Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
College basketball will have a host of rule changes for the 2015-16 season, chief among those being the shot clock being reduced from 35 to 30 seconds. Also, teams will have fewer timeouts, the arc underneath the basket will be widened, and there will be penalties for ‘flopping’. But if you ask Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, he wants an even bigger change that would affect the standard schedule of the college basketball season. While at the Pac-12’s Media Day, Scott said he wants the NCAA to consider making the college basketball season a one-semester sport in order to reduce competition with other sports’ seasons:
“As part of that consideration, we have to realize that March Madness is something very unique. I do love the idea of making college basketball a one-semester sport, a little bit more compact. That all makes sense on a lot of levels. I think the balance of that is what would it do to the way the college basketball season ends?”
The one semester would be the spring semester or basically, right after college football season ends. It’s an interesting idea and the start of college basketball season would get the coverage it currently does not get. Most teams start play in mid-November which is in the midst of the NFL season, the beginning of the NBA and NHL seasons, and comes at the end of the college football regular season. Shifting the start to January would conflict with the NFL playoffs, but at least the focus of the college sports fan would be solely on basketball.
But pushing the season start back a month or two would also create problems on the back end. Currently the Final Four wraps up in early April, right as the MLB season begins and just before the Masters airs. The college basketball season would have to be condensed in order to end before summer time but you could conceivably have the season wrap up in mid-May. That would create “May Madness” and coincide with the regular end of the academic semester. It would also create competition with the NBA and NHL playoffs which will be going on at that time.
It’s clear that there is no easy way to ‘fit’ in the college basketball season but Scott’s proposal should at least get the wheels in motion and create informal discussions among coaches and administrators.