NCAA Postpones Men's Hoops Rules Changes

June 6, 2003

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Rules Committees voted to push back the recommended start date for their proposals for new court markings to the 2004-05 season.

The recommendations, which were developed during the committees' meetings May 29-April 1 in Indianapolis, are for the men's game to use the international three-point line and trapezoid free-throw/three-second lane; and the women's game to use the international three-point line only. The women's game will use the trapezoid lane experimentally in certified contests this coming season. The women's experiment will not include the international three-point line since it is already a rules recommendation. The original recommended start date for the rules changes was the 2003-04 season.

The amended recommendations will be considered by the Division I Championships/ Competition Cabinet (June 24-26, Bonita Springs, Florida), Division II Championships Committee (June 24-27, Savannah, Georgia) and Division III Championships Committee (June 23-25, Indianapolis).

"Feedback from the divisional governing committees showed that passing the recommendations without a season's notice for schools to prepare their facilities posed a hardship to some member schools," said men's committee chair Art Hyland, who is the Big East Conference's coordinator of officials for men's basketball. "Although we preferred to have these rules take effect next season, this adjustment allows the rules to be passed while respecting the needs of some to have time to comply. However, the men's rules committee reaffirms its earlier unanimous support of these changes as being the best thing to do for the game of men's basketball."

Women's committee chair Lynn Hickey, who is the director of athletics at the University of Texas at San Antonio, expressed similar thoughts on the women's committee's decision.

"This gives schools more of a chance to adjust their courts," she said, "but we're convinced moving back the three-point line is the right thing for the women's game and time will tell if the trapezoid is also the way to go."

Upon acceptance, the recommendations would represent the first major changes in existing court-line dimensions since the 1956-57 season, when the lane was widened from 6 feet to 12 feet for the men's game. The men's game added the three-point line in 1986-87; the women's game added the shot in 1987-88.

Under the recommendations, the three-point line would be moved back approximately 9 inches to a distance of 20 feet, 6 inches from the center of the basket to the outside edge of the line. The current distance is 19 feet, 9 inches. The exact metric distance for the international three-point line is 6.25 meters. The trapezoid lane, for the men's game only, creates a lane that is approximately 16 feet, 2 inches wide at the bottom edge of each block (the NBA lane is 16 feet wide, top to bottom). At its widest point (at the end line) the trapezoid lane's width is 6.0 meters or 19 feet, 8 inches. The current rectangular lane is 12 feet wide from top to bottom.

A court diagram can be viewed on the USA Basketball Web site by clicking here. The only difference from the international lane under the recommendation would be that the dotted semicircle inside the lane would not be necessary since the college games do not conduct jump balls in that area.

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