By Barry Janoff
April 20, 2017: March Madness is one of the most anticipated events on the sports calendar, both on the court and on Madison Avenue, culminating a season of basketball that has fans, consumers and media in an festive mood.
But the NCAA said it would look for ways to "generate more excitement" and create a "less-compressed schedule (to) benefit student-athlete well-being by providing more time for rest and recovery."
Among the changes being considered: widening the lane from its current 12-foot width, extending the 3-point line and changing the game from being played in two 20-minute halves to four ten-minute quarters.
Women’s college basketball in 2016 switched from two 20-minute halves to four ten-minute quarters.
Another key change would be the length of the season, beginning three days earlier, or, as the NCAA defined it, the Tuesday before the second Friday in November as the season’s uniform start date.
A mid-week start date could also create additional attention and excitement at the beginning of the season, per the NCAA.
Also on the table was "standardizing the playing season to 21 weeks with a mandatory three- or four-day break for the student-athletes at some point during their school’s winter vacation period."
The proposals came after a two-day meeting of the Division I Men’s Basketball Competition Committee, which then asked the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee to take the next six-to-12 months to "“conduct a holistic review of potential significant rules changes, including a careful examination of unintended consequences that could result."
According to the NCAA, the committees were asked to collect data during the 2017-18 season to determine if changes "would benefit the sport and help the positive trends continue."
Division I Men’s Basketball Competition Committee and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee said they would study data during the 2017-18 season. Rule changes, if any, could possibly come for the 2018-19 season.
The NCAA said changing the start of the basketball season could have other benefits.
“In recent years, it has become part of the sport’s culture to hold regular-season openers with ties to U.S. military venues to honor and entertain current and past service members. The date currently being considered would ensure that Veterans Day would be included in the early part of the season annually,” according to the NCAA.
The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee will next gather feedback from the membership and collaborate with the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee to discuss legislation that could be considered for adoption.
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