To increase stagnant interest in women’s college basketball, a former prominent official has recommended wide experimentation with the rules and the N.C.A.A. tournament, including holding the men’s and women’s Final Four at the same location on a one-time trial basis.
After a six-month study, Val Ackerman, a former president of USA Basketball and the W.N.B.A., recommended that the N.C.A.A. also hold the women’s Final Four on the weekend after the men’s tournament to gauge its effects on the game’s popularity.
She also recommended that the women’s Final Four be held in the same city for multiple years, just as the college baseball World Series is held annually in Omaha, Neb.
As a further way to enhance competitive balance, Ackerman said that some of the coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners she interviewed had advised reducing scholarships to 13 per team from 15. (The other two scholarships could be used to finance other women’s teams.)
Some officials also recommended to Ackerman that the season be shortened to one semester. One possibility is to begin the women’s season after college football’s regular season and end it after the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament.
Seems reasonable. Football is the 800 pound gorilla of college sports, so why go head to head with that? Men's basketball is the 400 pound orang-utan of college sports, so why not draft off that? And a one-semester sport is better academically.
To address declines in shooting and scoring, Ackerman advised that the rules should be re-examined to speed the game, reduce the physicality and make it easier for teams to score. She advised that a kind of rules laboratory be created to consider radical suggestions, such as one by Coach Geno Auriemma of Connecticut that the rim be lowered to 9 feet from 10 feet.
Nah, too many basketball rims around the country aren't adjustable. A smaller ball is a cheap way to get all the advantages of a lower rim -- except dunking, and even on a 9' rim, women can't dunk without a smaller ball they can control with one hand. (Also, I doubt if many NCAA players could realistically dunk on a 9' rim. Probably 8'9" would be necessary.)
And why switch to an above the rim game that only blacks could be good at? Keep it a below the rim sport that's more racially integrated than the men's game and it will do okay by appealing to white dads with tall daughters. There are a lot of college sports that putter along okay because they appeal to high income jockish fathers. Nobody much cares about women's college golf except for the fathers of the players, but that's not a bad little demographic all by itself.
Women play with a Size 6 ball that's almost as big as the Size 7 ball that men use, which seems pretty pointless. There's also a Size 5 youth ball (27.5") and a Size 4 kids ball (24.5"). I suspect the Size 4 ball would be about right for women.