NCAA committee approves moving 3-point line

Published: Friday, May 4, 2007 at 9:22 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 4, 2007 at 9:22 a.m.

Florida won national championships two years in a row by mixing an inside presence with a steady diet of 3-pointers.

On Thursday, the NCAA moved a step towards making the 3-point shot more difficult. The men's basketball rules committee approved a proposal to move the line back a foot from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches in all three of its divisions.

Pending approval by the playing rules oversight committee on May 25, the line will move back at the start the 2008-09 season.

"I'm not surprised by this, but it's not going to deter teams from taking 3-point shots," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

In many ways, Donovan is tied to the 3-point shot. As a point guard at Providence, Donovan made 97 of 237 3-pointers as a senior, leading the Friars to the Final Four in the college 3-point line's inaugural season (1986-87). As a coach, Donovan built his teams in the mold of his mentor, Rick Pitino, recruiting athletic players who combined the ability of playing up-tempo with the ability to shoot from long range.

As a result, Florida has been at or near the top of the Southeastern Conference in 3-point shooting percentage during Donovan's 11-year tenure. This past season, Florida ranked first in the SEC and ninth among Division I teams in 3-point field goal percentage at 40.9 percent.

Defensively, Florida proved it was as adept guarding the 3-point line as it was in making 3-point shots. In the NCAA Tournament finals against Ohio State, Florida made 10 of 18 3-point attempts while holding the Buckeyes to 4 of 23 from beyond the arc.

The rules committee discussed widening the three-second lane, but opted not to make any changes. Donovan is a proponent of making the lane wider in order to reduce clogging underneath the basket.

"Our game has become so physical that a way to reduce the physicality is to widen the lane," Donovan said. "The 3-point line will help with that, too."

The women's line will remain at 19 feet, 9 inches. The rules committee recommended a change in positioning along the lane during free throws. If approved, the bottom block would no longer be used. Instead, the first defensive player would line up in the second spot, leaving open first block under the basket.

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