Entering the 2015-16 season last year, there were a handful of in-game rule changes that altered the play of college basketball. Such as, the 30-second shot clock and the extension of total timeouts for each team. But for this season, there still could be more problems to solve and guideline to administer. Not every rule is right, some are flawed and some are precise. However, with 351 teams competing in Division I each season, there seems like there could be a better format that we could create amongst the game itself. Here are four possible rule changes for the sport.
1. 80 team March Madness: I know what you’re thinking, not another jump in teams. However, if I was the commissioner, I would permanently cap it at 80, never going higher. Since expanding to 68 teams in 2011, the first four format on Tuesdays and Wednesdays has proven to be either hit-or-miss. With no one outside of any team’s region that’s playing it saps interest because your bracket isn’t affected until Thursday morning.
I would add my 12 extra teams differently than what most would. I would first make sure more mid majors are represented, offering 11-of-the-12 spots to the next best 11 mid majors. This way, there’s more of an emphasis put on the regular season conference title, not what you accomplished during a three or four day tournament. Now by utilizing this format, winning the conference tournament rewards each team with a bye into the field of 64. However, if you win your regular season title, it at least awards you a play-in game. 12 Play-in games would take place at four out of the eight first and second round sites on Tuesday or Wednesday, which would pit the 12 Wildcard bids against the last 12 at-large teams.
2. NIT Winner gets automatic bid into next year’s NCAA Tournament: Where does the final bid come from you ask? Good question. The 12th bid should come from the NIT winner the previous year. With the NIT awarding the winner, it would create a very competitive tournament, much more than what it is today. Just imagine the NIT Final 4 with a bid on the line? That would be amazing.
Recruiting advantages would be a great reward also. Within this rule, I would eliminate tournaments such as the CBI and CIT among others. Making a postseason tournament should be special and it’s not if we keep creating more and more tournaments after selection Sunday to dilute the Madness in March.
3. No more One-and-Dones: The thing I feel is the most irritating aspect about college basketball is when freshman leave early for the NBA draft. Over the years, only a handful of the top freshman phenoms actually appear ready to make the jump into the NBA each season and play major minutes. A bunch of players leave because of the money, but at the end of the day, unless you are a Kentucky, Duke or Kansas, losing a one-and- done really sets your program back a year or two and that’s not fair.
In lieu of this, they should extend the rule to two years, just like the NFL. This way there would be more prospects seasoned to be contributing at the next level. A firm case of this is amongst the relationship between College Football and NFL.
4. Mandatory In-state Games: I would put in a rule into place that requires each team has to play at least three non- conference opponents that are in their state. While some states makes this rule more difficult than others, others regions of the United States bears serious intrigue. For instance, imagine if this rule applied to universities in Texas, California, or Kansas. This would create some very compelling matchups such as Stephan F. Austin against Baylor, St. Mary’s against UCLA, or Kansas against Wichita State? The options are endless. Considering the balance of scheduling, these sets of non-conference games would likely make sense after the Thanksgiving tournaments in early to mid December.