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Volleyball rules committee backs increase in substitutions

By Greg Johnson

The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee recommended at its January meeting that substitutions increase to 15 per set beginning in the 2012 season.

Currently, teams are allowed to have 12 substitutions per set. Increasing the number of substitutions has been discussed at previous rules committee meetings, but committee members approved the proposal this year with increasing playing opportunities as the impetus.

“The rules committee as a whole felt more substitutions in a match can help student-athlete well-being and keep student-athletes happy,” said committee chair Fran Flory, who is also the head coach at LSU. 

Flory said the committee fully vetted the idea and is comfortable moving forward.

“The traditionalists of the game probably don’t want this,” said Flory, who was re-elected chair of the committee for the 2012-13 academic year. “They want us to make it truer and make people play all positions so players become well-rounded. That certainly was a big topic of discussion. But ultimately, this committee sided with the opportunities for student-athletes.”

All rules committee proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to meet via conference call Feb. 21. 

Technology

The committee is also recommending that transmission of statistical data to the bench area be allowed starting in the 2012 season. However, audio or video transmissions to the bench area would continue to be restricted.

Flory said it is common to see electronic devices such as laptops and iPads in the bench area.

“People from all the divisions are using them,” Flory said. “Technology is advancing in the world, and volleyball is no exception. We don’t want to close down technology in our sport.”

Referee platforms

The committee also recommended that by 2012, referee platforms should be distributed evenly behind the net pole, with the ladder being evenly distributed behind the back of the platform.

Some referee platforms currently are constructed so that players attempting to play a ball near the stand could make contact with an inflexible object (the ladder, for example).

“Potentially, this could be a cost issue for some schools,” Flory said of the recommendation. “We felt like there was enough opportunity to adapt to another system. We want to implement this immediately for player-safety reasons.”

Uniforms

The committee also clarified a uniform rule that will be implemented in 2013.

The rule centers on either the libero or her teammates wearing a solid-colored jersey. The libero’s shirt or jersey must be in clear contrast to the other members of the team. 

Committee members added that a one-inch trim and piping along the seams of the jersey will be allowable.

But the committee reiterated it is imperative that the libero’s jersey be distinguishable for identification purposes.