Updated on Nov. 11 at 5:00 p.m.
In an effort to create more offense and reduce physicality, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel adopted a number of new rules in June. The one making the most noise as teams prepare for the start of the 2013-14 men’s college basketball season on Friday is the rule regarding hand checking, which has been eliminated from the game entirely.
“Tons of fouls, a lot of free throws, long, ugly games. Hopefully fans can prepare for that. It is going to be frustrating,” explained former Florida Gators head coach Lon Kruger, who has led Oklahoma since 2011, in a conversation with USA Today.
Coaches across the nation are worried that games will stretch longer due to the new rule, which they believe will ultimately have the opposite of its intended effect. Rather than promote flow and offense, they think it will force more whistles to sound and too many games to be decided on the free throw line.
The Gators may very well have experienced the effect of the new rule first-hand during their exhibition game last Friday. Florida shot 39 free throws against Florida Southern, three more than it attempted in any game last season and the most since UF took 40 foul shots against Auburn on Feb. 18, 2010.
“The one thing I can’t tell you – and I think the officials even said during the game they’re still adjusting to some of these rule changes and the way the game needs to be officiated. I think there’s going to be a huge adjustment period for everybody at least the way they’re talking about interpreting these hand check rules, contact rules, block charge rules,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the 110-88 exhibition victory.
“All those kind of things are going to be an adjustment period for coaches, players and the officials. We did get to the free throw line a lot, but I don’t know if that’s maybe because of some of the new rules or did Florida Southern foul that much?”