NCAA proposes tougher penalties

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA is recommending tougher penalties for players who throw elbows, and women's teams could be experimenting with a longer 3-point line next season.

The decisions were announced Wednesday, one day after the men's and women's Basketball Rules committees completed their spring meetings. All the proposals must still be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel next month.

If the new elbow rule passes, referees would be required to call a flagrant or intentional foul for anything more than incidental elbow contact above the shoulders. Last season, officials had the discretion to call either a flagrant or common foul for the contact. Common fouls could still be called if the contact is below the shoulders.

A flagrant foul would give the opponent two free throws and possession of the ball. A flagrant foul would also lead to the player's ejection.

If approved, it would apply to both men's and women's basketball.

"Excessive swinging of the elbows is something both committees felt strongly about penalizing differently," said former Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, the men's committee chairman. "We both feel we have a significant safety concern, and there are other ways to make a basketball play that does not include swinging or throwing an elbow, especially above the shoulders."

Committee members are hoping the new rule will reduce elbows, in much the same manner tighter restrictions on fighting have affected college basketball.

The women's committees also recommended experimental use of the men's 3-point line during all exhibition games and scrimmages that simulate a 40-minute game. The men's line is established at 20 feet, 9 inches. The women's arc is at 19 feet, 9 inches.

"The committee reviewed the pros and cons of moving the three-point line back to 20 feet, 9 inches," said committee chairwoman Amy Backus, senior associate director of athletics at Yale. "The data collected from all three divisions supports the fact that more than 60 percent of 3-point shots are being taken from behind the men's line with comparable shooting percentages. This experimental rule will allow the committee to augment data for future consideration."

The committee also discussed adding the 10-second rule to the women's game, and a survey of coaches showed a split on whether the rule should be changed.

For now, it will remain the same as the women's committee gathers more feedback.

The men's committee is also recommending experimental use of an arc, like that used in the NBA, making it illegal for a secondary defender to take a charge under the basket. The arc would be two feet from the center of the basket. If approved, the rule would apply to exhibition games and multi-team tournaments next season.

Lutz said coaches want a visible line on the floor.

Both committees also want officials to call the game as it is written in the rule book.