By Colin Davenport
My entire life I have hated NCAA basketball (I say this as a Washington Huskies women's season ticket holder) The reason is simple; the rules are stupid. I'm not talking about the recruiting violation, no compensation for players rules either (that is another topic entirely) I'm talking about the in game, on court rules.
From the first moment you join a team as a kid you are taught the format of a basketball game. There are four quarters within one game, after a certain number of fouls you shoot free throws, at the end of each quarter your team goes back to having zero fouls and the game stops only when a coach calls timeout.
In the NCAA none of these rules have ever applied. The fastest paced team sport in the world is slowed to a crawl by rules that seemingly exist because...who knows?
The splitting of the game in to two endlessly long halves makes it tedious enough to watch, the fact said halves are made longer by teams reaching 1 and 1 penalty situations in which free throws are rarely made makes it painfully slower.
Finally, there are the EIGHT media timeouts that are required to happen at specified times in each contest . Coaches, players, flow of the game and everybody in the arena be damned, there might be somebody sitting on a couch somewhere that is unaware that a talking lizard wants to sell them car insurance.
Thankfully, it seems that at least those in charge of the women's side of NCAA basketball agree and will be implementing the best rules change in the history of competitive basketball beginning in the 2015-'16 season
Starting this coming season every women's game across all three NCAA divisions will be divided into four quarters. The number of media timeouts will be decreased from eight to four, teams will reach the double-bonus at the fifth team foul in each quarter doing away with one and one completely. In other words the games will be faster, the downtime quicker and the sport will be played the way it is in the rest of the known universe (NCAA men still excluded).
Additionally, teams will no longer get a new 10 seconds to advance the ball if a defensive deflection out of bounds occurs. This means that defenses are rewarded for their efforts and offenses are encouraged to advance the ball as quickly as possible. Finally, teams will be allowed to advance the ball to half court following a timeout in the final minute of the game making the final moments of close contests all the more exciting for fans.
These changes will drastically improve the collegiate game for fans and players alike. No longer will contests drag out with numerous one and one's, team time-outs followed seconds later by media time-outs or by teams getting extra time to bring the ball up the court.
Instead, coaches will determine how many timeouts happen per quarter, 10 seconds is ALL the time there will be to get the ball across the half court line and the final possession of the game could actually result in a meaningful shot instead of a 75 foot prayer that will land 15 feet short of its target.
In 2015-16 the NCAA women will finally enter the world of modern basketball and put themselves even further ahead of their male counterparts in delivering the best amateur basketball experience in the world.