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NCAA changes delay-of-game penalty in women’s basketball, adds rule on flopping

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The NCAA is changing its penalty for delay-of-game violations in women’s basketball and adding a new rule on flopping.

Players will no longer get charged a technical foul for certain delay-of-game violations, including the one Iowa star guard Caitlin Clark got called for in the Hawkeyes’ NCAA championship game loss to LSU. The All-American received a technical foul, according to a pool report after the game, because she didn’t pass the ball to an official after a foul was called late in the third quarter. That was deemed to be a delay of game by the officials.

Since it was the second delay-of-game violation for Iowa, Clark was charged with a technical foul. Players receive a personal foul when they are assessed a technical foul in college basketball, and the foul was Clark’s fourth of the game.

Under the new rule, that play would have resulted in the team getting a technical foul instead of Clark.

As for flopping, players will be issued a warning on the first offense and a technical foul will be charged for each subsequent infraction. Under the new rule, the second and any subsequent flop calls will add to the team foul count but would not count toward a player’s five fouls leading to disqualification.

The committee hopes this change will reduce instances of players trying to fool officials by flopping either on the offensive or defensive end.

The NCAA rules panel also approved reducing the restricted-area arc from 4 feet in the lane to the area directly underneath the basket. Defenders cannot establish a legal guarding position directly underneath the basket.

Previously, secondary defenders had to be outside the restricted arc to draw an offensive foul on a player.

Other rule changes included allowing players to wear any number from 0 to 99. And schools will no longer have to submit a waiver for players to don religious headwear, provided it is safe for competition.

The women’s basketball rules committee members were also concerned about the increase of intentional fouls, technical fouls and disqualifying fouls last season, as well as bench decorum and incidents of misconduct. Those will be a point of emphasis for officials this year.