The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee voted to move the men’s 3-point line from 20 feet, 9 inches to 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches on June 5. The change will align the NCAA 3-point line with the international 3-point line, still shy of the 23 foot, 9 inch NBA 3-point line.
The NIT has been testing the international line over the last two seasons, with 3-point percentages declining because of the change. They fell by over 2% as teams attempted the same number of shots from behind the arc but converted only 33% of the shots as opposed to 35.2%.
With college players like Stephen Curry, J.J. Reddick and Fletcher Magee setting new records for NCAA 3-pointers made, this change of distance will likely combat the increasing number of 3’s attempted. The decrease of 3-point shots attempted following the line being moved back hasn’t lasted long historically.
BYU attempted 318 3-pointers during the 1986-87 season, the first season that the 3-point line was implemented by the NCAA. During the 2018-19 season, BYU attempted 684 from behind the line, 366 more than the line’s inaugural NCAA season. Per game, the 1986-87 squad attempted 9.94 3-pointers, whereas the 2018-19 team attempted 21.38.
The 3-point line also made a move in 2008, changing its distance from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches. The change of a foot made a difference to BYU basketball, as the 2007-08 team attempted 764 shots from 3-point distance, whereas the 2008-09 squad attempted 624. The change resulted in three fewer shots being taken from deep on average per game. The next season, numbers went back up as the Cougars attempted 700 3-pointers.
There have been no announcements regarding a change in distance for the women’s 3-point line, however, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee has approved using the men’s 3-point line as an experimental rule for post-season events. This rule will exclude NCAA championships in all tiers of the NCAA.
Jimmer Fredette still holds the all-time record for most 3-point field goals made as a Cougar with 296.