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Stiffer penalties proposed for acts of misconduct in water polo

Subcommittee believes tougher penalties could serve as a deterrent for fouls

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Rules Subcommittee is recommending harsher penalties to deter misconduct fouls in the sport.

The subcommittee, which met Tuesday and Wednesday in Indianapolis, proposed that a player receiving a second penalty for a minor act of misconduct in the same game will be excluded from the remainder of the game for misconduct.

Subcommittee members feel the current penalty has little strength as a deterrent for players committing multiple minor acts of misconduct in a match. By increasing the punishment for similar behavior, the subcommittee believes it will serve as a stronger deterrent.

Additionally, the subcommittee recommended that any player who is excluded for misconduct three times in a season would need to serve a one-game suspension. The suspension would also apply to any subsequent times a player is excluded from a game.

“What we’ve seen is repeat offenders.” said Kyle Witt, subcommittee chair and women’s water polo coach at Loyola Marymount University. “Every team has their enforcer. If that player is just being physical and tough, that is one thing. But if he’s committing acts of misconduct, we want to eliminate that. We play around 30 games, and if you get three in a year, that is around 10 percent of your games, and it is a problem.”

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Committee, which will hear the water polo proposals via teleconference on Feb.  25.

The subcommittee also recommended that the host school assign a representative to handle game management issues outside of the pool, such as timing issues and spectator behavior.