The reaction to this column - especially from those who love college basketball - should be a long, loud, approving whistle.
As the 2010-11 season begins in earnest tonight, there is a new and concentrated focus by those who run the sport to not only bring some consistency to the way the game is officiated, but also try something that seems downright revolutionary.
"The idea," longtime prominent official Curtis Shaw said earlier this week, "is to referee the game the way the rules are written ... call the game according to the rulebook."
Since John Adams took over in April 2008 as the national coordinator for NCAA officiating, trying to standardize nationally the way the game was called has been one of his goals. Shaw said that in the not too distant future, maybe a foul in the Big East always will be a foul in the Big West.
It's an admirable goal, but how do we ever get back to the three-decades-ago fluid game of Bird and Magic and short shorts?
Well, the NCAA and the Collegiate Commissioners Association have formed limited liability companies for men's and women's basketball officiating to try and enhance consistency during regular-season and postseason play.
The goal, the NCAA says, is to increase the pool of officials; more consistently apply playing rules and mechanics; and remove barriers to those who are interested in becoming referees or moving up in the officiating world.
Shaw, who called games for three decades and worked Division I for 21 seasons and rose to the top of his profession (six Final Four assignments), has hung up his whistle. He had gained something of a reputation for handing out technicals, and became known as "Quick Draw" Shaw to some coaches.
He also wasn't afraid to call a foul a foul, whether 15 minutes or 15 seconds remained in a game. Now, the Indianapolis-based Shaw is the officiating coordinator for Conference USA as well as the Big 12, the Southland and Ohio Valley leagues.
"I think you're going to start to see some change in how things are called right away," Shaw said, "but it's not going to change completely overnight. I can tell you that in my four leagues, the officials have been heavily instructed to call it by the rulebook.
"For years, we've had what we call 'points of emphasis' every season. Maybe it's been over-the-back, or palming, or hand-checking, or illegal screens. Well, all of things are in the rulebook, so why do you have to emphasize them? Just call what's there."
Shaw and C-USA basketball operations chief Chris Woolard say that if officials, as the latter said, "call the rules as written, the coaches and players will adapt. It's going to take some time. It's baby steps this season, but it will happen."
Woolard said one of basic tenets in the rules is the allowance for freedom of movement by offensive players with the ball. Much of the increased physical nature of the game impeded that. The game, he said, should be about rhythm, balance and speed, not brute force.