Tue Jun 09 11:40am EDT
Last week, the world learned of the NCAA's plans in classic Bond-villain strategy: preemptively. But unlike James Bond and his suits and cars and women and gadgets -- Sir Ian Fleming knew how to draw a man-crush of a character, didn't he? -- college basketball fans were powerless to stop it. There was no escaping the NCAA's laser-shark tank, not even with an explosive, martini-pouring pen.
So now we have new rules. Three, in fact. The first: Referees can now look at instant replay to determine flagrant fouls and ejections. Good rule. The second: When a free throw shooter is injured, the opposing coach must now select one of the team's players from the four on court. (Previously, the team's own coach could sub in anyone he wanted.) Another good rule.
The third? Bad rule [the new horrible rule that Eamonn hates]:
Secondary defenders must establish position outside the area between the backboard and the front of the rim to draw a charge call.
Yes, you read that correctly. Last week, the NCAA was going to create a rule that forced referees to determine some sort of imaginary restricted area instead of just painting a semicircle like the NBA. (Why? Because that would take a few years, and they wanted to rush ahead with a rule change now, thanks very much.) That sounded bad enough. Now we know exactly what those referees will be asked to do, and somehow, it's even worse.
Think about it. Block-charge is already nearly impossible to call. Referees, despite our throaty protestations to the contrary, usually do a good job calling it. But now the NCAA is asking them not only to decide correctly between blocks and charges, but also the NCAA wants referees to take into account where the player's feet are -- because that's how you establish position -- in relation to the area between the backboard and the front of the rim. Little, normal-human-sized refs now have to see a 6-foot-8 player's feet, the basket and, oh yeah, whether or not the offensive player was under control, or initiated the contact, or any of the hundreds of other little nuances that make calling blocks and charges incredibly difficult in the first place.
Tremendous rule change! This season is going to be awesome.