Getting a handle on the new replay rule

May, 5, 2011
The men's basketball rules committee looked at the use of replay at its meetings this week in Indianapolis and recommended expanding the use of the monitor -- but still not for what the rule book deems judgment calls.

The wording on the NCAA news release is confusing and leaves a perception that the head coach can challenge calls like in the NFL. That's not the case.

The committee recommended that the coaches should be able to request a review of a call during a game, but in a limited amount of situations. The example given in the release is about a 2-point or 3-point shot that the official may have missed. If the replay were to show that the coach was wrong, then his team would be assessed a timeout. If that team had no more timeouts, then the team would be assessed a technical.

Coaches still cannot request the official to go to the monitor for a judgment call, such as an out-of-bounds issue, a traveling call or a regular foul. Here's what the NCAA rule book says are "correctable" errors:

• Failing to award a merited free throw.
• Awarding an unmerited free throw.
• Permitting a wrong player to attempt a free throw.
• Permitting a player to attempt a free throw at the wrong basket.
• Erroneously counting or canceling a score.

Officials can go to the monitor to review flagrant fouls, free throws, scoring (a 2- or 3-pointer) or timing to see if the game clock or shot clock malfunctioned.

The rule book specifically spells out that officials cannot go to the monitor for judgment calls such as to determine who committed a foul (unless it is flagrant), determine whether there was basket interference or goaltending, or determine whether a violation occurred. That has not changed.

"What this was for is to say to an official, 'I think it was a 3,' and then the official can check,'' said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who is the chair of the rules committee. "We don't want to go to the monitor like in the NFL. We don't want them going to it all the time.''

Rutgers coach Mike Rice was against any form of replay before he experienced the end of his team's game against St. John's at this year's Big East tournament, when there were multiple violations missed by the officiating crew in the final seconds.

The Red Storm's Justin Brownlee took steps, went out of bounds and threw the ball into the stands in the final seconds of the second-round game at Madison Square Garden. Officials Tim Higgins, Earl Walton and Jim Burr ran off the court without noticing or acknowledging any of the mistakes. St. John's won the game 65-63 and the offseason began for Rutgers.

"Before, I was against [the use of replay] because of the pace of the game,'' Rice said. "But after what happened to me at the end of the year, I would be for it.''

However, Brey said the example of the St. John's-Rutgers game doesn't apply in this interpretation.

"That game was over, those weren't correctable,'' Brey said. "You couldn't go back to those. What we've had in the past is that while the official is checking to see if it was a 2 or a 3 is that you end up getting a 30-second timeout. Now, if you're wrong, you'll be charged that timeout.''

Rice said he'd likely be in favor of such crucial plays as the Big East gaffe being challengeable by coaches, but also admits to being conflicted about the situation.

"Having gone through something so bizarre,'' Rice said, "I would probably want to do it [go to the monitor for judgment calls]. But maybe only for conference tournaments or playoffs. I worry about the game. You want it to still be visually pleasing and not change the pace of the game for the fans.''

[+] Enlarge
Kyle Singler Darius Johnson-Odom
Denny Medley/US PresswireThis play in last season's Duke vs. Marquette game was called a charge. It won't be in the future.

The recommendations, which also include a 3-foot block/charge arc for the men and women -- which colleague Jay Bilas explains in great detail here -- still have to go through the rules oversight committee next month to be implemented into the NCAA rule book. The women also adopted the men's 3-point line of 20-feet, 9-inches, back a foot from its previous distance, which should clear up confusion with multiple lines on the court.

"Having one line will really help," Brey said. "It was confusing before."

The rules committee also discussed permitting head coaches to call timeouts only during dead-ball situations, and thus avoiding the calling of a TO during a loose-ball scrum, when it's often confusing as to which team has possession. However, this suggestion -- which mirrors a FIBA rule -- was voted down and not passed on to the committee.

A few more news and notes:

• Sunday is the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft. A number of players who are still on the fence about a decision are scheduled to attend New Jersey Nets-sponsored workouts Saturday and Sunday.

The undecided players working out Saturday: Reggie Jackson, BC; Tu Holloway, Xavier; Cory Joseph, Texas; Ashton Gibbs, Pitt; Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara; DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky; Scotty Hopson, Tennessee; Kim English, Missouri; Hollis Thompson, Georgetown; John Shurna, Northwestern; Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State; Olu Ashaolu, Louisiana Tech; Carleton Scott, Notre Dame; Reggie Johnson, Miami.

The undecided players working out Sunday: Isaiah Thomas, Washington; Kevin Jones, West Virginia and Ralph Sampson III, Minnesota.

The Nets plan on running through the players (and there will be plenty of others there who are either seniors or already in the draft as underclassmen) through a series of drills, three-on-two and five-on-five.

• The Big East meets May 23-25 in Florida and one of the key agenda items will be whether the conference tournament should stay at 16 teams when the league expands to 17 in 2013 with the addition of TCU. According to a number of coaches, the expectation is that it will go back down to 12. This past season, national champ UConn won five games in five days to win the Big East tournament.

Rutgers' Rice said he wasn't in favor of a proposal that would call for the top four teams to play the bottom four on the first day.

"I like it the way it is,'' Rice said. "We had a chance to win two games under the current format.''

Brey said he proposed having No. 16 play No. 17 on Sunday or Monday and then the winner joining the other 15 in New York. But he said there is a strong movement to go back to only 12 being in New York for the tournament. The question will be whether the presidents go along with the change and run the risk of not being able to entertain key boosters in New York City during the event.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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