The NCAA is hard at work

Daily News sports editor Josh Barnett, who is a blogging fiend in his own right, sent along an AP dispatch a few days back that I've been meaning to post.

But because of the redesign I've been asleep the last two days... actually, I've been cleaning up and wishing I was asleep. Thanks for all the feedback, though; feel free to post more here.

Anyway, there's plenty to consider in this:

NCAA panel recommends change in goaltending rule

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An NCAA committee has recommended changing the goaltending rule so that a ball that is completely above the rim and has already hit the backboard could not be touched, regardless of whether it is on an upward or downward flight.

“This change better defines and discerns the act of goaltending,” Brad Jackson, chairman of the NCAA basketball rulescommittee and coach at Western Washington, said Monday.

Previously, only a ball on a downward flight after touching the backboard was subject to a goaltending call.

The proposal was one of about 50 by a joint subcommittee of the men’s and women’s rules committee. Only a handful of minor changes were approved, and those must be approved next month by the NCAA’s playing rules oversight panel before they would go into effect.

Among the proposals that were approved was one requiring home teams to wear light uniforms and visiting teams to wear dark uniforms, unless both schools agree to a switch. Previously, the light-home, dark-visitor uniforms were recommended, but not required.

The men’s committee took no action on proposed changes to the width of the free throw lane.

“The restricted area arc and the widening of the lane were dimensional changes that were considered and discussed,” Jackson said. “However, our committee decided to continue to observe and study the effects these dimensional changes may have on our game.”

Okay, let's start with the goaltending change, which I think is going to do nothing but confuse us even more.

The first thing that comes to mind is that if you're the ref, you'd better be at the right angle to tell whether a shot that's going up from underneath has hit the backboard, because it's not so hard to think of angles that the ball could come from where it would be hard to tell unless you're standing right there.

Now, if you know that the shot did go off the backboard, okay. Then the rule would be helpful if, say, the shot in question was a runner in the lane right at the buzzer that went off the backboard and may or may not have been coming back down, and the ref's decision had implications for the Atlantic 10 and Big 5 titles.

Then again, I can't possibly imagine such a circumstance. I've seen something similar, but it wasn't in a City Series game.


But what worries me about this new ruling is that you really need video replay to figure it all out, just as you do with most questionable goaltending calls. And if a game isn't on TV, or isn't in a conference with the money to have video monitors courtside every night, then you could have a real tough time.

I'd rather stick to the simple rule that if the ball is going down, it's goaltending, and if it's going up, it isn't. That seems to me to be much easier to decide without needing replay.

As for the uniform thing, that doesn't really change much. But athletic directors in the Ivy League will be pleased with the "unless both teams agree to a swittch" clause.

In conference play, Ancient Eight teams wear both sets of uniforms in a weekend -- the home team wears white on Friday and the road team does so on Saturday.

This spares the traveling teams from having to do laundry on the road. Now, you would think these schools have endowments large enough to cover expenses like that. But I guess that hedge funds don't pay out profits in quarters.

Finally, about the lane and the arc. I happen to believe that the NCAA, NBA and FIBA should all sit down and agree on one set of dimensions. I also would be quite happy if American basketball adopted the international standard, because I'd like to see us win a gold medal at the Olympics one of these days.

But I'm not fond of the current movement of the line back exactly one foot. I can't help thinking they chose that distance because it's a round number as imperial measures go, and it has nothing to do with making the transition from college to pro ball easier.

If the NCAA went to NBA dimensions, I'd be okay with it, though I happen to like the closer-in line because I think it encourages a shot-based game instead of a drive-to-the-basket-based game.

But at least moving the line all the way out would make things consistent.

Finally, word comes from St. Joe's that Thursday is the deadline to apply for tickets to next year's NCAA Tournament games at the Wachovia Center, where the Hawks will be the host institution.

Quoting the email sent out by Hawks SID Marie Wozniak:

Applications to purchase tickets are now being accepted on line at (click here); or by mailing the application form to the Wachovia Complex Box Office (3601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19148-5290); or in person at the Wachovia Center Box Office. Applications must be received no later than Thursday, May 15, 2008. If the number of requests exceeds the number of seats, a computerized drawing will take place in May. If tickets are still available, sales will continue.

Applicants will be notified by Sunday, June 15 (or later if the NCAA extends the May 1 deadline) if they will receive tickets. Applicants who are not selected to receive tickets will receive a full refund less the applicable service fee. All refunds will be made electronically. The NCAA will mail tickets to successful applicants no later than mid-February 2009.