College basketball is the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Basketball in the NCAA is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III. The history of college basketball can be traced back to a YMCA International Training School, known today as Springfield College located Springfield, Massachusetts. The creation of basketball can be credited to a physical education teacher named James Naismith. During the winter of 1891, Naismith was given two weeks to come up with a game that would keep the track athletes in shape and that could still prevent them from getting hurt. The first recorded basketball game was played on December 21, 1891, and thus, college basketball had been born.
The original rules for basketball were very different from today's modern rules of the sport. In the beginning there were 13 original rules:
- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
- A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.
- The ball must be held by the hands. The arms or body must not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
- A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
- If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).
- A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do no touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
- The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
- The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
- The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
- The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner.
As it may be seen the rules from the beginnings of basketball were very different from the rules of today. After the first game people were impressed by the amount of fun the game was. So, many students that went home from school took the game of basketball with them and the game was an instant success. By 1900, many colleges had a basketball teams that were playing each other, including the University of Kansas that was being coached by Naismith himself. The first doubleheader was played in New York, at Madisonn Square Garden in 1934. The two games were between New York University and Notre Dame, and Westminster and St John's. New York University won 25-18 and Westminster won 37-33. This symbolized the growth of basketball and how it had expanded and gained popularity all across the United States and throughout the Universities.
The first national tournament that came about was the NIT, or National Invitation Tournament, in 1938. Every tournament was played at Madison Square Garden in New York. A year later, another tournament was implemented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This tournament's location varied from year to year, so more fans could come see games being played instead of having to travel to New York. Although the NIT was created first, it lost popularity over time to the NCAA Tournament. In 1950, the NCAA ruled that no team could compete in both tournaments, in effect indicating that if a team were eligible for the NCAA tournament, it had better play in it. Since then, the NCAA tournament has clearly been the major one, with conference champions and the majority of the top-ranked teams participating in it.Through the 1960s and 1970s, with UCLA leading the way with ten NCAA Tournament championships, a shift in power to teams from the west enhanced this attention shift away from the New York City-based NIT. When the NCAA tournament expanded its field of teams from 25 to 32 in 1975, then to 48 in 1980, and then most recently to 64 in 1985, interest grew in the NCAA tournament because it contained more teams than the NIT, as well as utilizing more distributed competition locations.
In 2012-13, there were 347 schools in 32 Division I basketball conferences. These figures will increase by four schools in 2013-14, and the Great West Conference (which did not have an automatic NCAA Tournament bid) will be replaced in the count by the American Athletic Conference (which will have a bid). The conferences for 2013-14 are:
There are 23 Division II basketball conferences. The conferences are as follows:
There are 6 independent Division II schools without conference affiliations for the 2012–13 season.
The 2012–13 season will be the last for the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. In June 2012, the conference's nine football-playing members announced a split from the six non-football schools. Eight of the nine schools that announced the split eventually joined with one WVIAC non-football member and three other institutions to form the Mountain East Conference, which is set to begin play in the 2013–14 season. Of the remaining schools, three will join the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and two will join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, with one becoming an independent.
- See: NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championship and NCAA Women's Division III Basketball Championship
Relationship to professional basketball
In past decades, the NBA held to tradition and drafted players who had graduated from college. This was a mutually beneficial relationship for the NBA and colleges—the colleges held onto players who would otherwise go professional, and the NBA did not have to fund a minor league. As the college game became commercialized, though, it became increasingly difficult for "student athletes" to be students. Specifically, a growing number of poor, under-educated, highly talented teenage basketball players found the system exploitative—they brought in funds to schools where they learned little and played without income.
The American Basketball Association began to employ players who had not yet graduated. After a season of junior college, a season at the University of Detroit, and an Olympic gold medal, Spencer Haywood played the 1969-70 season with the ABA's Denver Rockets. He signed with the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics in 1970, before his college class graduation, defying NBA rules. Haywood pleaded that, as his family's sole wage earner, he should be allowed to earn a living in the NBA or else his family would face destitution. The ensuing legal battle went to the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled in 1971 that the NBA does not have the same antitrust exemption enjoyed by Major League Baseball. Thereafter, collegiate players demonstrating economic hardship were allowed early entry into the NBA Draft. The hardship requirement was eliminated in 1976.
