The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a modification in field hockey that allows players to play the ball above shoulder height, provided the stick does not put other players in danger.
The rule, effective for the 2014 season, allows a player to raise the stick to trap, block, control or knock down a ball that has been passed or that is bouncing off the turf over the player’s shoulder. The player must use the stick in a manner that isn’t potentially harmful to another player.
A player will not be allowed to swing at the ball with the stick above the shoulder. Any violation of this rule modification will result in a misconduct penalty of a yellow card and minimum five-minute suspension.
This change mirrors a recent change made for tournament play by the sport’s world governing body, the International Hockey Federation.
Defensive players in certain areas of the field (for example, in front of the goal) were already allowed to make plays with their sticks above their shoulders.
The panel approved a proposal to simplify the substitution rules in the sport.
The designated area for substitutions is three meters on either side of the centerline, and this area can be marked with cones.
Teams are not allowed to make substitutions following timeouts if a penalty corner was called before the timeout was granted. However, substitutions can take place in the event of injury, suspension or if the defending goalkeeper has been disqualified from the match.
Teams can make a substitution when play is stopped because an athletic trainer, medical staff member or coach comes onto the field to attend to an injured player. The injured player must leave the field, and a substitution can be made. However, if the injured player is a goalkeeper, she may remain in the game.
The panel also approved these rules for field hockey:
- A designated goalkeeper may wear a chest protector underneath her jersey. She is also allowed to roam the field while wearing the chest protector, provided she removes her helmet.
- If a penalty stroke is awarded in a shootout, any eligible player on the official roster may take the penalty stroke, which must take place before the next available shot in the shootout.
- A goal will be awarded only when an attacker within the shooting circle plays the ball legally.