New Playing Rules for Men’s and Women’s Basketball for 2015-2016

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball rules committees have approved new rules to be implemented this upcoming season.


To improve the pace of play and to provide better balance between offense and defense while reducing the physicality in the sport of men’s basketball, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a package of proposals for officials to focus on for the 2015-2016 season.

  • Perimeter defense, particularly on the dribbler
  • Physicality in post paly;
  • Screening, particularly moving screens and requiring the screener to be stationary; block/charge plays; and
  • Allowing greater freedom of movement for players without the ball.

Pace of Play

The shot clock has been reduced from 35 seconds to 30 seconds. This is the first change in the shot clock since the 1993-94 season when the shot clock was reduced from 45 seconds to 35 seconds.

There will be one fewer team time out in the second half meaning that only three can carry over instead of four. And, coaches will not be allowed to call a timeout when the ball is live.

The media time out procedures will be adjusted so that a timeout called within 30 seconds of a media timeout will become the media timeout. For example, if a timeout is called at 16:30 mark of the game, that timeout will count as the 16:00 timeout.

Officials will focus on moving the game along by issuing a delay-of-game warning when a team does not quickly return to play after a time-out. On subsequent violations of this rule there will be a one-shot technical foul imposed on the offending team. Additionally, there will be a reduction from 20 seconds to 15 seconds to replace a disqualified player.

 Restricted-area Arc

The restricted–area arc will be expanded from three feet to four feet. This arc will be effective for the 2015-2016 season in Division I, and in 2016-2017 for Division II and III. This move will be in place to help with a continued focus on reducing the number of collisions at the basket.

 Additional Rules Changes

  • Officials will be able to use the monitor to review a potential shot clock violation on made field goals throughout the entire basketball game.
  • Changing Class B technical fouls from two shots to one shot. Examples of Class B technical includes hanging on the rim and delaying the resumption of play.
  • When using video review to see if a flagrant foul occurred, officials may now penalize players who fake fouls.
  • Elimination of the five-second closely guarded rule while dribbling the ball.
  • Removal of the prohibition on dunking the ball in pre-game warmups and at half-time.

Experimental Rule:

During 2016 postseason tournament other than the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, players will be allowed to obtain six personal fouls, instead of five, before being disqualified.


NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a series of rule modifications that were recommended by the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee in May. The changes were also endorsed by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors.

Quarters to Replace Halves

Instead of two 20-minute halves, beginning next season, women’s college basketball teams will play four 10-minute quarters.

With the new format a team will receive a two-shot bonus after its opponent commits five team fouls in a quarter. This replaces the previous rule of a team receiving a one-and-one bonus on the seventh foul of each half and receiving two shots [double bonus] on the 10th team foul.

With the four-quarter format, team fouls will reset to zero at the beginning of each quarter. If a team reaches the bonus in the fourth quarter, the team remains in the bonus during any additional overtime periods that may follow.

Advancing the Ball

If a timeout is called following a made basket in the final minutes of the four quarter, and in all overtime periods, teams will be allowed to inbound the ball from the frontcourt. After securing the ball following a rebound or a change of possession, teams will be allowed to inbound the ball at the 28-foot mark on the side of the court where the scorer’s table is located. These changes are designed to add more excitement to offensive possessions at the end of games by no longer requiring teams to travel the length of the court after inbounding the ball.

10-second Backcourt Exceptions

Women’s basketball implemented the 10-second backcourt rule during the 2013-2014 season. For 2015-2016 a team will not be subjected to this rule when on the throw-in:

  • A ball is deflected out of bounds by the defense;
  • There is a held ball, and the possession arrow favors the offensive team; and/or
  • A technical foul is called on the offensive team while the ball is in the backcourt.

Post Defense

Defenders will be allowed to use hand-checks with a forearm or open hand with a bended elbow on an offensive post player whose back is to the basket.

Bands and Amplified Music

Bands and amplified music will be allowed during all dead-ball situations instead of just at timeouts and half-time.

Other Modifications to the Game

The Panel will consider some modified proposals regarding time-outs during its next meeting June 24, 2015. One proposal concerns time-outs and one concerns shot-clock violations at the end of the game.


There will be a limit of one media timeout per quarter and it will take place at the first dead ball after the five-minute mark. If one of the teams calls a timeout before the five-minute mark, that time out will count as the media timeout. The first called team timeout in the third quarter would be considered as a full media timeout.

Teams will have four timeouts — three 30-second timeouts and one 60-second timeout. The 60-second timeout may be used at the coach’s discretion. Teams will be allowed to carry over three of the timeouts into the third and fourth quarter.

Each team will be awarded one 30-second timeout in each overtime period, plus any unused timeout remaining from the third and fourth quarters.

In non-televised games, teams will have five timeouts – three 30 second timeouts and two 60-second timeouts. As many as four timeouts could be carried over to the third and fourth quarters.

Shot Clock Violations at the End of the Game

There is a recommendation that during the last two minutes of the game that officials can decide if there has been a shot-clock violation by looking at when the clock runs down to zero in addition to listening for when the buzzer sounds.






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