Sun, Nov 06, 2016 - Page 12 News List

College basketball coaches call for consistent rules


The Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, center, tries to pass the ball between the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, left, and Iman Shumpert in their NBA game in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday.

Photo: AP

James Naismith created the original 13 rules for “basket ball” in 1892, outlining the method of scoring, what constitutes a foul and how to determine which team wins.

Those rules evolved as the game grew.

The peach baskets were replaced by rims and backboards were added. Team sizes were trimmed from nine to five players, the name of the game became one word. Players were allowed to dribble the ball, scoring increased from one to two points for a made basket.

Other rules were added later: A midcourt line to prevent stalling, a three-second area to keep offensive players from camping around the basket, goaltending to stop tall players from swatting nearly every shot away from the basket.

However, as basketball expanded into multiple levels, the rules spiderwebbed into varying directions.

International basketball developed different rules than the NBA. College basketball had its own tweaks, even from men’s to women’s. High school and youth basketball created their own sets of rules to suit players in those age groups.

Everyone is playing the same basic game, but not always under the same regulations.

“FIBA [International Basketball Federation], the NBA, college and high school, I wish we all had the same rules,” said Nevada coach Eric Musselman, who spent nine years as an NBA coach. “To me, it’s too confusing for the average fan to watch an NBA [game] when there’s a 24-second clock in the NBA, then you watch the NCAA and there’s a different clock. Or you watch a women’s game and there’s four quarters and the men’s game has two halves. We’ve got to make it simple for the fan.”

It can be confusing. Depending on what level the game is being played, the three-point line, the shot clock, even the rim and court sizes could all be different.

FIBA plays four 10-minute quarters, while the NBA has four 12-minute quarters. Men’s college basketball has two 20-minute halves, but women play four 10-minute quarters. The WNBA used to have 20-minute halves, but now has 10-minute quarters. High school games have four 8-minute quarters.

Shot clock, same thing. FIBA, the NBA and WNBA all have a 24-second shot clock. NCAA men and women have a 30-second shot clock, although the men were 35 seconds before the 2015-2016 season. In high-school basketball, some states have a shot clock, others do not.

Even timeouts are widely varied; type, duration, number allowed, who can call one.

“I can’t understand why we can’t have world rules,” New Mexico coach Craig Neal said. “Everybody plays by the same line, everybody plays by the same shot clock, the same ball. To me, that’s kind of confusing.”

Distances can vary, too.

FIBA has a trapezoid lane that widens from 12 to 19 feet. The NBA and WNBA lane is 16 feet straight across, but the NCAA lane is 12 feet, same as high schools.

The NBA has the deepest three-point line at 7.2m. FIBA’s line is 6.3m, just like the WNBA, and the NCAA line is 6m, just like high schools.

In North American sports, changes are often made in ball sizes, court/field dimensions, goal sizes. Depending on the age group, the basketball rim can be 3.1m, 2.7m or 2.4m high.

“We make more modifications for the sports than any other country,” Wake Forest University coach Danny Manning said. “I just think we’ve got to get to a point where the rules are the rules. Internationally, you have the FIBA rules. Those are the rules.”

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