Got a college basketball rule that needs tweaking?
Rick Barnes is more influential than ever.
Tennessee's head coach has been named as the new, one-year chair of the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee. Barnes is replacing West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who served in the role this past season, with Huggins having replaced Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart, the 2020-21 chair.
Barnes recently completed his seventh season in Knoxville, guiding the Volunteers to a 27-8 record and to their first Southeastern Conference tournament title since 1979. The 67-year-old has been a Division I head coach since the 1987-88 season with George Mason, and he is most recognized for taking Texas to 16 NCAA tournaments in his 17 seasons in Austin from 1998 to 2015, including a run to the 2003 Final Four.
Three of Tennessee's six winningest seasons have transpired under Barnes, with the Vols capturing 26 victories in 2017-18, a school-record 31 in 2018-19 and this past season's 27.
One of the chief challenges facing Barnes is to better define rules that concern player flopping. The NCAA on its website this week revealed that the committee's intention will be for officials to remove the warning and immediately assess the technical foul and award the accompanying free throw to the opposing team, beginning with the 2022-23 season.
"We didn't feel like we were getting the results that we wanted with the warnings," Huggins said on the NCAA's website. "Our goal is to continue to try to get flopping out of the game. The committee believes giving the officials the ability to call a Class B technical foul the first time they see a player faking being fouled, it will be more of a deterrent."
Any rule proposal must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss proposed men's basketball rules changes June 9.
The committee is continuing to adjust technology rules that allow teams to view live video and preloaded video on their benches. There is also the potential of conferences and the National Invitation Tournament experimenting with five media timeouts on the first dead-ball situations under the 17-minute, 14-minute, 11-minute, eight-minute and four-minute marks of either half.
The rationale, according to the NCAA, is to help the flow of the game so commercial breaks will not be taken when teams use their allotted timeouts.
Barnes does not refrain from discussing the officiating after games but is measured in his comments. Such was the case after a 10-point loss at Arkansas in February, when Razorbacks forward Jaylin Williams drew four charges in the lane.
"Our guys were frustrated, and I know it's a hard call," Barnes said. "From the standpoint of the referees, they would tell you that's one of the hardest calls, and it's one they've got to study, study, study. It's tough when our guys come over and say, 'Coach, I was in the air.'
"All I can do is tell them to play on, but does it affect them? Absolutely."
The general objective of the NCAA rules committee is to monitor rules issues throughout a season and to compare ideas and opinions on possible changes.