The NCAA men's basketball rules committee couldn't get enough support to even vote on reducing the 35-second shot clock, but it did take the dramatic step of introducing more replay at the end of regulation and overtime to ensure out-of-bounds and shot-clock violation calls are made correctly.
Rules committee chair John Dunne, the head coach at St. Peter's in New Jersey, said Thursday after concluding the three-day meeting in Indianapolis that surveys of coaches in Division I, II and III failed to bring a consensus on whether to change the shot clock.
"There wasn't a vote taken since it was a 50-50 split, so we felt it wasn't the right time to go in that direction," Dunne said.
The 12-person committee had 11 members present and voted on changing the replay rules, as well as adjusting the elbow-clearing rule and block/charge clarification.
Pending approval from the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will meet on a conference call on June 18, these rules will go into effect for the 2013-14 season.
Dunne said there was a lengthy discussion to allow officials to go to the monitor in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime to determine who should retain possession for a play out of bounds. The original proposal was for the last minute.
"We felt that two minutes was better than one minute," Dunne said. "Obviously, a possession with 1:10 left is just as important as one with just under a minute left."
Officials now also can go to the monitor during that time frame to check on shot-clock violations. Art Hyland, the secretary editor of the men's rules committee, said the committee looked at the end of the Vanderbilt-Kentucky game in Nashville, Tenn., this past January when Nerlens Noel beat the shot clock and the game with a decisive basket. But officials couldn't check if the shot clock had gone off under the old rules.
"We didn't have that rule to check to see if the ball had left the shooter's hands in time," Hyland said. "Now you can do that in the last two minutes."
Officials also can go to the monitor immediately in the final four minutes of a game and overtime to see if a shot was a 2- or 3-pointer. In the past, officials had to wait until the next TV timeout to check but would signal to the scorer's table what the official called (a two- or 3-pointer). But Hyland said sometimes there wasn't a TV timeout until the final minute or two minutes of a game, and the rules committee didn't want to wait that long. The Big Ten experimented with this rule this past season. Now an official can stop in the final four minutes and immediately review it.
Hyland said it is a thin line as to whether officials should rely too much on technology to get the calls right.
"This will allow officials to finish the game correctly," Hyland said.
The change to the elbow rule gives officials the opportunity to adjust if the player is making a basketball play and inadvertently hits a player.
An official can call a flagrant foul 1, a flagrant foul 2, a player control foul, or if the official goes to the monitor, he can wipe the foul away if he sees no contact. In the past, once a call was made, the official couldn't erase the call or just call a player-control foul.
Dunne said NCAA coordinator of officials John Adams said officials will still emphasize that an offensive player can't rip through a play high and have the elbow make contact.
"Some people think the offensive player is entitled to space," Hyland said. "The defender is allowed to come as close to an offensive player short of contact. The offensive player doesn't have the right to create more space."
The block/charge call was also adjusted.
In the past, Hyland said the official had to judge if the defender was in front of the offensive player with his two feet down and facing the offensive player. He also had to determine if the offensive player had left the court before the defensive player was set.
Now, Hyland said the defensive player cannot move into the space once the offensive player has started his upward motion with the ball.
"We think this will allow the official to make the call correctly and perhaps increase the scoring," Hyland said. "If you call a charge, then the ball is taken away. If it's a block, then the player gets to the line or could convert a three-point play. If that happens two or three times a game that's seven or eight points more in a game."
Hyland said by moving it to when the dribbler begins his upward motion for a shot or a pass, it pushes back a few steps to allow the official more time to make the call. He said this may lead to more blocking calls.
"There will still be blown calls," Dunne said. "We're trying to make it easier for the refs. It is very difficult for the officials to see when the defender is in legal guarding position before the dribble took off. We looked at a lot of plays in slow motion. Everyone is aware that these are close."
The next year the rules committee can change rules will be spring 2015.