In 1974, Moses Malone joined the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association (which became part of the NBA after the ABA-NBA merger in 1976) straight out of high school and went on to a Hall of Fame career. The past 30 years have seen a remarkable change in the college game. The best international players routinely skip college entirely, many American stars skip college (Shawn Kemp, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard, Amar'e Stoudemire and LeBron James) or only play one year (Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Greg Oden) and only a dozen or so college graduates are now among the 60 players selected in the annual NBA Draft. Fewer high schoolers will progress directly to the NBA without at least one year of college basketball beginning in 2006; citing maturity concerns after several incidents involving young players, the labor agreement between players and owners now specifies that players must turn 19 years of age during the calendar year of the draft to be eligible. Additionally, U.S. players must be at least one year removed from their high school graduation.
The pervasiveness of college basketball throughout the nation, the large population of graduates from "major conference" universities, and the NCAA's marketing of "March Madness" (officially the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship), have kept the college game alive and well. Some commentators have argued that the higher turnover of players has increased the importance of good coaches. Many teams have been highly successful, for instance, by emphasizing personality in their recruiting efforts, with the goal of creating a cohesive group that, while lacking stars, plays together for all 4 years and thus develops a higher level of sophistication than less stable teams could achieve.
College basketball remains more popular than the NBA in some regions of the United States, such as in North Carolina and the upper Midwest (where traditionally strong programs at Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana are found).
Distinctions with NBA and WNBA play
The NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee, consisting of coaches from all three divisions of the NCAA, sets the rules for college men's basketball play. A parallel committee sets rules for college women's play. Although many of the NBA and WNBA rules apply in NCAA play, there are differences that make NCAA play unique.
An NCAA game is divided into two halves, each 20 minutes long, while NBA games are played in four quarters of 12 minutes each and WNBA games are played in 10-minute quarters. The NCAA shot clock gives a men's team 35 seconds to shoot and a women's team 30 seconds, while the shot clock used in both the NBA and WNBA gives teams 24 seconds. Also, NCAA men's teams are allowed 10 seconds to move the ball past the halfcourt line, and NCAA women's teams have no time limit on moving the ball past the halfcourt line, while NBA and WNBA rules allow only 8 seconds. However, like the NBA and WNBA (and high school basketball), during the last minute of each half, the game clock keeps time remaining in the period measured in tenths of a second, rather than full seconds.
Though the height of the basket, the foul line's distance from the backboard, and the court dimensions are the same, the distance between the three-point line and the backboard is different. The NBA three-point line measures 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m) at the top of the circle, or 22 feet (6.7 m) in the corners or baseline. On the NCAA court, the three-point line had been a constant 19 feet 9 inches (6.02 m), but the NCAA Rules Committee voted in May 2007 to extend it a foot more to 20 feet 9 inches (6.32 m), which became effective beginning the 2008–09 season. The WNBA's three-point line is 6.25 m (20 ft 6 in), which FIBA used before it extended its three-point arc to 6.75 m (22 ft 1 1⁄2 in) at the top of the circle and 6.6 m (21 ft 8 in) at the corners and baseline. The NCAA lane measures 12 feet (3.7 m) in width, while the NBA and WNBA lane is 16 feet (4.9 m); the FIBA lane is marginally wider than the NBA/WNBA lane at exactly 4.9 m (16 ft 1 in).
NCAA players are allowed five personal fouls before fouling out, as opposed to their NBA counterparts, who are allowed six. This maintains the same ratio of minutes of play per foul allowed, eight. However, the WNBA allows players six personal fouls despite playing the same number of minutes as the NCAA. The number of team fouls allotted is also different. In all three competitions, team fouls can be categorized as shooting or non-shooting. A shooting foul occurs when a player gets fouled in the act of shooting (while airborne), giving him the chance to shoot free throws. A common foul (non-shooting foul) consists of all other fouls, including making contact with the opposing player while "reaching in" to steal the ball.
A team may make a certain number of non-shooting fouls per period before the opposing team is awarded free throws. In the NBA and WNBA, the fifth team foul in a quarter places the team in penalty. For every foul starting with the fifth, whether it's shooting or non-shooting, the opposing team receives two free throws. In addition, if an NBA or WNBA team has not entered the penalty in the last two minutes of a period, its team foul count is reset; the second team foul in the last two minutes triggers the penalty. In the NCAA, the penalty begins with the seventh team foul in a half. However, the fouled player must make the first free throw in order to get the second. This is called a "one and one" or "one and the bonus" situation. On the tenth team foul, the "double bonus" situation comes into play, meaning that every subsequent team foul results in two free throws for the opposing team. It should be noted that no free throws are shot at either level for a player control foul, which is an offensive foul (usually a charge). Unlike NBA/WNBA rules, the team foul count does not reset in the last two minutes of a half. Overtime periods are considered an extension of the second half under NCAA rules, but not under NBA/WNBA rules; in those leagues, the fourth team foul in any overtime period, or the second in the last two minutes, triggers the penalty.
