Division I coaches were recently issued a questionnaire concerning things such as the widening of the foul lane, illegal contact away from the ball, and whether there is consistency of calls under the basket with regard to charging. Depending on their responses, some changes may occur. Coordinators of the various conference officiating crews also received the questionnaire.
Adams says a wider lane is a possibility. A move to an wider trapezoidal lane was passed by the Basketball Committee about four years ago, but overturned by another NCAA committee because of the cost implementing new lanes at more than 330 Division I schools.
Others think smaller, less noticeable changes are needed.
Bilas says a no-charge arc, similar to the four-foot half circle the NBA has under its basket, would allow for less contact on drives to the basket. He does not like the idea of “absolutes” or the idea of widening the lane.
“Officiating college basketball is an art form, which is why you need to have experienced officials who are allowed to use their judgment because if you go by a black and white rule, like absolutes, you are not going to get through a game,” Bilas says . “It is like telling an umpire how to manage the strike zone. Absolutes are not the answer.”
It has not been difficult — in most cases — for officials to call flagrant fouls for elbows that have been thrown in recent weeks. Expect the NCAA Basketball Committee and conference officials to be more aware of elbows and questionable sportsmanship and to discuss how it should be handled.
There is also some concern about the workload of officials. What was once a part-time job has become a nice living with many refs making $1,000 to $3,000 a game, which includes a game fee, per diem, and travel.
But while coaches must give their players time off during the week, some officials have been known to work 10 straight days. They are independent contractors, paid by the game, and some pile on the work.
How fit are they to reign over a bruising Big East game on Day 10 after working an ACC game on Day 9? Can the official keep control of a college game and not let it deteriorate into a scrum?
Fit and rested referees are going to be key if Adams can keep his mandate moving forward.
“We have to stick to our guns regarding freedom of movement and we have to support it at the conference level,” Adams says. “The guys that go in there and call fouls and keep the game from deteriorating into a slugfest, those guys should be recognized for their efforts, not criticized.”
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