What rule changes would you like to see in the major sports?

Submitted by TheGhostofYost on March 10th, 2013 at 11:43 PM

Trying to take my mind off the tough loss tonight, I was thinking about rule changes that I would like to see in college football and basketball (or any other sport).  Here are a few that I was pondering:

1. Shorten the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. I'll call this the Anti-Bo-Ryan Rule.

2. Move the 3 point line back to NBA distance. Teams have become too reliant on it, and it hurts the game in my opinion.

3. Eliminate the jump ball rule.  If the offense can't maintain possession without getting tied up, the defense should be awarded the ball. It's crazy that we have 5 and 3 second calls, but if the offense puts the ball right in the defenders hands, they might get it back.

4. Eliminate the block/charge call. Stop looking for the "taking a charge pose" that has us all laughing at/hating Duke and Indiana.  Call contact like you would any other foul.

5. I'd like to see the 1 and 1 rule altered, though I'm not sure how. Statistically, it gives the fouling team too much in terms of risk/reward.  The median offensive efficiency for CFB teams is .986 points per possession.  The average FT shooting percentage is below 70%. The statistical difference here between getting one point from a bonus situation and one point for a typical possesion is, for me, not enough of a penalty for a team intentionally fouling late in the game.  I'll call this the "I'm pissed about how today's game ended" rule, but this is the one I feel strongest about.  The numbers just do not support a 1 and 1 situation.

6. In football, make holding a 5 yard penalty.  The vast majority of sacks aren't ten yards, and most holdings don't prevent a sack/create a play over ten yards.  The average yards per play is about 5.4. 

7. If a team is intentionally committing a safety, a holding penalty should place the time of the play back on the clock and the yardage should be assessed on the kickoff. 

8. If a team intentionally fouls in the last 2 minutes, it is automatically double bonus. 

What do you think?  What are some rules that you would like to see changed?

Edit:  I can't count. Numbers adjusted. I'll also add a #8.



Canadian Wolve…

March 11th, 2013 at 1:19 AM ^

This sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure it would work in practice. If the coach is going to decline the foul, they'll just have to inbound the ball again, and get fouled again over and over until the defensive team finally denied the inbound play and got the ball back. I supposed it could work though when a team is in a one and one situation. They could just decline until they are in double bonus. If you're going to do that though, you might as well just get rid of the one and one rule altogether.


March 11th, 2013 at 10:22 AM ^

Make the fouls hurt more, you broke the rules, the penalty should hurt.  How about when you are in the bonus you get a free throw and the ball, in the doulbe bonus you get two FT and the ball.

For shooting fouls before the bonus you could give the coach the choice of freethrows or the ball.  That way you can't force a 17% free throw shooter to the line with hack a Shaq.  It also avoids the need to put good free throw shooters in at the end of the game, often creating a size disadvantage, let the best players play and win the game on their merits. 



March 11th, 2013 at 12:57 AM ^

I'd be in favor of college basketball adopting just about any NBA rule they could.

Three point line, shot clock, game length, handchecking, timeouts, etc. Too many college games are borderline unwatchable and the rules are a big part of it.


March 11th, 2013 at 4:14 AM ^

How about this then: I'm in favor of any rule that eliminates the Wisconsin style of basketball as a practical game strategy. Increasing the number of possessions, allowing guards to not be constantly fouled on the perimeter, ending manipulation of block/charge by defenses, etc.

It's the same thing really.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:00 AM ^

Here's something I've always wanted to do in hockey: Eliminate the red line, move the blue lines about 10 feet closer to the goal lines (so that they're not far from the faceoff circles), and add a second set of blue lines about a third of the distance from the existing blue line to the existing red lines. 

Then write the offsides rule so that the puck must cross over the lines closer to the ends in order to enter the zone, and in order to be cleared, must cross over the lines further from the ends.  In this way you make both the neutral zone and the offensive zone bigger; in effect making the rink bigger without actually having to change its physical size.

