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PROP ponders future technological rules proposals

By Greg Johnson

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel at its annual in-person meeting Wednesday discussed the ramifications of technology for playing rules.

The discussion delved deeper than instituting replay rules, such as basketball, football and ice hockey already have. The group’s talk included technology used on the benches and sidelines by coaching staffs in other sports.

In some sports, it is becoming more common to see iPads and other digital devices being used during the game. This leads to questions such as whether the devices are being used to chart performances of the players or whether they are they being used to share information with someone who is in the arena or stadium but not necessarily on the bench.

Another area discussed was how technology aids athletic performance, such as heart monitors that are used for reasons other than the medical safety of the student-athlete. This type of technology also can be used to chart when an athlete is reaching a level of peak physical performance or to determine if an athlete is tiring.

The panel noted that it is responsible for three specific areas in reviewing rules committee proposals:

  1. Student-athlete safety
  2. Financial impact of a rules change
  3. Negative impact on integrity or image of the game

Rules approvals

PROP approved two proposals in sand volleyball, which is an emerging women’s sport in Divisions I and II.

First, the posts supporting the net may be placed at an upright spread of 36 inches to 37 inches to accommodate collegiate sand doubles play and recreational play. If the court is only being used for collegiate sand doubles play, the posts should be 27 ½ inches to 39 inches from the sidelines.

The second rule states that player’s chairs must be three meters from the sideline. If multiple courts are placed side by side, the player’s chairs should be placed in the endzone free space. Those chairs can be removed during play and replaced during breaks in the action.

PROP also approved an experimental rule in women’s lacrosse for the 2012 season that would designate one of the three officials as the head umpire in all collegiate games.

The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee believes the designation will ensure efficient and consistent communication with coaches.