The NCAA rules committee and officials have tweaked a rule in the wake of Marcus Smart's confrontation with a Texas Tech fan earlier this month, with a flagrant noncontact foul 2 and ejection now given to a player who goes into the stands.
The NCAA sent out a memo to all coordinators acknowledging the change Monday, when the rule went into effect.
"The clear intent of Rule 10-1.3.h is to prevent players from leaving the playing court and becoming involved in verbal, physical or any other type of confrontation with fans, team followers, mascots or band members," the memo said of the rule change.
When Smart, the Oklahoma State star, went into the stands and pushed Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr with six seconds left in the Feb. 8 game in Lubbock, he was not given a technical foul for entering the stands, nor was he ejected. He was given a technical for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Smart was subsequently suspended by the team for three games. He is eligible to return Saturday against the Red Raiders in Stillwater.
"We didn't have a rule to cover it," Big 12 coordinator of officials Curtis Shaw said.
John Adams, the national coordinator of officials, referred all questions to Shaw on the matter.
Shaw told ESPN on Feb. 8 that the officials in the Texas Tech-Oklahoma State game didn't have jurisdiction to eject Smart.
"We had a rule that if a player left the court in order to participate in a fight but not one to interact with the fans," Shaw said. "We discussed that the rule was intended to cover [a player interaction with a fan], but it wasn't in there. Now if any player leaves the court to have a physical altercation with a fan, it is a flagrant 2 and an automatic ejection."