In truth, the rule is already written this way, so it wouldn't be as revolutionary a change as it sounds.  The puck must cross the whole blue line in order to enter the zone and then cross the whole blue line again to leave the zone.  So the blue line is either in the neutral zone or the offensive zone depending on where the puck is.  This would just increase the amount of rink that that applies to.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:09 AM ^

and this is probably getting lost on my end, but what does adding two more blue lines have to do with the goals in the following paragraphs? You would then have five zones instead of three, and it seems like it would be common to get tripped up by the new blue line on a breakout. Or, if you're not going to call offisides with the new blue lines, why not just eliminate them and go with two blue lines for your plan?

Adding to your "already written this way" paragraph, the entire puck has to cross the entire line, so that's another 2.99 inches in rink space as you define it.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:30 AM ^

This would be easier to show than tell.  Here's a normal rink for reference:


 photo hockeyrink1.jpg

Here's what I'd change it to:


 photo hockeyrink2.jpg

There still are only three zones.  The ice might look divided up into five, but if you think of it in terms of the present rules, the two areas between the new blue lines would really just function as really thick old blue lines.  When the puck is in the neutral zone, then the neutral zone is the area between the outer blue lines:


 photo hockeyrink3.jpg

Thus making a much larger neutral zone than before.  Offenses could get closer to the net before they're offsides.  Once the offense gets the puck over the outer blue line, then the defense must clear it past the inner one.  The offensive zone is much larger than before, so more room for the offense to operate:


 photo hockeyrink4.jpg

I'm not sure what you mean by "tripped up by the new blue line" or the other stuff, so I can't address it all that well, but there you go as best I can.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:51 AM ^

I mean crossing the middle two blue lines would constitute offsides into the new zone easily. A pass from one of the current offsides dots to a player immediately past the current center ice faceoff circle would be illegal, no? A team would have to gain possession of both blue lines on the attacking end with the current offsides rules. Given the current use of a blueline, every player would be stuck in the middle zone before having to clear the new inner blue line and then also clear the one outer line near the attacking zone.

With the diagrams I can see what the intent is, but why not leave it at two blue lines and make them ~20' in diameter each while removing the red line?



March 11th, 2013 at 1:18 PM ^

No - for all intents and purposes the middle two blue lines would not exist while the puck is in the neutral zone.  (And then when the zone is gained, the outer two blue lines would not exist.  The lineman would station himself at the one that matters.)  Yes, it might require a tweaking of the way the offsides rule is written, but in this idea of mine, the offense would not have to gain both blue lines.  Just the one closest to the goal lines.  A pass from center ice across the first blue line would be legal.

If you wanted to just make 20'-thick blue lines, it would serve the same purpose so I wouldn't argue against it.  I just thought that would look kind of strange.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:10 AM ^

I'd keep it exactly the way it is. My pet peeve is Dick Vitale complaining about how unfair the jump ball rule is. Well, if a short guy ties up a tall guy, and they jump it up, the tall guy will win the tap. That's unfair to the short guy. Why should he be penalized for being short? The way the rule works now, if you tie a guy up, your team gets the ball half the time. That makes sense because you didn't gain possession, you only shared the possession.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:18 AM ^

Change the one and one rule.  in the last 2 minutes of the game, all fouls after a team's seventh for the half that is deemed to be intentional (that is, to extend the game, put the other team on the line intentionally - so any foul committed by a team trailing with the intention of putting the other team on the line) is automatically a two shot foul.  I've hated that for a long time - gives the trailing team too much of an advantage.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:23 AM ^

Every charge while dribbling should be a ruled a defensive foul. I'm sorry, throwing your body in front of a dribbling ball carrier is not defense. It's a bailout. Move your feet.


March 11th, 2013 at 5:48 PM ^

So am I.  Let's say a point guard crosses over his man and sees nothing but the center between himself and the rim.  The center has obvious position.  If there's no such thing as a charge, the obvious thing to do is fling yourself at the center's chest as hard as possible and throw up a foul-me shot.  Because why actually try to score if there's the chance of getting it blocked when you can just put the guy in foul trouble and get your free-throws?

Likewise, once centers figure this out, they'll just jump up and hack the guy first to try and prevent it from being a shooting foul.

