Rules committee boss: Men's college hoops headed for 30-second shot clock

ByAndy Katz ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Men's basketball is likely heading toward reducing its shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds, NCAA rules committee chairman Rick Byrd told on Monday.

Byrd, the coach at Belmont, said a year ago that there was a 5 percent chance of the change happening, but he changed his tone Monday.

"Now there's a real decent chance," Byrd said. "It's pretty evident a lot more coaches are leaning that way. The opinion of coaches on the shot clock has moved significantly to reducing it from 35 to 30. And all indicators are pointing toward that."

The rules committee will meet May 12-15 in Indianapolis and review all the data and surveys on the matter from this past season. The NIT, CBI and CIT postseason tournaments all experimented with the 30-second shot clock this past March. The rules committee can change rules every odd year.

"I think it's fair to say the buzz about the game is that scoring in the 50s can be ugly," Byrd said. "There's a lot of talk about it -- more coverage than ever before. All of that has created acceptance from the coaches' side."

Byrd said coaches, fans and media are expecting the rules committee to do something that impacts scoring.

"There's not a lot we can do unless we rewrite the rules," he said. "There will be pressure to do something, and one of those things to do is to lower the shot clock to 30. I think that would improve the pace of play."

The rules committee is made up of a cross section of people from all levels of the NCAA: Hillsdale College athletic director Don Brubacher, Caldwell College athletic director and coach Mark Corinne, Akron's Keith Dambrot, Florida State deputy athletic director Karl Hicks, Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson, Marshall associate athletic director Jeff O'Malley, SUNY Cobleskill athletic director Kevin McCarthy, Erskine College coach and athletic director Mark Peeler, LIU coach Jack Perri, Southwestern University (Texas) coach and assistant athletic director William Raleigh and La Verne coach Richard Reed.

Art Hyland, the secretary of the rules committee from the NCAA, and outgoing NCAA coordinator of officials John Adams as well as a current official have been in the room advising but have no voting privileges. Byrd said he would like to see an official have voting power.

Byrd said he was more in favor of keeping the shot clock at 35 seconds but added that in college basketball, there is a tendency to waste 15 seconds before there is an effort to score.

"There's a lot of inactivity in some coaches' approach to offense," he said. "I do think the shot clock would help with that. There would be more flow."

Byrd said there will be discussion on widening the lane and the 3-point shot distance, but he doesn't expect any action on those two. He said one of the main reasons is that they involve changing lines on the floor, and a number of college courts are being redone in the spring for summer and fall use.

"When you start talking about lines on the floor, there is almost always experimenting before they change it," Byrd said. "You can't go from no serious discussion in May to changing the width of the lane. These are rules for all divisions, junior colleges and NAIA. These need to be done well in advance."

Byrd said he does expect the block/charge arc to go from 3 to 4 feet to be in line with the NBA. He said if needed, that arc can be taped on the floor, as it has been during experimentation.

"I would say there is a great chance, 90 percent chance of that happening," he said. "It's just common sense. It's harder now for a player to get in position to draw a charge. A whole lot of people don't like the block/charge situation."

Byrd said the use of replay and timeouts will also be discussed, including whether or not to review shot-clock violations. Wisconsinbenefited in the national semifinal against Kentuckywhen Nigel Hayes converted a shot after the shot clock appeared to have expired to the TV audience. But the play wasn't reviewable and the basket broke a tie. Wisconsin won the game before losing to Dukein the national title game.

Byrd said it would be difficult to review all shot-clock violations, but he may offer up an alternative of only reviewing made baskets.

"If there is a miss, it's easy to say play on,'' he said. "No one wants more replay."

Byrd said coaches have told him the game is too physical and too rough. He said that will come up quite a bit in the meeting.

Byrd also said there will be discussion about altering the timeout rule to create better flow. He said he would like to mimic the rule in women's basketball where if a coach calls a timeout within 30 seconds of a media timeout, then that becomes the TV timeout.

He said too often coaches will call a timeout, knowing they are getting a media timeout 15 seconds later, and that creates an even longer downtime for the fans in the stands and the TV audience.

"You can have the last few minutes take 20 minutes," Byrd said. "It doesn't bother coaches, but it does for those watching at home and in the arena. We need to try to get the games within two-hour windows."

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