For those who have been reading my blog all year probably guessed I would love this dramatic change in how basketball games are being called this season because the mandate simply states enforce the rules as they are written.
As a lover of the rules, I find this to be the easiest adjustment– though the most dramatic one – since I began my NCAA Division I career nearly 10 years ago. The focus of every decision this year is to enforce the NCAA officiating philosophy:
Allow freedom of movement: The ball handler/dribbler, cutter or shooter must be permitted to move without being illegally impeded, re-routed or displaced. Speed, quickness, balance and rhythm must be maintained — all displacement is a FOUL!
As a basketball spectator you may hate the foul calls, but it is so GREAT for the game of basketball. According to a study written and presented by Val Ackerman to the NCAA we must have a vision for the “business of women’s basketball.” And if you haven’t noticed, sports are businesses! The way the game of basketball is being officiated this year is a reflection of a vision for the game and the desire to make the sport MORE enjoyable to the fan. Our foul calls today will make the game better to watch tomorrow.
Here is why it WILL BE more enjoyable:
By consistently enforcing the rules of legal defense we will have freedom of movement in the game. It means our game will not be about the strongest, most aggressive player/team. The game will involve skill, finesse, play-making, offensive movement and most of all SCORING! And that, my friends, will make the game better to watch. (eventually) And honestly – aren’t you sick of watching post players battling for a position and girls on the floor every time they go to make a great cut to get open?
When you watch the games this year, you can throw the idea of referees calling advantage/disadvantage out the window, along with the idea that a referee will watch the play start, develop, and finish before making a decision. Those ideas, and the old man’s mentality of no blood = no foul are clichés of the past. Our game will be reminiscent of the Celtics v Lakers rivalry when play-making and finesse had a place.
So to my readers who are fans – be patient. It will get better. To my readers who are officials – stick with it. Continue blowing the whistle on illegal contact and it will get better. For more information on how we will enforce freedom of movement see excerpts from our rule book.
A. Freedom of Movement
1) There is excessive physicality and lack of freedom of movement.
2) Players must be permitted to move freely without being held, pushed, rerouted or impeded.
B. Contact on and by the ball handler/dribbler
1) One ‘measure-up’ touch is permitted on the ball handler. All other contact is a foul.
2) Putting a body on the ball handler/dribbler and keeping it on is a foul.
3) Legal defenders on the ball handler/dribbler must not be penalized when the ball handler/dribbler makes illegal contact on a legally established defender.
C. Contact on the shooter
1) The slightest contact on a shooter’s arm can affect a shot.
2) Contact on the shooter’s arm by a defender who is outside her vertical plane is a foul (defender leaning forward with hands/arms on the shooter’s hand/arm)
3) An airborne shooter must be permitted to land.
1) Knowing what constitutes a legal screen is imperative.
2) Screeners must establish a legal position without causing contact.
3) Defenders cannot be permitted to push through legal screens or hold screeners.
4) A screener is permitted to roll after her screen. She is not permitted to clamp/hold the defender during her roll.
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According to the most recent statistics (through December 1st) comparing 2013 Women’s b
Fouls per game
Field goal %
3 point %
Free throw %
Points per game
I think ALL these statistics prove that freedom of movement IS GOOD FOR the GAME! Go on officials – keep it consistent in conference play too.
Thanks William for posting these statistics. I am glad to see the results of our discipline.