Committee couldn't agree on length, lane

Originally Published: May 4, 2005
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 3-point line won't be moved back -- at least not yet -- until a consensus can be reached on the distance and width of the lane for men's (and possibly women's) basketball.

The men's basketball rules committee wrapped up three days of meetings Wednesday without forwarding a new distance to an NCAA oversight committee that has to rubber stamp all rule changes. That means the men's basketball 3-point line will remain at 19 feet, 9 inches for the 2005-06 season and possibly longer.

At least one source on the committee said there must be a year of advance notice for any major rule change. The next rules committee meeting is in May 2006.

The committee will continue to experiment with a longer 3-point shot. The line will be stretched out to 20 feet, 9 inches, during selected tournaments like the Maui Invitational and preseason NIT. That is three inches farther back than last year's experiment. The lane will be widened to 14 feet at those tournaments, which is a 1-foot extension on each side of the current lane.

The consensus among the committee is that a change in the distance is coming, but it's still a question of when and how much it will be pushed out.

The NBA distance of 23 feet, 9 inches is considered too far. The international distance of 20 feet, 6 inches is a consideration, but the committee couldn't agree on how wide the lane should be if the 3-point line is extended.

There is also a concern that the international distance could change in the coming years and, if that occurred, college basketball would be once again out of sync with the international distance.

The rule change would affect all divisions. There is a cost issue, but members of the committee say it's not as much as being reported. The entire floor wouldn't be replaced if a new line had to be drawn and the lane widened -- the change would entail just replacing the lines and adding paint and a new sealant in those areas.

One source said a proposal was put out to increase the width of the lane the same amount as the increase on the 3-point shot so the proportions remain the same. The concern is if the 3-point line is extended and the lane isn't widened then there wouldn't be enough room in the paint to clear up physical play.

"I'd be for moving back the 3-point line to the international distance to keep it uniform," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who is not on the committee. "If we move it back, it would bring other things back into the game. Widening the lane would help, too."

The committee didn't adopt the block-charge circle underneath the basket, either -- something that the NBA has employed recently. There was support for that among some coaches who see too many players flopping underneath the basket.

The rules committee is expected to issue a release Thursday on the official results of the meeting.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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