It appears the penalty for accidentally elbowing an opponent above the shoulders in college basketball won’t be as costly next season.
The NCAA committees for men’s and women’s basketball rules want to give referees leeway in how they deal with those situations.
Pending approval by the Playing Rules Oversight Committee next month, referees who call an elbow to the head will be allowed to use a video monitor to determine the severity of the blow. If deemed inadvertent, the referee could call a player-control foul or even nothing.
Previously, a referee was required to call a flagrant-1 or flagrant-2. A flagrant-1 results in two free throws and possession for the offended team. A flagrant-2 adds an ejection of the offending player.
The rule was implemented in 2011-12 to protect players from head injuries.
St. Peter’s coach John Dunne, the men’s rules committee chairman, said the committee didn’t anticipate two years ago how much accidental contact there would be. He said such contact could occur when a player is trying to ward off a defender on a shot attempt or when a dribbler swings an elbow and swipes a defender behind him in the head.
“Those are inadvertent, but now the referees are calling those as flagrant-1 fouls,” Dunne said. “The penalty is very, very stiff on a flagrant-1 call.”
The men’s and women’s rules committee recommended several other changes during meetings that ended Thursday in Indianapolis.
Officials in both the men’s and women’s game will be allowed to use video monitors more in the final two minutes of games and in overtime.
The charging-blocking foul was tweaked in the men’s game, preventing the defender from sliding into the offensive player’s path to the basket at the last moment. In addition, greater emphasis is being placed on calling fouls on defensive players who keep a hand or forearm on an opponent or use an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent.
Big East supervisor of officials Art Hyland, the secretary rules editor, said it’s hoped the charging-blocking rule and the points of emphasis will help give an offensive bump to the men’s game. The per-team scoring average in Division I last season was 67.5 points, the lowest since 1981-82. Scoring has declined each of the last four seasons in Division I.
The most notable rule change recommended on the women’s side is the implementation of the 10-second backcourt rule.