Stepping Back to Step Forward – Extending the 3-Point Line

In the midst of the College World Series field being set, the Stanley Cup Final and the NBA Finals, the thought of the college basketball season seems pretty distant. It feels like it was about a year ago that we watched March Madness come to a close, wondered what we would do with our lives without college hoops on TV consistently, and dreamt of how we could have spent the winnings from a bracket pool had we not picked about 85% of the 5/12 match-ups incorrectly. Okay, maybe that was just me.


As an old, washed-up hooper, it’s been refreshing to see posts circulating around social media of teams getting back on campus and getting after it in the gym. CHAMPIONS ARE BUILT IN THE OFFSEASON, FOLKS. I’ll save my nostalgic summer workout discussion for another time (you’re welcome), but in looking to the season ahead, we’re going to see a few rule changes in the men’s and women’s game come 2019-20.

And with that, I’d like to open the room up for discussion about the changes. Go.

Just kidding, but for my two cents, keep on reading, y’all. There are four “new” or “changed” rules, but let’s talk about the most prominent change from both a game-impacting standpoint, and, well, a “looks” standpoint.

The 3-point line is moving back for men’s Division I basketball.

The line will now be at a distance of 22 feet, 1 ¾ inches (the previous distance was 20 feet, 9 inches), which makes the new distance consistent with FIBA international rules.

You darn kids were just making too many of them arc shots, so we had to give ya a little challenge!

Kidding of course. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel cited the following rationale for extending the line:

  • Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter
  • Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
  • Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.*


As much as I have the, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” mindset when it comes to changing rules in the game, I feel this change is a move in the right direction...somewhat. Personally, I want basketball to be BASKETBALL, plain and simple. It should be a consistent game (in the major areas, at least) whether it’s men’s, women’s, international, college, etc. (okay, I’m fine with the NBA 3-point line being where it is).  With that, the fact that the NCAA men’s 3-point line will now be the same as it is in international play--awesome--that’s a step towards “consistency” across the sport.


If you’re going to move the men’s 3-point line, move the women’s line, too.

No, this isn’t about the hot topic of men’s and women’s equality, it’s about common sense within the sport itself. The WNBA and the women’s international 3-point line is at 22 feet, 1 and ¾ inches, people. Let’s save everyone (especially the facilities management folks who handle the actual courts) a headache and just use ONE LINE.

We all know the gals are fully capable of shooting it (and making it) from farther out--just ask Madison Guebert or Ciara Duffy--they’re in range when they step in the gym. That’s not the issue here or what anyone on the committee was worried about, but I’m just curious to know why the women’s line isn’t moving back. Now I will say, announced on May 10th, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee approved an experimental rule to use the international 3-point line for postseason events (except for the NCAA championships in each division).


But at the same time, why wait?

As someone who used to fire an occasional long ball, let me just say, the less lines out there in your peripherals, the better. And as someone who has a huge respect for a sport that made a profound positive impact on my life (whoa, getting deep there), let me just say, the more consistent the game is, the better.

But hey, there are still about four more months before official practice starts, so perhaps we’ll see the change in the women’s game come into fruition. Wishful thinking, ya know?

Anyways, let me just leave you with this philosophical tidbit that encompasses all of the above information into one phrase: