Men’s College Basketball 3-Point Line Moving Back
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved moving the 3-point line to the international basketball distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches in men’s basketball.
The women’s 3-point line will remain at its current distance, which is 20 feet 9 inches, although it will be experimented with at the longer distance in all post-season competition outside of the NCAA Tournament.
The new men’s 3-point line will be effective for the 2019-20 season in Division I. Due to the potential financial impact of placing a new line on courts, the new 3-point line will go into effect for the 2020-21 season in Divisions II and III.
Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members recommended the change after receiving positive feedback from the annual rules survey from coaches whose teams competed in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitation Tournament, where the international 3-point distance was used on an experimental basis.
The committee 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.
Teams in the 2019 NIT averaged 23.1 field goal attempts in the tournament from behind the arc, compared with 22.8 3-point attempts in the 2018-19 regular season. The 3-point shooting percentage of teams in the 2019 NIT was 33%, compared with their regular season average of 35.2%.
When the line was moved before the 2008-09 season, the distance went from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches. The percentage of 3-point shots made during that season compared with the previous season declined from 35.2% to 34.4%. The percentage of made 3-point field goals steadily increased back to 35.2% in Division I by the 2017-18 season.
The panel also approved resetting the shot clock at 20 seconds after a field goal attempt hits the rim and the offensive team rebounds the ball in the front court. That change will also be implemented for this season in the women’s game.
The change is being made to enhance the pace of the game. The committee decided a full 30-second shot clock is not needed because the offensive team is already in the front court after securing the rebound.
This was an experimental rule in the 2019 NIT, as well.