Quote of the day: "The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then--to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn." --T. H. White, The Once and Future King
I haven't been watching much basketball in the last few years, but I catch a women's basketball game from time to time and I've been watching the NCAA Tournament this year. Being me, I have a few rule changes to suggest...
One of the things that has always bothered me about women's basketball is how often players end up lying on the court. They dive for any loose ball and the result is a scrum that would make any rugby player proud. I admire the hustle of the players, but I don't think diving for loose balls makes basketball a better game. Therefore I propose a new rule: a player who has any part of their body in contact with the floor other than their feet is automatically out of bounds. So a player whose knee, hand, body, etc. is in contact with the floor is equivalent to a player who has stepped outside the sidelines--if they touch the ball, it is a turnover. And, of course, if two players dive for the ball the first one to touch the ball gives possesion to the other team. The result is that diving for loose balls will stop, and players will endeavor to stay on their feet during the game. This will keep play moving and reduce scrum-based stoppages, which are more time-consuming than a simple turnover call as it is not necessary for half the players to get to their feet and get ready to play.
Basketball gets a lot of criticism about foul shooting--many say it disrupts the flow of the game, others find the somewhat arbitrary foul shooting rules confusing (the first few fouls are non-shooting, then there is a point when the 1-and-1 is in effect, then all fouls are 2-shots), and everyone knows how the last few minutes of a game can drag on forever as the losing team continually fouls the winning team in an attempt to catch up. My proposal is the simplify the foul shooting rules and make fouls more costly, especially at the end of the game. The proposal is this: 1) all fouls are shooting fouls, and 2) a fouled player keeps shooting fouls until he/she misses, up to the number of personal fouls assessed to the player who committed the foul. So, if Player X was fouled by Player Y, and the foul was Player Y's third foul, then Player X could shoot up to three foul shots until he/she missed. Also, there is no distinction between fouls on someone attempting a 3-point field goal as opposed to a 2-point field goal, and the idea of the one foul shot after a made basket is eliminated--the proposed foul rule is in effect regardless of whether a basket is made or not. The result of this proposal is that foul shooting is actually given more importance, since a foul on a made 3-point basket could result in an 8-point play if the fouling player had 5 fouls and the fouled player made all 5 foul shots.