The WNBA made two big rule-change announcements Thursday. Starting in 2013, the league will initiate an anti-flopping rule and move the three-point line back nearly 1.5 feet, chief of basketball operations and player relations Renee Brown announced after the league's meeting between its board of governors.
The league will now define flopping as "any physical act that, upon review, reasonably appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player." The referee will make his or her decision based on if the physical reaction by the player being touched was reasonable or "inconsistent" with what should be expected.
Players will be warned for flops during the 2013 preseason and after their first offense in the regular season. Subsequent flops will result in fines that increase after each additional offense, with a sixth offense leading to a possible suspension.
"Flops that are intended to mislead referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into believing a foul call was missed are a detriment to the game," Brown said in a statement. "With that, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that a player who, upon video review by the league, is believed to have committed a flop will, after an initial warning, be given an automatic penalty."
As for the three-point line, it will be moved back from 20 feet, 6 1/4 inches to 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. The new line will be consistent with FIBA regulations. The hope, according to Brown, is to open up the lane and give "athletic players" more space to drive to the basket.