NCAA moves to extend 3-point shot

Friday, May 4, 2007

The proposal is expected to receive final approval in May.

INDIANAPOLIS -- College basketball players might want to start polishing up their long-range shooting.

The men's basketball rules committee approved a measure Thursday that would move the 3-point line back one foot in 2008-09 -- from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches. If approved by the playing rules oversight committee on May 25, it would mark the first major alteration to the 3-point shot since its inception in 1986-87.

The move comes after more than a decade of debate about whether to move the line. The extended line has been used on an experimental basis in some early season tournaments and NCAA statistics have not shown a dramatic change in shooting percentages from the longer line. But the rules change had never previously passed the rules committee for regular-season and postseason games.

"I am a little surprised they have made the change, but I have no real problem with it," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I am certainly glad they didn't move it back to the NBA distance and certainly glad the committee did not widen the lane along with moving the 3-point line.

"The rules committee looks very seriously at these issues, and they are hopeful that changes they make will indeed help the game. This particular change should create more space and give teams more movement on offense."

Chairman Larry Keating said the committee considered two proposals. The other would have moved the line to 20 feet, 6 inches, the same distance as international 3-pointers. Both are shorter than the NBA line, which is 23 feet, 9 inches at the top of the key and 22 feet at its shortest point in the baseline corners.

"We made it a point to come up with a distance that was correct for us and that didn't necessarily mimic the international line," Keating said.

Women's rules committee chairwoman Ronda Seagraves said the 3-point line will remain unchanged in women's basketball, and Bruce Howard, spokesman for the National Federation of State High School Associations, said he's unaware of any discussion about moving it on the prep level. High schools also use the 19-foot, 9-inch distance.

The new men's rule would be adopted by all three college divisions, and Keating expects the measure to pass in three weeks.

"It [the committee] has passed what we've done for the most part unless there are financial or safety issues, so, yes, I think it will be approved," he said.

The reason for delaying the change until November 2008 is money. Keating said it was unfair to charge schools a surprise expenditure when most of the budgets for next year have already been approved.

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