Nine feet 3 inches is the proposed standard height of the rims for women’s basketball.
J.D. Gustin, Dixie State University women’s basketball head coach, is an avid supporter for the idea of lowering the rims in women’s basketball. It would be a change, for both those who are for or against the idea, which would alter the game forever.
Those who are advocates of the transformation within women’s basketball believe it would be a way to help contribute to the equality issue between sexes.
“It is an equality thing to me,” Gustin said. “It’s an equal rights thing to me. It’s a Title IX thing to me.”
Gustin first heard the idea from one of the most successful basketball head coaches of all time, Geno Auriemma. Auriemma is the current head coach for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team; a team, that until recently, had won 111 straight basketball games.
For someone who has had such success in the game, Auriemma still believes the game needs to be changed by lowering the hoop, Gustin said.
At first glance, Gustin thought the idea was crazy, but as time has gone on, his opinion has changed. By altering the height, Gustin said it would give women their own game.
Freshman guard Ali Franks, a psychology major from Redding, California, said, “You would have to start with the younger age and have them build it up and not just expect us to transition [within] a year.”
Just as there are differences between softball and baseball, as well as volleyball, Gustin said it should be the same in basketball. The only change the game has is the size of the basketball. The women’s is 28.5 inches in diameter and men’s is 29.5.
A big component supported by the naysayers is the idea that it would take a long time for women to adjust to playing on a shorter hoop. Muscle memory would need to be relearned.
“For me, I think [it’s]the adjustment that the whole game would have to make,” said junior forward Lisa VanCampen, a biology major from Morgan. “Your shot would have to be different, [and] how you shoot layups would have to be different.”
Gustin said he is tired of seeing women miss easy shots, and that the transition would only take a day. He said there is not a lot of respect for the women’s game right now.
By lowering the hoops, there would be fewer missed layups, women would be dunking the ball, and the entertainment factor would rise, Gustin said. If these changes were to happen, people would actually want to watch the games, he said.
“Not a lot of people are huge fans of women’s basketball just because of how much smaller we are,” VanCampen said. “We can’t windmill like [the guys] can.”
It is a revolutionary idea, he said. Change doesn’t happen unless ideas are formed and someone is willing to try to get it going. Gustin said his wife, who happens to be a former basketball player herself, chuckles about the idea when Gustin brings it up.
But, the change needs to start somewhere. Gustin said he thinks it needs to start in the Power Five conferences and the International Basketball Federation. If they get on board, they have the power to change it, Gustin said.
Yet, he said, people are so stuck in their traditions.