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July 25, 2019

Speeding Up The Game | The New NCAA Shot Clock Rule

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A lot of NCAA coaches press their players about going for offensive rebounds on a missed basket. I would say that all coaches make it a point to their players–especially when they’re down. Offensive rebounds have become crucial to teams when trying to close out a game, come back from being down in a game, or it is ultimately the deciding factor in whether you win or lose a game. No coach or team likes to be in a position to where they feel the need to threaten their players/teammates to battle for an offensive board to win a game. Shouldn’t that already be a main focus during the game anyway? Maybe it just has not been a point of emphasis because those bigger conference schools usually have the biggest athletes that are as tall as the basket in the first place.

Five days ago, the rule was, when you got an offensive rebound the shot clock was reset to its original time of 30 seconds. This allowed teams to not only set up their offense in the halfcourt but, it allowed them to use all of their time without having to use five to eight seconds bringing it up the court. There are teams that will press in the halfcourt, in the quarter court and, like most teams at least once a game, press you in the full court. You could get trapped by surprise and find yourself in a run and jump situation. Or, if your offense is good, you will break it regardless of how much pressure is being put on you. That is another conversation for another day with a different topic.

If the press is good and solid, there is no chance you get across half court in time. But, with a little luck, you can just barely get the ball across in time with about one second to spare. Some presses are used just to slow you up. It gives the defense time to set up and it also gives them time to find out what you are running. It can be used as a decoy but it is also  used if the defense needs to score quick. A press is one of the things that makes the games beautiful. It can speed the game up and expose offensive weaknesses. So, is that what the NCAA is trying to do now? Speed the game up? 

Four years ago, the NCAA was simple and perfectly laid out for Women’s Basketball, some may say. Since the 2014-2015 season, there have been a numerous amount of changes that have sped the game up. For instance, there used to be 20 minute halves, just like the men–that changed a year later. There used to be no half court violation because the women only had 24 seconds–now there’s 30 seconds and a 10 second violation. A team shot a 1-and-1 at the seventh free throw of the game and 2 after you reach ten fouls. Now, when you get to five team fouls, there are 2 shots for every foul thereafter. There is also no longer a 1-and-1 shot in women’s basketball.

So what do all of these rule changes mean? Well, it could mean a faster paced game. Over the years Division 1 Women’s basketball has gotten a lot more viewers, a lot more tv time, and a lot more publicity. The game is evolving and people no longer look at it as “gIrLs BaSkEtBaLl.” NBA players are making other people respect this beautiful game that WOMEN have taken a hold of. A game that women, not only women have shown they can keep up with, but a game that women are giving a new meaning to.

So, is speeding the game up through the shot clock beneficial? After talking to a couple athletes and even a college coach, there are some mixed reviews. One athlete stated she “Likes the new rule. It makes the game more interesting because you don’t have to watch team set up their play again. They have to think quicker. With a 30 second clock, teams can reset and run their offense to get a better look. 20 seconds gives you less time to think and more time to play and create open shots for our teammates and ourselves.”

After talking with a recently graduated athlete, she thinks it wouldn’t make a difference. “Being in the post and always battling down there for offensive rebounds, it doesn’t change anything for me. Usually there are three players around you from the other team that want that same rebound. When that happens there is usually an open teammate and that ends the possession. If they miss, I will grab another rebound and pass it back out.” It isn’t the same for everybody. Some feelings about this are mutual and some are completely against it. 

Scrolling through twitter there are usually the people who aren’t good at basketball and have never played a lick who love to comment on how stupid the game is–the irrelevant ones. Then you have people who sort of watch the game but aren’t very knowledgeable who are completely against it because “that isn’t fair to the women. Things need to be equal,” blah blah blah. Then there are the players, coaches, and analysts who all have agreeable arguments on the topic. Some say it makes sense and they have their own reasonings. Others have stated their opinion but they do not have much evidence to back it up. So does it make their opinion irrelevant or does it make you think about the change even more?

“NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee members made the proposal in an effort to continue to enhance the pace of the game. It reasoned that a full 30-second shot clock is not needed since the offensive team is already in the front court after securing the rebound.” That comes right from the NCAA website. So I guess it can be agreed upon that everybody wants the game to get faster! Like the men? Are the women playing too slow for people to watch? Is the extra ten seconds that boring? Will the men implement the same rule or no? Probably not! The men play fast at all times, why speed their game up too? “Honestly, I don’t really like the new rule. I feel like if you work hard to get an offensive rebound then you should be rewarded and have the chance to start over with a full shot clock.” One athlete stated that it did not matter to her about the rest and another says that she does not like the rule change. Is it not fair to the ones who are battling every single play for their rebounds or does it just make the game that more competitive? More players will crash the boards harder or they won’t crash as hard because of the ten second reduction. This can go either way and I hope it makes the game that much more interesting.

Well, my friends and fellow readers, it seems as though we are at an impasse. On one hand, the rule is good and effective and on the other hand, some athletes, think it is not fair to those who are risking their bodies for these rebounds. As stated above, the NCAA is looking to speed up the pace of the game. It could be because it is going too slow for some viewers and it could just be because it makes the game more interesting that it has already been. Every year the Women’s side of the NCAA gets more and more views. The pace of play is starting to be sped up. Could that be because coaches are wanting their players to play faster or is it because of the rule changes that the NCAA makes every year?

The stats of the viewership, the raising in percentages of shots, and the amount of shot being taken in games has been rising–that is a positive. After speaking with a coach, the final verdict is in. “They are definitely trying to make the game faster but I don’t mind the rule! I like to be aggressive after an O-board.” Being a collegiate athlete for five years, I am very confident that there are more coaches that feel this exact way. There are coaches that like the play fast and some like to play slow but, with this new rule, they are being forced to play faster and the pace of play will separate the good athletes from the great ones. Athletes need to be able to adapt and their conditioning is now being pushed to a higher level. The season will soon be upon us.

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