By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – With the 2013-2014 regular season in the books, venerable Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reflected Monday on how the NCAA’s new emphasis on enforcing hand-check rules has impacted the game.
Izzo, who has built his legacy at Michigan State with teams that specialize in physical play, does not like the changes (turning hand-checking regulations into official rules instead of just guidelines) or the effect they have had.
“I’m just not a fan of them,” Izzo said. “I don’t like having my best players on the bench or playing with two fouls or three fouls. I watched the Duke-Carolina game, and to see a guy like [James Michael] McAdoo in so much foul trouble …
“I just think the emphasis that puts so much on that, that they have to change it to six fouls, or your best players are going to be on the bench,” Izzo added. “If they’re not fouled out of the game, they’re playing apprehensively.”
Per ESPN, prohibited actions that officials were expected to enforce more this season include the following:
• Keeping hand or forearm on an opponent.
• Putting two hands on an opponent.
• Continually jabbing an opponent by extending an arm or placing a hand or forearm on the opponent.
• Using an arm bar to impede the progress of a dribbler.
Izzo said the change in how hand-checking is officiated has been hard on players and coaches, and the entire matter has not set well with him.
“I think you’re going to have some weird stats at the end that are going to show that it’s been very successful because the scoring went up a couple points or maybe even guys don’t foul out as much because you take them out of the game like we all do with two fouls, we sit them for nine or 10 minutes,” Izzo said. “I just struggle with that, personally.”
Even more broadly, Izzo seemed a bit befuddled at the idea that fouling out is even part of basketball in the first place. In hockey, he mentioned, players are removed for short stints, but in most other sports, players can commit as many penalties or fouls as they want, and the team gets penalized, but the player remains eligible.
“We have a weird sport,” Izzo said. “Nobody’s disqualified in just about any sport unless you punch somebody. The game can be changed so much if a guy’s sitting out or a guy’s fouling out … I think it’s a severe penalty, personally, when you are eliminating people from games.”