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NCAA toughens basketball decorum rules

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Cursing or venturing onto the court could draw college basketball coaches a quick technical foul this season.

The NCAA is making bench decorum a point of emphasis for 2007-08 and warns coaches to expect a whistle without warning for a variety of unsportsmanlike actions.

Referees who are consistent in enforcing the rules will be rewarded.

"The bench decorum rules, which include staying in the prescribed coaching box, have been interpreted in various ways for some time," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, said Thursday. "This initiative for strengthened, consistent enforcement has significant ramifications. Coaches and game officials who do not strictly adhere to the rules will be penalized."

The actions that can draw a technical include disrespectfully addressing an official or attempting to influence an official's decision, using abusive or profane language, taunting an opponent, inciting undesirable crowd reactions and coming onto the court without permission of an official to attend to an injured player.

The rules will also apply to assistant coaches, other team personnel and players on the bench.

Officials who consistently enforce the rules will be given preferential consideration for conference and NCAA tournament assignments.

"This is something that coaches always ask for, and that's to have game officials enforce the rules that are already in place," Boeheim said.

The policy has been endorsed by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

"As coaches, we are fully accountable for our actions," said Oklahoma women's coach Sherri Coale, the president of the WBCA. "With strengthened enforcement, coaches will be more conscious of their demeanor knowing that a penalty will result from inappropriate behavior."