Saturday, April 01, 2023

THE CHEAP SEATS with STEVE CAMERON: NCAA's ideas on hoops rule changes are a real flop

| May 10, 2021 1:10 AM

Do we really need more rule changes in college basketball?


Sometimes, the NCAA and its rules committee just can’t leave well enough alone.

Their hearts are in the right place (we think), but the constant fiddling frustrates officials, players and fans.

So, instead of making games better — and quicker, in most cases — new interpretations make everyone stop to think.

Is this a violation under the updated rules?

Maybe a Class 2 technical foul?

Am I SURE the play in question falls into a new category?


Pass the Tylenol.

Trying to remember all the nuances that the committee recommends and the NCAA adopts (while some others go into the experimental phase), is so difficult that after half a season, you’ve ground your teeth into powder.

That brings us to tweaks for the 2021-22 season, the first of which is going to cause problems, at best, and some others (still on hold) that might make you howl at the moon.

FOR SOME reason, the committee has now become obsessed with flopping.

You know, a guy in the post takes a bump from someone spinning to take (or fake) a shot.

The defender flies backward and goes down like he’s been shot by a sniper from the fifth row.

Under current rules, an official who thinks that defensive player was spoofing to draw a charge can issue a “flop warning.”

If you get two of them, you can be thrown out.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of college basketball, watched plenty of flops that drew warnings — and I haven’t seen ONE player try that soccer-style, “My God, I’m dying!” flop to the floor a second time.

Not once.

Have you?

Apparently, the NCAA has watched a bellyful of it, although I’d love to see the evidence.

The following quote is straight from the NCAA’s press release on changing the flop rule, which now has gone from the warning stage to an automatic technical foul (but with NO personal foul attached)…

“After two years of using warnings, we didn’t feel like we were getting the results that we wanted,” said Tad Boyle, committee chair and head coach at Colorado.

“We are trying to get flopping out of our game. We’re asking the officials to call them when they happen.”

The rules committee has offered up some other experimental changes (six fouls for disqualification instead of five) and others to be implemented by individual conferences — like technology such as laptops and tablets allowed on the bench area “for coaching purposes only.”


What else would you do with a tablet on the bench during live play?

Change a bet at Caesar’s or the MGM?

THE BIG one will turn out to be the flop call, simply because it forces officials to read a player’s mind.

Dangerous territory.

If life isn’t tough enough already with the charge/block call that winds up correct less than half the time, now we have a cousin to that.

When you think about it, a player trying to stop a two-on-one break by stepping in front of a potential dunker could get called for both violations in the same millisecond — a block AND a flop.

Once that happens, Jay Bilas will forget that he’s gone bald and begin tearing at his scalp.

But listen…

The craziness could have been worse.

Sources close to the rules committee say that there was discussion of legalizing what is now traveling — in certain circumstances.

This would be an attempt to mimic the NBA, which is stupid on the face of it.

Of the top 20 sports events in TV ratings over the past year, exactly none were NBA games.

Meanwhile, the Zags' battle with UCLA in the Final Four drew the largest non-football sports audience since the World Series.

College hoops is hot.

Fans love it.

AND YET, in a thought process I do not understand, the rules people seem to believe spectators enjoy watching James Harden turn a step-back 3-pointer into FOUR steps before releasing the ball — with no penalty.

The NCAA didn’t pull the trigger on that change, but supposedly there was serious chat about allowing a “gather step” (otherwise known as traveling, kids), so that super-fancy ballhandlers can have their violations legalized.

That’s just silly.

Among other idiotic reasons, it’s changing the game of basketball to, like…

Uh, something else.

Perhaps eventually it will be like rugby, with all that physical contact allowed by the six-foul rule, and players running five or six steps with the ball — as long as they pass it backwards.


Look, why don’t we have a serious, honest-to-goodness attempt to call the block/charge correctly before 
we add the “James Harden Shuffle,” eh?

More painkillers, nurse.



Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns appear in The Press on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Moments, Memories and Madness,” his reminiscences from several decades as a sports journalist, runs each Sunday.

Steve also writes Zags Tracker, a commentary on Gonzaga basketball which is published monthly during the offseason.

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