4 basketball rules that need to be changed

March 22, 2004

Dear Editor:

Once again, we are beginning the annual NCAA basketball pilgrimage. In light of that fact, let me gently suggest that there are four things about this game that can create the urge to rip out your tongue and throw it toward the Dick Vitale image on the screen.

They are:

1. The Two-Minute Routine. It is inconceivable that it should take 30 minutes to play only two. If we buy into the notion that sports teach young men and women to mature, handle life, react to ever-changing situations, and then we are violating this thesis. When life gets tense, situations close in, and pressure mounts, there are no time-out provisions. Nobody stops the world and draws our next move. We must keep on playing and hope our training will sustain us. Remedy: The game is played, in the last two minutes, non-stop. Live or die, win or lose, there are no times-out.


2. The Ricochet Routine. We have all seen players who are going out of bounds, either while in the air or falling toward the cheerleaders. Suddenly, the player spins, throws the ball against an opposing player and is awarded the ball as the result of this crafty move. Come on, give us all a break. This is ridiculous. The man, standing in bounds, without the ball, minding his own business while watching his opponent take a flyer, is suddenly accused of knocking the ball out of bounds. Remedy: If while falling out of bounds you throw the ball into an opposing player it's easy to see the deliberate motion, a technical foul is awarded to the other team and they get the ball as they should have in the first place.

3. The Reverse Thrust Routine. How many times have you seen a player standing under the basket, virtually on the out of bounds line, hurl his body backwards into three opposing players who are standing there with their arms in the air, and one of them is called for a foul? He has no shot, no hope, and no question that if he rams into the stoic wall of players, he will be given foul shots. If that happens in front of the basket, he is charged with a foul, but coming from the hinterland of out of position misfortune, he is given special unction to cream another player and rewarded for using his body as a misguided missile.

4. The Tie Me Up And Hope For The Best Routine. One of the grinding aggravations of this game is illustrated by the player who, by athletic prowess, manages to stop the advance of his opponent and grab the ball without fouling. Years ago, this feat was seen as sizzling defense and the player would be awarded a jump-ball and the chance to take the offense. Today, something called the "arrow" determines who gets the ball and there is only an even chance that the player who did the deed will be rewarded. We say that sports teach the participants that excellence is rewarded. With the prevailing rules, we teach the participants that excellence gives you a chance with the "arrow." We need help.

Edward Clark


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