June 03, 2009
See how easy this is?
Today, the NCAA is expected to do something that probably all basketball leagues need to do (even recreational leagues, because when people in rec leagues take charges, they really, really want credit): create an area underneath the hoop where it is impossible to take a charge. The NCAA powers that be want to "curtail physical play under the hoop." Because God forbid, right? So the bright idea to fix this little physical play conundrum is to create an NBA-esque restricted area, with one notable difference from the NBA's rule. The NCAA won't paint a semicircle under the court. Seriously. Get this:
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday is expected to approve a rule change that would create a "no charge" zone for "help" defenders from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. But by not adding the arc, the NCAA will make it more difficult for officials to judge the boundaries of the no-charge area.
"The idea I got from our referees is that they were in favor of the arc, because it made the call cut and dried," said John Clougherty, the ACC's coordinator of men's basketball officials ...
Oh, you think so, doctor?
Deadspin's Ben Cohen touched on this yesterday, and it's worth reiterating: If this rule is designed to keep players from flopping during post defense sequences, it's not going to work. In addition to actually knowing if the play is a flop or not, refs now have to figure out if it was far enough away from the hoop to qualify. An already tough call just got tougher. And that doesn't even get us to block/charge. The single most difficult play in basketball -- in all of sports, perhaps -- to officiate just got even tougher, thanks to a rule that sport's governing body made. You know when people complain about bureacracy? This is what they're talking about.
Of course, there's a perfectly good, understandable reason why there won't be a painted area. And that reason is because the NCAA, despite being inept, is also lazy:
Hack said that because of NCAA rules, it would have taken four years for the arc to go through all the proper channels and committees, before it could be permanently painted on all the floors. "We were thinking, 'How can we add something that will be beneficial right away?'" Hack said.
This is roughly -- stress on roughly here; this is an admittedly bad metaphor -- the same as if a carpenter you hired came to you and said, "Hey, dude, check this. That basement you wanted us to finish? On it. It would probably take us about four men and two months to really do it right, which is why I'm going to do it by myself in two days." And in the end, of course, the basement not only wasn't finished; it was actually more ragged then when you started.
Hey, NCAA: Get out of my basement, and give me my money back.