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PROP clears way for electronic communication in men’s, women’s soccer

Beginning in the fall, members of coaching staffs who are onsite at matches can communicate with each other via electronic devices

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule Thursday for men’s and women’s soccer that allows members of coaching staffs, who are on site at a match to communicate with each other via electronic devices. The change becomes effective in the 2014-15 academic year.

PROP, which met via conference call, also approved a proposal that allows teams to use the data collected by any electronic devices worn by student-athletes. Previously, players were allowed to wear such devices – which might monitor anything from heart rate to distance run– but could not examine the data until after the final buzzer.

Committee members decided to remove restrictions for use of electronic equipment that is easily available and commonly used.

Additionally, PROP approved a slight change to the protocol for the end of a match. Under the new rule, when the horn malfunctions and fails to sound, the game ends when the clock reaches 0:00. Previously, when the horn didn’t sound at the event, the match officially ended when the referee blew their whistle.

The timekeeper will still audibly count down the final seconds and will say “zero,” to indicate that time is officially over.

PROP also approved a change involving penalty-kick shootouts. Once 10 kicks have been taken, coaches are allowed to change the order of the next 10 kickers.

Previously, the order of the kickers remained the same after the first 10 penalty kicks.