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NBA Board of Governors Votes to Keep Coach's Challenge, Expand Active Rosters

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2020

Referee Kane Fitzgerald (5) watches the instant replay screen while reviewing a flagrant foul by Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond during the second half of the Pitstons' NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelican in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Drummond was ejected. The Pelicans won 109-86. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The NBA's board of governors approved the continuation of the coach's challenge and voted in favor of a plan to increase NBA active roster sizes to 15 players, according to the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds.

Rosters had previously been capped at 13 active players, with Reynolds noting how adding the two slots was important given the possibility of positive COVID-19 tests within a team.

The NFL and MLB have staged their seasons in home markets rather than using a single location for games and to house players and staffers. As a result, they saw multiple teams experience outbreaks to varying degrees.

Since the NBA relies on smaller rosters, a handful of players testing positive or being ruled out for contact tracing would create difficult logistical problems.

Larger rosters should also allow for coaches to more easily rest players to cope with a short offseason and condensed regular-season schedule.

Per Reynolds, the NBA outlined two changes to the replay system, which had been implemented on a one-year trial basis in 2019-20:

"The league tweaked two parts of the challenge rule from last season. Teams can no longer challenge the preceding call if they incur a delay of game violation before asking for the review, and — in situations where officials meet to determine what call to make — the time window that a team has to challenge that call now will not begin until they get the final ruling on the play from those referees."

Coaches are granted one challenge per game regardless of the review's outcome, and teams are charged a timeout in the event a challenge is unsuccessful.

According to Reynolds, coaches made 700 challenges across last season, and 308 were successful. That such a high rate (44 percent) of calls were initially incorrect seems to be a good argument in favor of bringing the replay system back.

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