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Addition of 6-meter mark approved in water polo

The change aligns NCAA rules with national, international competition

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday approved rules to align the game with national and international rules, including the addition of a 6-meter mark. The rules go into effect for the 2020-21 season.

The 6-meter mark extends the previous offensive area by 1 meter and is used to identify the area where players can shoot immediately after being fouled.  

Another approved rules change specifies that the ball must be put in play by demonstrating a clear separation of ball, hand and water as in passing, picking up the ball, swimming with it, dropping it and tossing the ball up in the air. This replaces the previous wording in the rules of having to make a “water polo related move.”

The Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Rules Subcommittee members think this rules change will improve the pace of play and increase shots on goal. 

Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers will be allowed to move beyond and touch the ball past the half-distance line.

The rational for the rules change is to create opportunities for additional offensive play, while at the same time pose a considerable risk for the offensive team.

Water polo rules subcommittee members think the risk/reward aspect of allowing goalkeepers to venture farther into the pool will create excitement in end-of-game situations.

Other rules changes:

  • Assistant coaches and players in the bench area will be allowed to sit or stand during play. Only the head coach can move beyond the goal line during live play.
  • Replacement caps can be readily available in the team bench area.