The NCAA is recommending tougher penalties for players who throw
elbows, and women’s teams could be experimenting with a longer
3-point line next season.
The decisions were announced Wednesday, one day after the men’s
and women’s Basketball Rules committees completed their spring
meetings. All the proposals must still be approved by the Playing
Rules Oversight Panel next month.
If the new elbow rule passes, referees would be required to call
a flagrant or intentional foul for anything more than incidental
elbow contact above the shoulders. Last season, officials had the
discretion to call either a flagrant or common foul for the
contact. Common fouls could still be called if the contact is below
A flagrant foul would give the opponent two free throws and
possession of the ball. A flagrant foul would also lead to the
If approved, it would apply to both men’s and women’s
“Excessive swinging of the elbows is something both committees
felt strongly about penalizing differently,” said former Charlotte
coach Bobby Lutz, the men’s committee chairman. “We both feel we
have a significant safety concern, and there are other ways to make
a basketball play that does not include swinging or throwing an
elbow, especially above the shoulders.”
Committee members are hoping the new rule will reduce elbows, in
much the same manner tighter restrictions on fighting has affected
The women’s committees also recommended experimental use of the
men’s 3-point line during all exhibition games and scrimmages that
simulate a 40-minute game. The men’s line is established at 20
feet, 9 inches. The women’s arc is at 19 feet, 9 inches.
“The committee reviewed the pros and cons of moving the
three-point line back to 20 feet, 9 inches,” said committee
chairwoman Amy Backus, senior associate director of athletics at
Yale. “The data collected from all three divisions supports the
fact that more than 60 percent of three-point shots are being taken
from behind the men’s line with comparable shooting percentages.
This experimental rule will allow the committee to augment data for
The committee also discussed adding the 10-second rule to the
women’s game, and a survey of coaches showed a split on whether the
rule should be changed.
For now, it will remain the same as the women’s committee
gathers more feedback.
The men’s committee is also recommending experimental use of an
arc, like that used in the NBA, making it illegal for a secondary
defender to take a charge under the basket. The arc would be 2 feet
from the center of the basket. If approved, the rule would apply to
exhibition games and multi-team tournaments next season.
Lutz said coaches want a visible line on the floor.
Both committees also want officials to call the game as it is
written in the rule book.