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Change For The Good, and Change for…Change?

If you watched Syracuse closely last season, you saw more than your share of controversial charge/block calls made right under the hoop, most commonly at the expense of a foul being charged to Kris Joseph or Brandon Triche. If you’re like me, you’ve been calling for the NCAA to install a charge circle in a fashion similar to the NBA model. It looks like we may be getting our wish after it was reported that the NCAA is recommending for charge arcs to be painted on the courts, three feet away from the center of each basket.

I’m a huge fan of this rule, should it pass a final vote in June. First of all, it frustrates me to see defenders who are caught out of position get bailed out by the officials simply by standing still. The status quo is asking too much of offensive players to change their angle in the middle of their drive or sometimes mid-flight to avoid a charge call. In most cases, if a defender finds himself in that spot, he’s been beaten and it’s too late to make a play on the ball. Secondly, this should make the referees’ jobs easier.

Currently, there is an inexplicable “imaginary” charge arc in place. As it is, the charge/block decision is one of the least consistently-enforced ones for officials, and such systems make it challenging for refs to be consistent on both ends of the floor. The game moves fast, though so while it won’t always be cut-and-dry, I think this is a big step in clarifying the matter. I truly believe the spirit of the rule is to make it easier for officials to make these calls, as well as to take away the reward given to a defender who is out of position. Also, given that the NCAA continues to enable¬†officials to shoulder an unnecessarily big workload over the course of the season, well, they need all the help they can get.

An additional rule that’s on the floor involves the review system, and it’s a fairly interesting proposal that is reminiscent of the challenge/review process used in football. The proposed measure, if passed, would give head coaches the chance to request a monitor review at any time during the game. There is an intriguing catch, though: If the challenging coach is wrong and the ruling is upheld, his team loses a timeout. If the coach tries to challenge a call without a timeout, his team will be assessed a technical.

I’m not nearly as big an advocate of this system, although it could make for some thrilling moments. Mainly, I just don’t see what’s wrong with the sport that this measure would fix. Some intriguing exercises in game theory and the chance to see just how risk-averse a coach is or isn’t adds value to being a fan, but I feel the game is exciting enough as it is without a gimmick like this. If there was a rash of questionable monitor review requests, my tune may be different, but for all the discussion points that were raised this season regarding officiating, this one wasn’t even on the radar. This is definitely something to keep an eye on as the summer rolls along, but it’s good to see the NCAA try to take some action in an effort to benefit the game.

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