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How I would change the NCAA rules, since apparently we're set on doing so

I've told you why I think the rules committee is off base; here's what I'd do differently.

Enjoy the Sun Belt Conference, you rotten son of a gun.
Enjoy the Sun Belt Conference, you rotten son of a gun.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

If you were up at 7am this morning, you saw my complaints regarding what rules changes are being kicked around in college basketball. You can still see them, actually; it's not like they expire. If there's one thing young people should take away from this paragraph, it's that the internet is forever. Anyway, check out what I think of the potential rule changes and then get back here. This page will still be waiting for you.

Like my dad used to always say, your brother was an accident nobody likes a whiner. If I'm going to tell people that their ideas for improving the flow of the game are bad, I should probably at least suggest some things that would be better. I'm not sure all the hue and cry about the state of the game is based in any meaningful reality, but it could use its tweaks. Here's what I suggest:

Enforce freedom of movement

Too many college defenses are predicated on a very "they can't call them all" approach to keeping a man in front of you. As long as players are free to slap and grab, the offense is going to need a lot more time to find a decent shot. If an attacking player knows that he can get past his man and be rewarded for his efforts with either a foul drawn or a clean attack, players are going to be more willing to go sooner and coaches are going to plan accordingly.

Cut down on stoppages

There's nothing quite as vexing for a defense as having formulated and executed a really good plan only to see the offense be able to bail out of a bad situation with a timeout. There's nothing that derails the tension of a close/late situation than an endless procession of timeouts for coaches to baby sit players. The fix is simple: don't allow timeouts to be called when the ball is in play. Let the coaches do game prep during practice and let the players play when the chips are down.

Are media timeouts going anywhere? Obviously not, since money is the only thing the NCAA likes better than making arbitrary eligibility rulings. These give coaches four breaks per half to stop and discuss strategy, make personnel changes, and slam down chairs to draw technical fouls. For some reason, teams then also get five additional timeouts with which to wreck the flow of the game, occasionally leading to the dreadful timeout-one play-media timeout sequence.

Cut the number of available timeouts to 3 per game, with only 2 carrying over to the second half. If a timeout is called within 30 seconds of the scheduled media timeout, it replaces the media timeout. Games will flow better, coaches will be a lot more judicious about grinding the thing to a halt, and the final minute of a close contest might be able to wrap in less than half an hour.

Eliminate the #RefShow

Anyone with Google and free time can find a slew of horrible officiating decisions from last season, not all of which were limited to poor enforcement of the rules. Officials seem dead set on doing whatever it takes to make sure they get on TV. I'd address this in a couple of different ways. First, I'd hold refs accountable for bad decisions. Blown calls can change the course of a game, and a game can change the course of a season. If a ref shows he's not capable of handling the responsibility of controlling the floor, he can go call games in the Atlantic Sun.

I'd also give one minute for video review. If you can't tell from looking for a minute, there's not enough there to change the call. Timing decisions would only need to be accurate to within a second; there's nothing more frustrating for the fans than watching three 55-year-old men huddle around a monitor for five minutes before changing the time on the clock from 58.1 to 58.3. Ballpark it and let's go.


Throw any or all of these three things into play and you come out with a more entertaining product that doesn't change the actual rules of the game. Remember, more scoring doesn't necessarily mean a better product, and hurrying possessions can easily lead to higher-scoring but uglier games. Instead, let's eliminate some of the choppiness that has infiltrated the game due to the demands of television (I'm not complaining or being a Luddite here; I love watching basketball) and see if less stopping and more playing doesn't make the whole thing a little easier on the eyes.