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January 21st College Football news ... Big East Picks at

Heisman voter sample: Open case won't nix Winston

Winston has not been charged, and prosecutors said Tuesday they likely will need about two more weeks to decide whether to bring charges on the nearly year-old complaint.
The deadline for Heisman voting is Dec. 9, with the winner announced Dec. 14 in New York. Winston has led No. 2 Florida State to an unbeaten record and is considered the favorite.
The AP emailed 92 media members who cover college football, including all 60 of its Top 25 college football poll voters, this question Wednesday:
"If there is no resolution in the criminal investigation involving Jameis Winston before the deadline for Heisman Trophy voting, would you drop him from consideration because of the current allegations against him? Yes or no?"
Thirty-three responded in the unscientific survey. Twenty-seven said no - they would not remove Winston from consideration for college football's most prestigious individual award.
There will be 928 Heisman voters this year. The AP sample represented 3.6 percent of the total.
"It is innocent till proven guilty right?" said Bruce Feldman of "Do people think the Heisman Trophy is more important than that?"
Four voters said they would drop Winston from consideration even if there was no resolution. Two Heisman voters said they could not make up their minds.
"This is a conundrum as a voter that is a can't-win situation. On one hand, I want to give Winston the benefit of the doubt and if he's the best player in college football, then he should get it," said John Silver of the Journal Inquirer of Connecticut. "But, character matters, and imagine the thought of Winston at the Heisman Ceremony with a sex charge awaiting him when he gets back to Tallahassee? That's a disaster for the Heisman and college football."
The Heisman Trust does not specifically preclude a player from being considered for off-the-field issues, but its mission statement does twice use the word "integrity."
"Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award, " it states.
Winston's legal issues and their impact on the Heisman race are unique, but still reminiscent of Cam Newton's 2010 Heisman run that was clouded by an NCAA investigation into his recruitment.
Ultimately, Newton and Auburn were cleared by the NCAA of wrongdoing during the week before the SEC championship game. The NCAA determined Newton's father had asked recruiters for money for his son to attend Mississippi State.
Newton won the Heisman going away, and went on to lead the Tigers to a victory in the BCS championship game against Oregon.
The Heisman Trust vacated Reggie Bush's 2005 Heisman victory after it was determined years later that he had broken NCAA rules during the season he won the award for Southern California.
The Heisman Trust has never asked another player to return his trophy.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

NCAA committees recommend rule changes for mens, womens basketball

All proposed rules changes by Bicimotos the committees must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which next convenes via conference call June 18, before becoming effective for the 2013-14 season.
The mens committee focused much of its discussions on attempting to open the game.

We talked a lot about the rules that are currently in place and ultimately believe a focused effort on calling the rules as written will have an immediate and significant impact, said John Dunne, chair of the committee and head coach at Saint Peters.

For what is believed to be the first time, the committee met with the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors and Division I Mens Basketball Committee to share concepts and opinions.

It was a tremendous opportunity to get some feedback and ultimately, particularly from the coaches, the emphasis was to call the rules that are already in the book, Dunne said.

In regard to the block/charge call in mens basketball, the committee is proposing that a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul.

The current rule calls for a defender to be in legal guarding position before the offensive player lifted off the floor.

Committee members believe this will give officials more time to determine block/charge calls. Committee members also believe the tweak to the block/charge rule will:
Allow for more offensive freedom;
Provide clarity for officials in making this difficult call; and
Enhance the balance between offense and defense.

In Division I games last season, the average amount of points scored in games was 67.5. This is the lowest scoring average since the 1981-82 season when teams averaged 67.6 points per game. The points-per-game average has also dipped in each of the past four seasons at the Division I level.

To curtail the impeding progress of a player, it will be stressed to officials that they must address these rules throughout the game.

The committee wants the following types of personal fouls be called consistently throughout the game:
When a defensive player keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent;
When a defensive player puts two hands on an opponent;
When a defensive player continually jabs by extending his arm(s) and placing a hand or forearm on the opponent;
When a player uses an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent.

Womens 10-second backcourt rule

In womens basketball, committee members added the 10-second rule in the backcourt for the first time since the NCAA began administering womens championships in 1981-82.

Previously, teams could take as much time off the 30-second shot clock as they wanted before crossing the mid-court line.

Officials will use the shot clock to determine if a 10-second violation has occurred.

Committee members believe adding the 10-second rule will increase the tempo of the game and create more offensive scoring opportunities.

Womens intercollegiate basketball is the only level in the sport throughout the world that does not have a backcourt rule in place.

If this rule is adopted by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, the committee is also recommending that the closely guarded rule in the backcourt be eliminated from the rules book.

The closely guarded rule in the frontcourt would read that a player holding the ball for five seconds with a defender not exceeding six feet will be a violation. Previously, the defender had to be within three feet of the offensive player with the ball to force a 5-second violation.

Given feedback from stakeholders through the years, this is the right time to approve the rule, said Barbara Burke, Womens Basketball Rules Committee chair and director of athletics at Eastern Illinois. Overall, we discussed pace of play, creating scoring opportunities and flow of the game. Adding the 10-second backcourt rule adds another element of strategy, and this rule fits into the concepts of growing the game.
The intent of the elbow rule has always been to protect the student-athletes and eliminate the rip move in mens basketball.
John Dunne

Monitor reviews

In mens and womens basketball, the committee recommended that in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime officials can go to the monitor to review a shot clock violation and to determine who caused the ball to go out of bounds on a deflection involving two or more players.

Additionally, it was recommended that when officials have a question to whether a shot was 2-point or a 3-point field goal, they will be allowed to signal to the scorers table that the play will be reviewed during the next media timeout. The Big Ten Conference successfully experimented with this rule during the season in 2012-13.

In the last 4 minutes of the game and the entire overtime, officials will go to the monitor immediately to look for indisputable evidence as to how many points should be awarded for a field goal.

Both committees approved the use of the monitor to determine the fouler when there is uncertainty after a call has been made. Currently, officials have only been permitted to determine the free throw shooter using the monitor.

Elbow rules

In mens and womens basketball, if a foul was called for elbow contact above the shoulders, the monitor may be used to determine if a flagrant foul has been committed.

In this scenario, the official may determine if the contact was a flagrant 2, flagrant 1, common foul or no call. When the officials use the monitor to review a situation that is not called on the floor, the only options are flagrant 2, flagrant 1 or no foul.

The intent of the elbow rule has always been to protect the student-athletes and eliminate the rip move in mens basketball, Dunne said. There was a strong feeling in the mens community that some other types of elbow contact didnt deserve a flagrant 1, so we are allowing the limited use of the monitor to appropriately manage this play.

In a flagrant 1 situation, the player who was struck is awarded two free throws and his team gets possession of the ball.

In a flagrant 2 situation, free throws and possession are awarded and the player who threw the elbow is ejected from the game.

Womens media timeouts

When a team-called timeout occurs within 30 seconds prior to the scheduled media timeout (first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks), it will become that media timeout with the exception of the first called team timeout in the second half.

For example, when Team A calls a timeout at 16:02 in the first half, there will not be another timeout at the first dead ball under the 16-minute mark.

Committee members want to eliminate consecutive timeout stoppages in play.

Lower-defensive box added to the restricted-area rule

In womens basketball, the committee revised the restricted area rule in the lower defensive box (the area on the court that starts at the second free-throw lane space to the three-foot area outside the lane to the baseline).

When a player with the ball starts outside the lower defensive box area, a secondary defender must be outside the restricted area to draw a charge.

When a player with the ball starts her move from inside the lower defensive box area, a secondary defender can draw a charge and the restricted area is not in effect.