We had this discussion before.  The charge-block decision isn't ideal but it's better than all the alternatives.  Getting rid of charging fouls is dumb and offers no incentive whatsover to defend or play offense correctly.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:35 AM ^

I'd like them to actually start calling diving in the NHL. It's not necessarily a rule change per se, but it would be tremendously beneficial.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:43 AM ^

I'd like to see them call diving separate from calling penalties.  I HATE when they call both a hooking and a diving penalty.  (Or interference or whatever.)  It's stupid.  HOW CAN IT BE A DIVE IF IT WAS ACTUALLY A PENALTY AND HOW CAN IT BE A PENALTY IF THE GUY TOOK A DIVE????  SO DUMB.


March 11th, 2013 at 2:18 AM ^

and not a major sport, but the designated hitter in softball being called the designated player is one of my biggest pet peeves in sports. Is the SS not a designated player? Isn't the pitcher a designated player? Call it what it is, the player designated to hit for the player who sucks at hitting but is good at their defensive position. In short: designated hitter.


March 11th, 2013 at 10:27 AM ^

"In MLB, get rid of the designated hitter."


You are wrong and you should apologize.

In all seriousness, DH arguments seem to be like political arguments. There are two sides, they both think that the other side could not be more wrong, and they cannot fathom how the other side came to the conclusions that they did.


March 11th, 2013 at 3:20 AM ^

I would actually drop overtime for non-playoff games in all sports, and count a tie as half a win. The games are long enough as it is. For playoff games:

football - the college system would be ok if they started from the 45 instead of the 25, put more emphasis on offense and defense and less on the kickers. The NFL system is better than what they had, but I would prefer to see the game end only when one team has both the lead and the ball.

baseball - keep as is.

basketball - keep as is but reduce the number of timeouts.

hockey - drop the shootouts, just play until someone scores. Maybe do alternating power plays or something if no one scores after a full 20 minute period.

soccer - this is the hardest one. I would get rid of penalty kicks, make overtime sudden death, and allow 25 players to suit up for each team with unlimited substitution (including of players who had previously come off) after each 15 minutes in overtime. If no one scores after 60 extra minutes, maybe have them go down to 8 on 8 but with the same substitution rules.





March 11th, 2013 at 3:27 AM ^

1) Intent to blow gone.  Either you blew it or you didn't.  Puck in before whistle sounds = goal.

2) Trapezoid gone.  It's dumb.

3) Hybrid icing at the NHL level.

4) Over the glass is like icing, not a minor.

5) Pitch clock in baseball.  You get 20 seconds or it's a ball.  Suck it, unbearably slow pitchers.

6) Remove the one and one entirely.

7) More radically call all intentional fouls at the end of games intentional.  If you're down 8 with 60 seconds left, that's your fault, regardless of whether the other team knocks down those free throws.

8) Reduce the number of timeouts by at least two in basketball.  Probably down to three total.

9) Either remove the kickoff or don't, stop fiddling with the rules.

10) Treat illegal man downfield the same on punts as on any other play.  Return the punt return.

11) Pass interference as a spot foul in college.

12) Remove the illegal contact rule in the NFL.  Passing is too easy there.

There are probably more, but that does for a start.


March 11th, 2013 at 3:34 AM ^

snowcrash, I think it's natural to hate ties. One of the largest downfalls of soccer is when a game ends 0-0 no overtime or tiebreak. It's hard to convince people to keep watching games when they see one like that. I would protest wholeheartedly if they brought back ties in college football.

I was thinking about this and it's almost never an issue but how about a pass interference call in college football that becomes a spot foul if you make no effort to play the ball. This would have to be blatant just tackling the guy going for a catch.

swan flu

March 11th, 2013 at 7:58 AM ^

I think the tie issue is not as black and white as you see it. Every soccer fan I know is entirely fine with ties. I think casual soccer fans dislike them because they haven't watched enough soccer to appreciate them or understand the consequences that would happen without them.


