Knight speaks out about different rules changes

Ohio State University
Bob Knight palyed college basketball at Ohio State, where he went to a pair of national championship games. The buckeyes, who were coached by Fred Taylor, won the national title in 1960.

When Bob Knight was a player, freshmen weren't allowed to play, but since then the rules have changed.

Knight doesn't expect the rules to go back to the way they were, but he has a solution for the problem facing college basketball - kids leaving early.

"I've always felt that freshmen eligibility was a mistake because it gives kids a year to get acclimated to college and particularly now with this idiotic situation where a guy has to wait a year to get out of college to go to the NBA, that would eliminate that," Knight said. "You just wouldn't have these one-year players that people are recruiting. I think that's totally the opposite of what's in the best interest of college sports. The idea of the freshmen eligibility situation just eliminates that altogether.

"When I was playing, the Big Ten schools couldn't even play freshmen games. You played intersquad games or there was a JV team and the football team got an all-star team out of intramurals or something. That's how you played it when I was in school. I think this whole thing about recruiting a kid to play one year is ridiculous. There isn't anything, I think, that has been worse for college sports than allowing that to happen."

Knight said the concept of requiring a college degree to play in the NBA is so far off there isn't a point in discussing it.

Other rules have changed during Knight's 41-year career and only one has had as much of an affect on Knight - and his coaching philosophy.


Then & Now

A look at some of the major rules changes in college basketball during Knight's career.

Freshman eligibility

Original Rule:
• Prior to 1964, freshmen were not eligible for varsity competition. The NCAA passed a rule in 1964, though, that began to change that.

Rule Change:
• Beginning in the 1972-73 season, freshmen were eligible to play varsity basketball. The change occured through the NCAA bylaws.

3-Point Line

Original Rule:
• Prior to 1896, a field goal and free throw was each worth three points. After 1896, though, a field goal became two points and a FT one.

Rule Change:
• The 3-point field goal wasn't introduced until the 1985-86 season. In college, it was set at 19'9" from the center of the basket.

Slam Dunking

Original Rule:
• Prior to 1968, dunking was allowed, both in pregame warmups and in a game. In 1968, though, dunking was banned.

Rule Change:
• Beginning in the 1977 season, dunking was allowed again, both in pregame warmups and during a game.

Jump Ball

Original Rule:
• There used to be a center jump after each basket. Jump balls after baskets was eliminated in 1938.

Rule Change:
• In the 1981-82 season, the jump ball was instituted only at the start of a game or extra period. Alternating possession replaced it.

Shot Clock

Original Rule:
• In 1932-33, the 10-second center line is introduced to prevent stalling. The 45-second shot clock is added in 1985-86.

Rule Change:
• The shot clock is reduced from 45 seconds to 35 seconds at the beginning of the 1993-94 season.

"The 3-point shot has drastically altered the game of basketball," Knight said. "It's put far more emphasis on the kid that can dribble the ball quickly with change of direction and cause defenses to help out on him. I just call it pitch-and-shoot. To a great extent, that's what basketball has developed into and to me it takes away one of the great things about the game and that's the movement of offense and the necessity of the defense to stay with that movement. There is nothing that has improved so much in any sport than the ability of a kid to dribble the basketball."

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