When a dispute over ball possession arises, the jump ball is used in the NBA and WNBA. In the NCAA, once the first possession has been established from the opening tip, no further jump balls occur except to begin an overtime period. Since 1981, a possession arrow on the scorer's table has dictated which team should possess the ball, with the arrow switching directions after each use.
NCAA teams can call a timeout after they made a basket (Indiana scores a 3 point field goal and calls a timeout); in the NBA and WNBA, only the opposing team can call a timeout after a basket is made.
In addition, the NBA limits what types of defense a team can play, primarily in an effort to prevent coaches from slowing down the pace of the game by using zone defenses. Zone defense is permitted in the NBA and WNBA; however, players cannot stand in the lane for more than three seconds if they are not guarding anyone. In NCAA basketball, no such restriction exists, and coaches are free to design a variety of defensive techniques.
In college basketball, it is required by rule that the home team wears their white or light-colored jerseys while the visiting team wears their darker jersey color. The NBA, like most other professional sports leagues, lets the home team decide which uniform to wear, but with a few exceptions the home team has continued the tradition of the college game and wears white (or in the case of the Los Angeles Lakers for non-Sunday home games, gold) at home. This is for regular season play only; home teams always wear white during the playoffs. The WNBA, however, follows the college rule for all games.
The NBA introduced a new dress code rule in 2005. Now players are required to wear business casual attire whenever they are engaged in team or league business. This includes a long or short-sleeved dress shirt (collared or turtleneck), and/or a sweater; dress slacks, khaki pants, or dress jeans, and appropriate shoes and socks, including dress shoes, dress boots, or other presentable shoes, but not including sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, or work boots. The WNBA has a similar dress code, adjusted for standard women's attire. NCAA rules have no set dress code rule, leaving it up to individual teams or conferences.
The organizations also have different rules for jersey numbers. While the NBA and WNBA allow players to wear any number from 0-99, including 00, so long as it is available, the NCAA disallows any jersey number with a 6, 7, 8, or 9 in it. This is done to allow the referee to report fouls using hand signals with one hand, as each hand has only five fingers. High school basketball, whose rules are set by the National Federation of State High School Associations, also follows the NCAA's convention on jersey numbering.
While less commercialized than Division I, Division II and Division III are both highly successful college basketball organizations. Women's Division I is often televised, but to smaller audiences than Men's Division I. Generally, small colleges join Division II, while colleges of all sizes that choose not to offer athletic scholarships join Division III. D-II and D-III games, understandably, are almost never televised, although CBS televises the Championship Final of Division II, while CBS College Sports Network televises the semifinals as well as the Division III Final.
The NAIA also sponsors men and women's college-level basketball. The NAIA Men's Basketball National Championship has been held annually since 1937 (with the exception of 1944), when it was established by James Naismith to crown a national champion for smaller colleges and universities. Unlike the NCAA Tournament, the NAIA Tournament features only 32 teams, and the entire tournament is contested in one week instead of three weekends. Since 2002 the NAIA National Tournament has been played in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. (From 1994-2001 it was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and from 1937-1999 it was held at Municipal then Kemper Arena in Kansas City).
The only school to have won national titles in both the NAIA and NCAA Division I is Louisville; the Cardinals have also won the NIT title. Southern Illinois has won NAIA and NIT titles. Central Missouri and Fort Hays State have won NAIA and NCAA Division II national titles.
National Invitation Tournament (NIT)
- Men's college basketball awards
- Women's college basketball awards
- National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
- Sporting News College Basketball Athlete of the Decade (2000–09)
Records and lists
- NCAA Men's Division I Final Four appearances by school
- NCAA Men's Division I Final Four appearances by coaches
- List of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament Final Four participants
- NCAA Men's Division I Tournament all-time team records
- NCAA Men's Division I Tournament bids by school
- NCAA Men's Division I Tournament bids by school and conference
- NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship records
- NIT all-time team records
- NIT bids by school and conference
- NIT championships and semifinal appearances
- NCAA Women's Division I Tournament bids by school
- AIAW Women's Basketball Champions
- List of NCAA Division I women's basketball players with 3000 points
- NCAA Men's Division I Basketball alignment history
- Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW)
- AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament
- Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)
- Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA)
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
- NAIA Men's Basketball Championship
- NAIA Women's Basketball Championship
- Black participation in college basketball
- Women's basketball#University
- College athletics
- College rivalries
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