NCAA Extends Experimental Lines

By Staff

Coaching Management, 13.6, August 2005,

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Rules Committees are calling for further experimentation with court markings before deciding to officially push back the three-point line and widen the lanes. Institutions will be required to participate in the experimental changes in all exempted contests until the end of 2005, and the NCAA is asking schools to voluntarily implement the changes in practice scrimmages and exhibition games.

One reason for delaying the decision is the lack of responses received by the women’s rules committee. “The men’s committee has gotten enough feedback to know we have a mandate to move the lines,” says Larry Keating, rules committee member and Kansas University Senior Associate Athletic Director. “The women just haven’t gotten enough feedback on their side.

“We don’t want to be faced with a situation where we pass a rule that affects the lines, and the women’s committee comes in the following year with a different measurement,” continues Keating. “We’re trying to make sure that the financial impact of redoing court lines is minimized to one time.”

During the experimental games, the women’s three-point line is being pushed back to 20 feet, six inches and the men’s to 20 feet, nine inches, three inches further than last year’s experiment with the international line, and one foot beyond the current line. “The international line was a starting point in experimentation,” Keating says. “But we’ve moved away from the concept of doing what the international game is doing. We’re talking about moving the three-point line back as much as 12 inches, but if we decide to move it back only nine inches it won’t be because that’s the international line.”

To ensure that the three-point line and lane are properly spaced, the lane will be widened to 14 feet, with a one-foot extension of the current lane on each side, and the restricted-area arc will move to three feet from the basket, instead of the current two feet. “Widening the lane opens up the middle for more driving and a less congested ‘T,’” says Keating. “But if you don’t push back the three-point line as you widen the lane, defensive players can double-up more easily on post players, so we have to make sure that spacing is correct.”

Keating says it’s only a matter of time before the court lines are moved. “It’s just a question of coming to a final decision after we get all of our information and feedback in,” says Keating. “Whether we move the three-point line back nine or 12 inches and widen the lane one foot or one and a half feet is still being discussed, but the change will be in that neighborhood.”

For a complete list of NCAA rules changes for 2005-06, go to:, click on Sports, and click on Basketball.