarly, a called timeout after a missed scheduled media timeout will also become the media timeout.

Coaches can no longer call a timeout when the ball is live and will only have 15 seconds rather than the current 20 seconds to replace a disqualified player. (Of course, simply prohibiting a coach from gathering the team at the bench and using the replacement time as a de facto timeout is too simple and practical solution to this problem.)

The violating the arrow of time rule

The next piece of timekeeping changes concern the 10 second backcourt violation and five second closely guarded rule when a player is dribbling. The latter has simply been eliminated.

With regard to the 10 second count to move the ball into the front court, the NCAA release says a team will have a total of 10 seconds (with a few exceptions) to advance the ball to the front court but fails to specify the exceptions.

Expanding the Area-51 rule

The PROP approved the expansion of the restricted-area arc from three feet to four feet. Division I will see the expanded arc in the 2015-16 season. Divisions II and III will have one extra season to implement this change.

The 2015 postseason NIT used a four foot restricted-area arc. This resulted in a reduction of just over three-quarters of a foul reduction in the number of block / charge fouls when compared with the 2013 NIT which had the smaller restricted-area.

The they had to wait until Maryland left the ACC change this rule rule

I'm going  simply copy this one from the official NCAA release because it's one that any self-respecting, Duke hating Maryland fan has clamored for for years:

"During the use of a video review to see if a possible flagrant foul occurred, the panel approved a rule that would allow officials to penalize players who fake fouls. The NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee felt that players trying to draw fouls by deception is a growing issue."

Really, NCAA? It's only taken you 35 years of Duke flops to determine the NCAA needed this rule!

The rest of the story

Two other minor changes and one earth shattering one that has college fans breathless in an-ti-ci-pation remain. First, class B technical fouls (such as hanging on the rim or delay of game) have been reduced to one shot fouls from the current two shots. Second, officials can now review a potential shot clock violation on a made field goal at any point during the play of the game.

But, and after more than 800 words on the subject, I know this is the confirmation you have longed for. Because they say it so eloquently, I will use the NCAA's own words (italics added) to tell you that they have removed: "the prohibition on dunking in pregame warmups and at halftime."

Hallelujah and Amen, Brother!

Story republished with permission of Terp Talk.