The NCAA rules committee suggested and the oversight panel approved many rules for the 2015-16 season. Some will directly impact the game; some will never be known to the public.
Take Rule 10-2.1.a, for example. Teams will no longer be penalized for “the failure to have a proper division line and center circle.” If you were unaware that such a rule existed until this year, you have plenty of company.
After combing through the serious and not-so-urgent rules that were approved, here are the top 10 benefits to the changes:
1. Thirty-second shot clock
Trimming the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 is the rule change that college basketball fans will recognize in a hurry. It’s the first change in the shot clock since the 1993-94 season and should, in theory, bring faster play and more scoring to a game that has become stagnant in recent years. (The 2012-13 season scoring dipped to an all-time low of 67.5 points per game.) Teams that play at a deliberate pace will still try to milk the clock; they’ll just have five fewer seconds than they used to have to do it. And that’s a good thing.
2. Dunking in warm-ups
The ban on dunking during pregame and halftime warm-ups was a bit of an obscure rule anyway, especially after reading the rationale listed for changing it: “Current restriction no longer needed with today’s equipment.” Its elimination could give fans reason to pay attention when they’d otherwise be waiting at the concession stand or idling on their smartphones. Realistically, no coaches are going to allow their players to turn it into a mini-dunk contest, yet it’ll be another element of fun for the game.
3. No future in frontin’
Flopping and a player favorite, the fake head-whip in an attempt to draw a foul, will now be considered a Class A technical foul (two shots). The caveat to this rule is officials can only call it while using instant replay to review potential flagrant fouls. The rule would be better if an official could just call a technical for fake fouls without the use of a monitor, but it’s still progress. Too many players resort to faking because they’ve gotten away with it, and this will help put a stop to that.
4. Expanded arc
There was nothing worse than seeing a defender rewarded with a charge call for basically standing under the basket. The restricted area arc had grown from three feet to four -- matching the NBA distance -- which should give a little more breathing room for offensive players and bring some more space in the paint.
5. Wave off the basket
We’ll no longer see plays where an offensive player scores, but is also called for a charging foul. And a byproduct of this rule will eliminate the defensive team in that situation from also being rewarded free throws as a result of the foul. From here out a charge is a charge. No basket. No free throws. No controversy.
6. Get back to action
Ever notice how teams take their sweet time breaking huddles or when a player fouls out, seems like another full timeout is taking place before a sub from the bench enters the game? No more with the new rules. Teams have 15 seconds instead of 20 seconds to make a substitution after a disqualification. When teams are prone to drag out huddles, officials will first issue a warning and then have the option of slapping them with a one-shot technical foul each additional offense for being too slow to resume play.
7. Not a second more than 10
Once the officials begin counting down 10 seconds to advance the ball past half court, there will be no reset. Teams can no longer bail themselves out with a timeout that gives them another 10 seconds to advance. It’s another change that will benefit strong defense, and the long-overdue change could end up being a benefit for teams that love to press.
8. "Closely guarded" eliminated
Did anyone really ever understand the five-second closely guarded rule? Better yet, could anyone really guess when it was going to be called? Granted, it’s one less rule that rewards a good defender, but its enforcement was so random anyway that this is one rule that won’t be missed.
9. Timeouts at a premium
Coaches can no longer call timeouts during live-ball situations. They’ll also have one fewer to use (four total for the game) and only three in the second half. Hopefully this will help eliminate the eye-rolling practice of having games that are already decided extended by timeouts.
10. More logos
Traditionalists who long for the days of one, single uniform combination will start hating this age even more. Seven rules pertaining to the use of logos on either jerseys, shorts or arm/leg sleeves were approved, including the use of an institutional logo. Nike, Adidas and Under Armor have one more tweak they can add to alternate uniforms. Hopefully the fashion police will note more hits than misses with another creative avenue for uniforms opening up.