The NCAA Moves the Men’s Basketball 3-Point Line Back to International Distance

Starting in the 2019-20 men’s college basketball season, the 3-point line will be moved back to the international distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches after the rule change was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

“Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members recommended the change after receiving positive feedback from the annual rules survey from coaches whose teams competed in the 2018 and 2019 National Invitation Tournament, where the international 3-point distance was used on an experimental basis,” according to a release from the NCAA.

The committee hopes that the extended 3-point line opens the lane for driving from the perimeter, makes 3-pointers more challenging and improves offensive spacing.

[MORE: Examining the Accuracy of “Way-Too-Early” Preseason Top 25 Rankings]

In April, we analyzed the effects of the experimental rule changes that were put in place for the 2019 NIT, which included the 22-foot, 1¾-inch 3-point line, and found that – as expected – players shot a slightly lower percentage from behind the arc and attempted fewer threes on a percentage basis.

In 31 games in the 2019 NIT, teams were 474-of-1,436 (33.0%) from behind the extended arc, while teams shot 34.4 percent from 3-point range over the course of the entire season.

In the NIT, 38.1 percent of shot attempts were threes, compared to 38.7 percent during the entire season.

The 3-point line in men’s college basketball was previously extended before the 2008-09 season from 19 feet, nine inches to 20 feet, nine inches.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approved a rule change that will reset the shot clock to 20 seconds after a field goal attempt hits the rim and the offensive team rebounds the ball in the front court.

Like the extended 3-point line, it was an experimental rule for the 2019 NIT, and the panel believes the rule change will help the pace of play in college basketball.

There were a few other rule changes approved by the panel, according to the NCAA:

  • The panel approved a proposal where players will be assessed a technical foul should they use derogatory language about an opponent’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, gender identify, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Coaches will be allowed to call live-ball timeouts in the last two minutes of the second half and the last two minutes of any overtime periods. Previously, coaches weren’t allowed to call any live-ball timeouts during the game.
  • In the last two minutes of the second half or the last two minutes of any overtime, instant replay review can be conducted if a basket interference or goaltending call has been made.

MORE: Examining the Effects of the NIT Experimental Rule Changes