▪ The NCAA men’s basketball rules committee is meeting in Indianapolis this week to consider possible rule changes for 2021-22. Here’s one they should reject: The six-foul rule.
In an effort to keep better players on the floor longer, the committee is reportedly considering increasing the number of fouls for player disqualification from five to six. It is also considering a modified version of the change, with a player allowed three fouls per half. A fourth foul would result in a player fouling out of that half.
Doesn’t matter. Either would be a bad rule that encourages more fouling, not less. The game would become more physical, not less. And the length of the game would be extended by the stoppages in play coming from the officials’ whistle.
Yes, the NBA has a six-foul rule for player disqualification. But NBA games are 48 minutes in length, compared to 40 for the college game.
Plus, the six-foul rule already has a collegiate precedent. A bad one. The Big East used the six-foul rule for a brief period during the early 1990s, but quickly reverted to the traditional five fouls. Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard covered the Orange then, as he does now, and tweeted, “Basketball turned into rugby.”
Besides, according to Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News, there were an average of 17.24 fouls called per team in 2020-21, the lowest number in the 73 years the NCAA has collected data on that statistic.
▪ One rule change the committee should employ: A reduction in timeouts. Coaches are against it, but fans would approve. Teams get four timeouts per team, plus a use-it-or-lose-it one in the first half. Cut it by one per half, including the use-it-or-lose-it.
▪ The committee is also reportedly considering a proposal that would reset the number of team fouls at the 10-minute mark of each half. A team would be in the double bonus if the opponent commits five fouls in that 10-minute period.
But shouldn’t we make the rules easier rather than more difficult for the average fan to understand?
▪ Louisville basketball’s Quinn Slazinski announced Wednesday he’s entering the transfer portal. Slazinski averaged 6.2 points per game last season. He’s the third member of Chris Mack’s 2019 class to leave the Cardinals. Josh Nickelberry and Aidan Igiehon previously announced their transfer intentions.
▪ How did the Cincinnati Bengals do in last week’s NFL Draft? Second-round pick Jackson Carman will provide the answer. After passing up Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the fifth overall pick, the Bengals need Carman, an offensive guard out of Clemson, to come through.
▪ If you missed it, former national champion UK volleyball star Avery Skinner will spend her extra year of eligibility at Baylor.
▪ Back to its traditional first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby earned a ratings jump over 2020, when the race was held in September because of COVID-19. NBC reported an average of 14.4 million viewers watched its broadcast, up from just 9.3 million last year. The 2021 number was below 2019 when an average of 16.34 million tuned in to the coverage.
▪ Kim Mulkey will add spice to women’s basketball in the SEC. The former Baylor coach officially changed jobs last week, returning to her native Louisiana. She won three NCAA titles at Baylor — 2005, 2012 and 2019. Plus, she’s a personality, unafraid to speak her mind. Right or wrong, we might point out.
▪ The Pro Football Network put out a list of top college running backs for the 2022 NFL Draft. Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez was not on the 10-man list, or among the nine honorable mentions. Not that Rodriguez, who averaged 6.8 yards per carry and scored 11 touchdowns in 11 games last season, should use this as motivation.
▪ Don’t look now, but Alabama is launching a program to help student-athletes with their branding. The Crimson Tide is calling it “The Advantage,” which it describes as “a comprehensive program that will provide Crimson Tide student-athletes with the education and tools necessary to build and elevate their personal brands.”