Basketball tourney adds media timeouts
In 2009, all games played in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship will have four media timeouts per half.
Competitive-equity concerns are the rationale for the Division III Men’s Basketball Committee’s decision, under which timeouts will be called after the first whistle under the 16-, 12-, eight- and four-minute marks.
Previously, the only game where four media timeouts per half were used was the championship game.
“We’ve always wrestled with the fact that you could play through the tournament, and then in the biggest game of the season and possibly the biggest in your career, you have to play under a set of rules that are different from what you’ve played all season long,” said Jim Dafler, committee chair and director of athletics at Westminster (Pennsylvania).
“It changes the substitution rotation,” he added. “It shortens the bench. We think it will enhance the championship experience for those teams, and it eliminates any confusion.”
During last year’s tournament, institutions that broadcast games had to request that media timeouts be granted. Now, everyone knows to plan for them in the postseason.
The committee also noted that the tournament field will increase from 59 to 60 teams, due to growth in the number of eligible teams for the championship and Division III’s team championships access ratio of one berth for every 6.5 institutions sponsoring a sport. The additional team will come from the at-large pool of candidates (Pool C).
The expansion lessens a burden on the committee, which had to determine which part of the bracket received two first-round byes.
“Now we can set up four 15-team brackets and have just four byes in the first round,” Dafler said.
The committee also set a minimum seating requirement to host preliminary rounds at 1,000 and increased the minimum seating to host sectionals to 1,200.
In other action, the committee is recommending requiring that an official work a conference tournament game in order to become eligible to call a game in the Division III championship.
The committee also recommended that, beginning in 2010, an officiating crew from each of the four regions around the country be represented at the finals site every other year.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association