For the first time since before the 2008-2009 season, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved to move the Division 1 three-point line. The new distance will be moving from 20 feet 9 inches, to 22 feet 1¾ inches in men’s basketball.
For Division 1, the rule will be effective beginning in this upcoming season. For Divisions 2 and 3, the new three-point line will be enforced beginning in the 2020-2021 season, to help with the potential financial impact of having to place new lines on basketball courts. This lengthened three-point line is already common in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), where it served its purpose for the NCAA in 2018 and 2019 as an experimental rule.
The reasons for the rule change involves the idea that with increased distance comes an increase in the difficulty of the three-pointer, also it helps to assist with offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover a little more of the floor and making the lane more available for driving plays from the perimeter.
In the 2019 NIT, with the new three-point line already in place, teams shot an average of 33% from behind the arc. This is a small decrease compared to the 35.2% average those same teams shot in the regular season when the previous three-point distance was in effect.
This new decision to move the line further from the basket doesn’t seem to be one to help out Tom Crean and the Georgia men’s basketball team, as they shot 32.2% from the three-point line a season ago — tied for 285th out of 351 teams in Division 1. Last years struggles shouldn’t cause much concern, as it isn’t a problem Crean can’t fix. In his last three seasons with Indiana, his teams shot 40% from the perimeter, collectively.
Another noteworthy change that was made is the new frontcourt shot clock. Starting next season, instead of having the shot clock reset to 30 seconds after an offensive rebound, it’ll start over at 20 seconds. The reason for this new rule is to enhance the pace of play. This was also an experiment during the 2019 NIT.