Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle experienced an interesting viewpoint earlier this spring.
As the head of the NCAA men’s basketball rules committee, Boyle enjoyed a front-row seat to some exploratory rules that were in play during the NIT, a competition that saw the Buffaloes reach the quarterfinals before their season ended with a loss at Texas.
Among the experimental rules in play was a longer 3-point line and resetting the shot clock to just 20 seconds following an offensive rebound. Last week, the committee recommended implementing those changes for the 2019-20 season, and on June 5 the Playing Rules Oversight Committee will vote on those proposed changes.
“I think the 3-point line had a lot of different support from a lot of different constituents,” Boyle said. “Not only coaches, but administrators and different people that were on the committee. And there’s been a lot of data that supported it. The big thing the committee talked about was trying to create more spacing in our game. The bodies are getting bigger and longer and more athletic. A lot of people are packing in the defenses.
“The thought is by extending the line, you bring offensive players a little further way from the basket, which brings defensive players further away from the basket and allow more freedom of movement and driving opportunities and it will open the game up more.”
The collegiate 3-point line was moved to its current length of 20 feet, 9 inches before the 2008-09 season, and this year’s proposal will move it to the international distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches. In a small sample size the Buffs’ 3-point percentage dropped in the three NIT games — .316 versus a .323 mark for the season — but they shot .350 in the two home games (14-for-40) before going 4-for-17 in the loss at Texas.
On June 5 the Oversight Committee will vote on a number of other recommendations, including allowing coaches to call live ball timeouts during the last two minutes of regulation or overtime, and expanding replay reviews during those same situations to include goaltending or basket interference reviews.
One experimental rule during the NIT that was passed on for further vote was the use of the wider, international-level lanes. Boyle said after agreeing on the 3-point proposal, the rules committee didn’t want to overreach in the quest of opening up the game.
“A lot of people felt like let’s start with the 3-point line,” Boyle said. “The data is pretty clear on that. We know what the shooting percentages are. We know the number of attempts taken and where those trend lines are going. The wider lane is much more difficult to get data on how it affects the game. We’ve got a great game. The game is in a good place. If we’re going to make changes, let’s make sure they’re the right changes. The one thing I appreciate about the committee is people are reluctant to mess with the game that we have. If we are making changes, let’s be prudent and thoughtful. If the 3-point line and see how that works, and then if the wider lane makes sense later on maybe we’ll come back to it.”