"Nobody likes change."
Well, contrary to that popular saying, everybody should like the changes in store for women's college basketball this fall. On Monday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved to move the women's game to a new format and moved to implement a few new rules.
Here are three ways in which these new rules will enhance women's college basketball for fans, coaches and players alike:
1. The standardization of the game.
With the switch to four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves, the women's game will now have a standard four quarter format at all levels of play (high school, college, WNBA and international).
The standardization of a single format is simply the logical way to do things. Imagine if college football played two halves and the NFL stayed with the four-quarter format. It just would not make sense.
Personally, I always wondered why the college game was formatted differently than the other levels. This will enable collegiate freshman straight out of high school to adjust quicker to the game and similarly, allow for an easier transition for collegiate players moving on to the WNBA or international play.
2. The game will be faster and flow better.
It is no secret that women's college basketball struggles in terms of attendance, ratings and media coverage. Under the new proposal, there will be less timeouts and most importantly, less media timeouts.
There will be one media timeout per quarter, in addition to one at the end of the first and third quarters. This proposal decreases the amount of media timeouts from the current number of eight (one every four minutes) to six.
As a former player, this is great news as I always thought media timeouts hampered the flow of the game. Eight breaks in the game for media was excessive.
Furthermore, making the game shorter will attract more fans to the games. Overall, less is more when it comes to timeouts in women's college basketball, and I am delighted that the NCAA finally realized that.
3. More clarity when it comes to post defense.
The panel also approved a rule, which allows defenders to place a forearm or an open hand with a bend, in the elbow on an offensive post player with the ball, whose back is to the basket.
Thank you NCAA, because this is how post defense is supposed to be played. Now post players will have more freedom to play defense in the post, and not have to worry about if they are going to be called for a foul, by simply putting their hand on the offensive player's back.
This rule will also speed up the game as, hopefully, less fouls will be called in the post and thus, there will be less stoppage time during the game.