Why Won’t College Basketball Coaches Stay off the Court

March 27, 2014 / 94 FeetWinning Hoops
From The Wall Street Journal

College basketball’s rules are hard and fast: If a ballhandler goes out of bounds the play is dead. A three-pointer isn’t a three-pointer if the shooter’s foot is on the line.

Yet one rule is so routinely ignored it has become meaningless: a coach stepping outside the coaching box.

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo regularly roams the playing floor. In the final seconds of a loss to Oklahoma last season Baylor’s Scott Drew leapt onto the court then fell backward as the Bears missed their last-gasp shot. In a game against Louisiana State this season Kentucky’s John Calipari—a prolific wanderer—lunged onto the court and shoved one of his players into position.

The rules require every coach to stay within a 28-foot roaming area behind the sideline and on his end of the court. Stepping outside the box can bring a warning followed by a technical foul.

But instead of incurring penalties coaches are pulling off the sporting equivalent of eminent domain. Unchecked by referees coaches are simply annexing new swaths of territory in which to work. If the NCAA tournament—which begins in earnest Thursday—is anything like this regular season has been prepare to see millionaire coaches stomping wherever they please throughout March Madness.

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