Last month, the NCAA surveyed coaches, administrators, officials, and select media about possible rule changes for men’s basketball, ranging from moving to six fouls (with conditions) to limiting the number of timeouts and free throws in the final two minutes. According to Matt Norlander, the rules committee is meeting this week in Indianapolis to review the proposed changes and decide which to recommend to the Playing Rules Oversight Panel to be voted on next month.
You can read all of the proposed rule changes here, but based on conversations with people in the know, Norlander breaks down which he expects will be recommended, which will be tossed out, and which could be tested out in the NIT for two years. Some are gimmes, like allowing coaches to use laptops and tablets on the bench and changing the traveling rules to allow Euro steps, spin moves, and step backs. Others, like widening the lane and eliminating the five- and ten-second rules, are unlikely to move forward. Norlander said the committee’s biggest debates will probably center around the “quasi quarter” proposal, which would eliminate the one-and-one free throw, and the modified six-foul rule.
Who not just move to quarters altogether? Norlander says the answer is simple: TV contracts.
Men’s college basketball is broadcast by many networks and none of the contracts’ expiration dates align in a concurrent timeline the way the recently signed NFL deal works across all networks. (The existence of conferences compound the dilemma.) Because TV networks make money off college basketball games through television ads, there is a structure in place for commercials in each half at the first whistle under 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00. To change the structure of the game you’d need television partners to agree and rework their contracts simultaneously.
Multiple sources said it’s not financially feasible to change this right now because the contracts already build in advertising fees based on the current game template. This is a knot that can’t be untied given the current media environment, with more than 2,000 games broadcast on traditional television each season.
Money talks. For more, click the link below.