March 11th, 2013 at 5:29 AM ^

I totally agree about making the penalty harsher on teams that foul in basketball. It'd be nice not to drag out games for so long. It's the worst part about basketball IMO. The game's all about flow and then the end of a game often turns into a foul/timeout fest that takes absurdly long and totally saps my interest in it unless it's Michigan playing. And the fact that you can even foul out of a game is ridiculous. You could allow 6 fouls as someone suggested but why do they need to foul out of the game at all? Just make it so committing a foul isn't worth it when fouls add up more. I don't like listening to Bill Walton usually but he made a great point railing against this one time. Essentially ejecting a player from a game because he picks up too many fouls, especially considering at least one of those is going to be some questionable ticky-tack foul. How dumb would it be for an offensive lineman to get kicked out of a game for having 2 or 3 holding penalties or even to miss half a game and give up sacks when he's in because he already has 1 or 2 holding penalties and God forbid he might do it again. There's no need for some absurd rule like that in football (or any other sport!) because very few penalties are worth committing (e.g., situational pass interference calls).


March 11th, 2013 at 5:32 AM ^

I hate how long it takes to watch the end of a game. I wish they had one timeout, and there was a heck of a lot less incentive to foul at the end of the game.


March 11th, 2013 at 5:37 AM ^

In soccer, there should be five balls going at once, each with a number written clearly on the side. Then a sixth "powerball" can be dropped into the mix. If a lucky fan matches all of the numbers printed on his ticket, then he gets to play goalkeeper for five minutes on the team of his choosing. Also there are tanks or something.

swan flu

March 11th, 2013 at 8:06 AM ^

Bring soccer's "advantage" rule into basketball. ie. if someone commits a reach in or something dumb in the last 30 seconds, but the offensive team maintains possession of the ball, let the team maintain play. Or perhaps give the team the option to use their bonus 1 and 1 free throws or just take an inbound pass.


March 11th, 2013 at 9:50 AM ^

They should not allow a charge to be called on a guy if someone steps in his path after he has left his feet.  It is dangerous and rewards a cheap defensive play.


March 11th, 2013 at 10:02 AM ^

If the coach is on the field/court during play, it's an automatic technical (basketball) foul or 5 yard penalty (football).  

I watched the referee have to push Crean out of his way yesterday because Crean was on the court when play was in the IU end of the court.  

I think Izzo is the worst offender of this.  

This bugs the shit out of me.  

ND Sux

March 11th, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

rule change, because it is weary of being yelled at. 

In football (college and pro), STOP rewarding the offense with a cheap pass interference call when the ball is underthrown, causing the receiver to stop or adjust back to the ball.  The DB is in full stride trying to cover, and in my mind the offensive guy is causing the contact.  Why reward the poor throw?

I hate this call even when it benefits my team, and I've been screaming about it for years.  Last year I FINALLY heard an announcer express my viewpoint, and it was Herbie on ESPN. 

Blue and Joe

March 11th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

Instant replay in baseball for almost everything but balls and strikes. We have the technology to get the call right EVERY TIME but they aren't using it because of "baseball purists." It's ridiculous.


March 11th, 2013 at 11:18 AM ^

10. One player on each soccer team may be allowed to ride a motorcycle during the game.

9. All time clocks must have audible metronome sounds.

8. Calling a time out requires at least one player on that team to sit in a corner of the stadium or arena until the time out ends.

7. One player per team may be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs, provided that the drugs are classified as hallucinogens and were ingested at least 30 minutes before the game began.

6. A relief pitcher may enter the game only while driving a Zamboni from the bullpen area to the mound.

5. No crying in baseball.

4. Shoelaces and skate laces must be untied at all times.

3. Penalty kicks involve players from each team alternately kicking a player on the other team until a coroner has to be called.

2. Only taunt allowed: Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!

1. Free admission to the first 10,000 fans. 


March 11th, 2013 at 1:22 PM ^

Just remembered what I want to make happen with soccer: No offsides once the ball is inside the box or past the line that demarcates it (so it wouldn't be called near the corners either.)  I mean come on.  The offside trap is a fine tactic but when the ball has advanced that far, play defense.  Outside of the ever-present flop there's nothing I hate more about soccer than seeing a good quality scoring chance ruined because the defenders aren't defending, instead they're playing offside-gotcha games.