NCAA Recommends Change to Charge/Block Rule

Ronald Martinez

After a season where no one really knew what was a charge or block anymore, the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee is basically changing the charge/block rule back to what it was prior to the 2013-14 season.

Via the NCAA:

In order to take a charge, the alteration will require a defending player to be in legal guarding position before the airborne player leaves the floor to pass or shoot. Additionally, the defending player is not allowed to move in any direction before contact occurs (except vertically to block a shot). All rules alterations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to convene via teleconference on June 25. The proposal is allowed in the non-change year under PROP guidelines because the committee believes a new rule requires alteration.

"This alteration will impact block/charge plays in an effort to make this play easier to coach and officiate," said Rick Byrd, head coach at Belmont University and chair of the committee, which met jointly with the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors and the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Committee. "In our discussions, the men’s basketball community, including coaches, officials and administrators, agreed that this rule needed adjustment."

As you may recall, the rule during the 2013-14 season stated that a defender had to be in legal guarding position when the ball handler started his upward motion which was vague and  confusing. Because if there is anything we want for referees like Tony Greene is for the rules to be vague and confusing. /sarcasm.

The rules committee also addressed other areas and even recommended some experimental rules. Two of those were expanding the restricted area from three feet to four feet(matching the NBA) and resetting the shot clock to 25 seconds after any fouls or violations in the front court. At present if the defense commits a foul, the shot clock is reset to the full 35 seconds. Another experimental rule which may be used in the postseason NIT in 2014-15 has to do with team timeouts occurring close to the scheduled media timeout.

Committee members also recommended an experimental rule involving timeouts, with an eye on potentially using this in the Postseason NIT. In this proposal, when a team calls a timeout within 30 seconds of the next scheduled media timeout (first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks), that timeout will become the first media timeout.

For example, when Team A calls a timeout at 16:02 in the first half, there will not be a media timeout at the first dead ball under the 16-minute mark. This would eliminate a stoppage of play without reducing the number of team timeouts.

This rule change makes so much sense I can scarcely believe the NCAA is even considering it. One of the great annoyances in watching a college basketball game is a team timeout followed seconds later by a media timeout.

This rule is interesting because it could change how Roy Williams operates with his timeouts. Williams is often hesitant to use his timeouts because he wants to hold onto them for end-of-game situations. But if UNC needs to stem an opposing teams run and Williams can take a timeout with 12:29 left in the second half instead of waiting for whenever the media timeout might happen would he do it? Of course Williams also operates with the mentality that his teams need to "figure things out" without him calling a timeout so perhaps it wouldn't change much in how he uses his timeouts after all.

Correction: I misunderstood the rule. The point is to eliminate the extra stoppage by piggybacking the media timeout on the team timeout. It does not save a team timeout.

The other possible changes pertained to calling fouls in the post. This is being called an emphasis for 2014-15 and will undoubtedly be abandoned in earnest by mid-January. There is also an adjustment to the review of shot clock violations in the final two minutes which sounds like something that should have been happening anyway. Go figure.

The final step for approval of these changes comes on June 25th when the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel must sign off on them.

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