I asked the NCAA spokesperson if he had ever heard of Chick Hearn’s famous saying “No Harm, No Foul”? The opposite of that is what is now happening in these games – no harm, but a foul. Players are not able in essence to touch the other players even if it is incidental to the action. This goes way beyond the perception of ticky-tacky fouls.
I spoke with David Hirsch from the Pacific 12 Conference. He, like anyone else, will never speak about the officials themselves as they are always in fear that the NCAA will come down on them. But he did state the scoring was up. And yes the scoring has gone up significantly. I asked if he had a breakdown of how much of the scoring increase was from the free throw line and how much was from field goals and his reply was that they had not done that breakdown yet.
Here is what the NCAA has done. They have put a hammer lock on defense in the game, covering it up by saying they are going back to enforcing the existing rules. Because of the change and the command to supposedly “defend with your feet and not your hands,” they have made a concerted effort to increase scoring. For now, while the teams adjust to the level of fouls called, it will cause disruptive, unappealing games. In fact, when I questioned an official of another Pac-12 school, they stated that the same thing happened to their team in a recent game. Once the coaches and the players adjust their games to the new rules, there will be very little defense being played and a whole lot more scoring which the NCAA thinks will attract more fans and larger TV audiences.
Someone pointed out that this may have a beneficial effect. The players will be wholly untrained in how to play defense, thus they may not leave to go to the pros as quickly. More likely they will still leave, but it will take them more years to learn to play at the pro level -- making that game even worse than it is now. All in all, the result is to change the rules and juice the scores, and to hell with how the game is played. And they don’t want their players on steroids?
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