New rule deals with court safety

The days of college basketball players risking injury on slippery court stickers appear to be over.

The NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday approved a rule requiring all courts to be "of a consistent surface."

While the rule does not specifically outlaw sponsor decals, it requires event hosts to display sponsorships and other court markings in ways that do not constitute a change in surface from the hardwood itself, including on baselines and sidelines.

According to the NCAA's release, the change is designed to enhance the safety of players. Many coaches, including Michigan State's Tom Izzo, have been outspoken about the injury risks associated with the inconsistent surfaces often seen at neutral-court events and exempt tournaments.

"They gotta get those things off (the court), man," Izzo told SI.com after November's season-opening Carrier Classic, when freshman guard Brandon Dawson slipped and fell on a sponsor decal. "They're just not safe. Let us wear the sponsor logos. I know we need the sponsors. I want 'em. But it's just too dangerous out there."

Under the NCAA's rule, host game management will be responsible for compliance. The rule allows assigned game officials to suspend play until the court meets the NCAA's new standards.

The rules committee also has asked NCAA staff "to work with appropriate facility managers and court manufacturers to provide resources and best practices to the membership," according to the release.