NCAA rule changes to affect foul calls in 2013-2014

USA TODAY Sports

What wrinkles has the NCAA added this season?

This offseason, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel okayed rule tweaks for the season. Though minor, they will have an effect on how games are called, and ultimately played, this year. With scoring at a thirty year low (teams averaged 67.6 ppg last season), the panel focused on tightening up what defenses could do and giving more leeway to college offenses.

Block/Charge Rule:

The most discussed change concerns a tweak to how charges are called. Previously, to draw a charge, defenders had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player "lifted off the floor."

This wording is now slightly different. A defender must be in legal position by the time the player he is guarding "has started his upward motion" toward a shot or pass. Basically, the defender has to be in position a bit earlier to legally draw a charge. Sorry, Dukies! With the new rule definition, the NCAA hopes to give more freedom to the offense and make the call, which often ends up controversial, an easier one for refs to discern.

Defensive Foul Emphasis:

While not expressly changing the rule book, the NCAA has set the following defensive fouls as points of emphasis to be called this season:

• When a defensive player keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent
• When a defensive player puts two hands on an opponent
• When a defensive player continually jabs by extending his arm(s) and placing a hand or forearm on the opponent
• When a player uses an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent

UVA plays an aggressive style of defense, especially on the interior, and must be careful to avoid the hand checks that will be called more consistently this season. Once again, the goal here was to benefit the offense and aid the refs in making more well-defined (and less judgment-induced) calls.

Reviews:

It's already basically impossible to keep track of what plays are reviewable...and now the following types of plays will be eligible:

  • Shot clock violations in the final two minutes or overtime
  • Out of bounds plays in the final two minutes or overtime
  • Two-point vs. three-point shots (now to be reviewed after the next stoppage, except during the final four minutes or overtime, when it shall be reviewed immediately).
  • On fouls, the refs could look at the monitor to determine which player committed the foul.
  • Flagrant foul calls can be reviewed and overturned on the monitor
Overall, it's the second tweak, involving the defensive hand check point of emphasis, that the Hoos will have to be most cautious of. It takes experience to understand what you can and cannot get away with on the floor, as foul-prone first-years like Evan Nolte showed last season; now, all players will have to re-determine how to appropriately retain the team's aggressive defensive style.

The charge rule change is a good one that will eliminate (or at least reduce) judgment, and hopefully send less Dukies flopping to the court. (One can dream!)
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