College basketball is going international.
Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a set of proposed rule changes including moving the college 3-point line back to the international distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches.
The new distance, which replaces the old line which sat at 20 feet, 9 inches, will be effective for the 2019-20 season for all Division I programs.
Because of the cost associated with putting new lines on the courts, Division II and III programs will adopt the new distance in time for the 2020-21 season.
The change, which was first recommended by the Men’s Basketball Rules Committee, comes after considerable research and favorable feedback from coaches whose teams played in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitational Tournament, where the international distance was used on an experimental basis.
According to a release from the NCAA, the rules committee cited the following rationale for extending the 3-point line:
• It makes the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
• It could slow down the trend of the 3-point shot become too prevalent in the men’s college basketball game.
• It will create better offensive spacing by requiring defenders to cover more of the court.
The move marks the second such adjustment in the college game since the 2008-09 season, when the line moved back from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches.
According to the NCAA’s release, after that change, the national average dipped from 35.2% in 2007-08 to 34.4% in 2008-09. But as players and coaches have worked more on emphasizing the 3-point shot at all levels of basketball, the national averaged climbed all the way back up to 35.2% in the 2017-18 season.
That season, which ended with KU reaching the Final Four behind the firepower of four lights-out 3-point shooters, marked the third consecutive season in which KU set a school record for made 3-pointers.
KU’s record-setting run began in 2015-16, when the first team to crack the 300 mark in school history made 304 triples during its run to the Elite Eight. It continued the following year, when Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Frank Mason and Josh Jackson teamed to break that record by knocking in 318 3-pointers during their run to the Elite Eight.
And both marks were shattered in 2017-18, when Graham and Mykhailiuk became the first KU teammates to each make 100 3-pointers in a season, joining Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick in making 391 3-pointers to help the Jayhawks get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2012.
Last season, with seven newcomers and more than a little roster instability, the Jayhawks made just 260 3-pointers on 35% shooting.
More than 70% of those 3-point makes (188) came from players who are no longer with the program, and the Jayhawks again enter the 2019-20 season with 3-point shooting as one of the top questions for a program that figures to be ranked in the preseason Top 10.
Sophomore guards Devon Dotson (33 of 91) and Ochai Agbaji (23 of 75) are KU’s top two returning 3-point shooters from the 2018-19 team.
Asked before the start of last season if he was concerned about where the 3-point makes would come from, KU coach Bill Self said the team’s offensive philosophy and style of play would lead to plenty of good looks from behind the arc.
“No matter who you have out there, you’re going to make at least 200 or 250,” Self said a year ago. “So I don't worry about those kind of numbers.”
The Oversight Panel also adopted three other proposed rule changes on Wednesday:
• Resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds (instead of 30) after an offensive rebound that follows a shot that hits the rim.
• Putting in place the ability for officials to assess a technical foul to players who use derogatory language about an opponent’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, gender identify, sexual orientation or disability.
• Allowing coaches to call live-ball timeouts in the final two minutes of the second half and any overtime periods. Coaches previously were prohibited from calling any live-ball timeouts during a game.