Larry “Contrary” Keating, an associate athletic director at Kansas University, loves to take the other side of a debate. He has had much tougher challenges than one he faced in his office Monday afternoon.
So, Larry Contrary, if college basketball changed the rule that disqualifies players after five fouls to four, the game would be less physical and more entertaining, right?
“No,” Keating said. “I want six. It keeps the good players in the game. I was a big proponent when the Big East did that for a year.”
That experiment happened during Keating’s 12-year run as athletic director of Seton Hall.
Now that Keating has crushed that spur-of-the-moment proposal, let’s see how he thinks actual rules changes coming this season in men’s and women’s college basketball might impact the game.
The semicircle under the basket that eliminates charging calls if the defender is within it will go into effect. In the women’s game, the three-point line will move out a foot, to 20-feet, 9-inches, the men’s distance the past three seasons.
Keating served two stints on the men’s basketball rules committee, the first in the mid-’90s, the next a decade later and was on the committee when the men moved the three-point line back.
Keating gave reasons he believes the rule changes will help Tyshawn Taylor, hurt Duke and help Carolyn Davis.
“If you’re playing a real quick guard like Tyshawn, you’re going to say, ‘OK, every time it looks like he’s going to the basket, slide across and try to draw the charge.’ So what was happening was these quick guards were beating their man and just about getting their shots off, if not getting them off, and then hitting this guy who’s just standing under the basket, not playing defense,” Keating said. “You go watch any Duke game. I guarantee you there are at least five times that the guy off the ball is getting charge calls. That was their defensive strategy. That’s not going to be a charge anymore.”
What will it be?
“It will be interesting to see if the refs will let the contact go or does this guy now get charged with a blocking foul?” Keating wondered. “Until you get through the fall and they have all the referee clinics and tell the guys how to administer the rules, we won’t know.”
Keating said the officials were supposed to pay more attention to “unfair off-the-ball defense,” but without the semicircle under the hoop, it never took.
“Now the ref’s got a place to look at to see it,” Keating said. “If the guy’s foot is in there, he’s not getting the call. Officials initially were opposed to it because it’s a tough call. You’re calling the play, and you’ve got to see where the guy’s feet are, too.”
Keating, who attends all the women’s games in Allen Fieldhouse as well, is a huge fan of Davis’ game.
“She’s one of the best I’ve ever seen at catching the ball and getting the shot off right away,” Keating said. “And I think moving the three-point line back will make it tougher for the players out front to double-down because they have one more foot of space to cover now.”
Good for Carolyn and Tyshawn, not so good for Duke. How do you like the new rules so far?