Calling it a safety issue, the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee recommended Wednesday that a restricted area arc three feet from the center of the basket be clearly marked on the court beginning next season, pending final NCAA approval in June.
Noting that many coaches and administrators favor having the visual mark on the floor, Notre Dame coach and rules committee chair Mike Brey said the data and feedback received made it a unanimous decision to mark an area where it is illegal for secondary defenders to take charges.
Illinois coach Bruce Weber, whose team annually hands out an award for the player who takes the most charges, said adding the restricted arc would provide a much-needed visual tool for helping the officials do their jobs.
"I would hope the officials are in favor on it," Weber told ESPN.com. "It's such a hard call, and I know they're going to have to take some time and make sure the feet are outside of the line, but in the long run, it makes it easier on them. And it protects kids. I like it. It's a good thing.
"We try to take charges and take pride in it. I hope it makes it easier on the officials. That's the most important thing. There's so much they have to watch and call."
Weber said he has attended NBA games and seen how the restricted arc helped officials. "They blow the whistle, but they don’t run out and make the call," he said. "They visualize it and help each other."
The restricted area has generated plenty of discussion in recent years. In 2009, the NCAA created an unmarked area directly under the basket where defenders could not take charges. This season, the committee experimented with a restricted area arc drawn two feet from the center of the basket that was used during multi-team events in the early season and also exhibition games.
"The data and feedback indicated that two feet wasn't enough, but it helped remove some plays at the basket," Brey said in a statement.
Another recommendation made by the committee on Wednesday could also help the referees make the correct calls. It would allow coaches to request monitor reviews by officials at any time during the game. Requesting a review regarding whether a shot should be credited for two points or three was offered as an example.
Part of that recommendation comes with an NFL-style system. If a replay shows the coach made a request for a replay that proved him to be incorrect, the team would be charged a timeout. The coach would be able to challenge a call without a timeout, but if the coach is wrong in that case, the team would be assessed a technical foul.
"I just hope the [officials] get it right," Weber said. "That's the biggest thing. We don't want the games to be forever, but we as a staff put in 340 days per year. If one call could be made right by a monitor for 15 to 20 seconds, it's worth all the effort, that little extra time."