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Padded caps prohibited in men’s and women’s water polo

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved new water polo rules that touch on swim caps, officiating and timeouts

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a rule in men’s and women’s water polo Thursday regarding swim caps for players. The new rule stipulates that, beginning in the fall, water polo players can wear only swim caps beneath their water polo caps.

The rule, recommended by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Subcommittee, prohibits the use of padded caps, which are becoming more popular among water polo players concerned about concussions.

The committee based its decision on the fact that, according to the NCAA Sports Science Institute, no scientific evidence supports the notion that padded headgear helps prevent concussions.

PROP also approved a rule providing referees more discretion in awarding or not awarding a foul – ordinary, exclusion or penalty. Referees could take into account whether the call would give the attacking team an advantage. The rule is aimed at promoting more offense.

Referees are allowed to officiate in favor of the attacking team at their discretion if, in their opinion, awarding a foul would create an advantage for the offending player’s team. Referees will be directed to apply that principle to the fullest extent and not inhibit the offensive advantage.

Additionally, PROP approved a new rule allowing electronic-media timeouts to take place after three minutes of playing time have elapsed in each quarter.

As a way to enhance the student-athlete experience, PROP approved reintroducing the minor acts of misconduct rule.  Officials can now award a 20-second period of exclusion for minor acts of misconduct rather than exclude a player for the remainder of the game.