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Men’s Basketball Rules Committee Recommends Extending Three-Point Line Starting in 2008


INDIANAPOLIS – After years of study and consideration, the Men’s Basketball Rules Committee voted to recommend extending the three-point line to 20 feet, 9 inches starting with the 2008-09 season. The dimensions of the lane will remain unchanged.

“We believe this alteration will provide more space between the perimeter players and post players,” said Larry Keating, chair and senior associate athletics director at the University of Kansas. “There has been a tremendous amount of data collection and discussion on this issue and we believe this is the best option for the game and its future.”

The Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, which met concurrently with the men’s committee in Indianapolis May 1-3, will maintain the current three-point line, which is 19 feet, 9 inches from the basket.

“Our committee supports the efforts of the men’s committee to improve its game,” said Ronda Seagraves, chair of the women’s committee and associate athletics director at Southwestern University (Texas). “At this time, the current court dimensions are meeting the needs of the women’s game, and we did not feel a change would be good for our game.”

The proposal and all recommendations from the committees are not final until approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will meet by conference call May 25.

The proposed change to the three-point line comes following the 20th year of the line’s implementation, which was first introduced into men’s intercollegiate play for the 1986-87 season. The men’s committee began studying a longer three-point shot in 1996 with an experimental rule. Since that time, the committee has tested the line at both 20 feet, 6 inches, the distance used in International competition, and 20 feet, 9 inches, which is one foot removed from the current line. Experimental data collected by the men’s committee over the last decade indicates that shooting percentages will not be significantly different from the extended distances.

“Since the three-point line was implemented, the game has changed,” Keating said. “The student-athletes playing are bigger and stronger and we need to adjust for that. The data we have collected since 1996 helped the committee make an informed decision.”

The one-year implementation period is required by the NCAA to allow for member institutions to make adjustments to their court markings. Playing rules are the same for Divisions I, II and III.

The women’s committee approved its points of emphasis for the upcoming season. Displacement, traveling, unsportsmanlike behavior and legal guarding position are the areas the committee will direct women’s officials to pay particular attention to next season.

On the men’s side, the committee will focus on the block or charge call, particularly near the goal; coaches’ behavior and enforcement of the coaching box; rough post play; and palming the ball.

In other significant men’s actions, the committee:

* Voted to alter its free throw alignment. This change will eliminate the first lane space nearest the basket on each side of the lane and using the present second, third and fourth lane space on each side of the lane as an alignment for free throws.
* Will allow the use of the courtside monitor to determine whether a flagrant foul occurred and require the use of the monitor to assess the situation if a fight is declared.

The women’s committee also approved a recommendation to rewrite its rules that cover technical fouls. The guideline about the legal guarding position under the basket will be deleted, making the legal guarding position the same for the entire court.


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