If the popularity of women's college basketball suffers because it is played below the rim while the men's game soars above it, UConn coach Geno Auriemma has the solution: Lower the rims.
The NCAA should lower the rims 7.2 inches for the women's game, Auriemma told The Hartford (Conn.) Courant this week. The change would boost shooting percentages — and interest in women's hoops, he said.
"What makes fans not want to watch women's basketball is that some of the players can't shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down," Auriemma said.
"How do you help improve that? Lower the rim (from 10 feet). Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women's volleyball than men's volleyball? It's about seven inches shorter so the women have the chance for the same kind of success at the net (as the men)."
"Let's say the average men's player is 6-5 and the average woman is 5-11," Auriemma said. "Let's lower the rim seven inches; let's say 7.2 inches to honor Title IX [instituted in 1972]. If you lower it, the average fan likely wouldn't even notice it.
"Now there would be fewer missed layups because the players are actually at the rim (when they shoot). Shooting percentages go up. There would be more tip-ins."
Auriemma, who has led UConn to seven national championships and 13 Final Four trips, said he will propose the change to the NCAA rules committee, but doesn't believe there's enough support for the change among coaches.