The game of basketball has come a long way since a peach basket was mounted on a wall or wire-mesh board to provide the object of the game, sinking a ball through the basket. Having evolved from wire to wood to plate glass, the transparent backboard currently in use today was first approved in 1909. As basketball grew into a major spectator sport, the rules of the game increased from 13 to over 100, with several of those rules governing the dimensions and other specifications for the backboard.
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NBA and NCAA Backboard Dimensions
The backboard dimension requirements set forth by the National Basketball Association have only a slight difference from the regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. According to both organizations, the basketball backboard must be a flat, transparent board that is 6 feet wide. The NBA allows only one height, 3 1/2 feet. However, although the NCAA regulations favor a 3 1/2-foot height, 4 feet is allowed. High school sports are not as tightly regulated, so, although NCAA rules are generally observed, dimension variations are allowed if they are approved by the local governing body.