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15-meter video review option approved in swimming

Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approves rules governing timing malfunctions

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved allowing the option of video review to determine whether 15-meter violations were called accurately in men’s and women’s swimming.
The optional rule is effective for the 2019-20 academic year during the regular season, as well as conference and NCAA championships. A 15-meter violation occurs when, after the start and each turn, a swimmer fails to break the surface of the water by the 15-meter mark.

Before events, meet committees will decide when video reviews will be conducted, and all participants will be informed before the competition. All reviews will be conducted before qualifiers/results are announced.

The referee has sole jurisdiction over the review, and the referee’s decision is a judgment call not subject to further review or appeal. Only the referee and a conference or NCAA meet committee representative (who has no participating school affiliation) may view the video being used for replay review. Challenges by coaches are not permitted as part of this rule, and coaches are not permitted to view that video at any time.

Timing malfunctions

Panel members also approved the process for calculating times when there is a primary timing malfunction so that they are more in line with USA Swimming and international swimming rules.
When a malfunction is confirmed on a lane, the backup times for that lane should be calculated as follows:

  • If two of the three valid button or watch times agree, that should be the time for that timing system.
  • If three valid button or watch times disagree, the time of the intermediate button or watch should be the time for that timing system.
  • If only two valid button or watch times are available, the time should be the average of those two buttons or the average of the two watch times. The digits representing thousandths of a second should be dropped with no rounding.
  • If only one valid button or watch time is available, the time of that button or watch should be the time for that timing system, unless that time conflicts with other information.

Other rules recommendations approved by the panel include the following:

  • When divers tie in non-NCAA and NCAA championship meets for eighth place in the prelims of diving 1-meter, 3-meter or platform events, the tiebreaking method is to take all nine divers to the final. The consolation finals will have seven competitors in the event, none finishing higher than 10th place in the final standings. In the final, the nine competitors will do a six-dive list. The highest place finisher of the tied divers will remain in the place that they finished, while the other diver will place ninth.
  • A minimum of two officials must be used for dual, double-dual, triangular and quadrangular meets. A minimum of four officials must be used for championship and invitational competition. The rule is effective for Division I for the 2019-20 academic year and 2020-21 for Divisions II and III.
  • Lap counters will become optional and can be placed at the end or on either side of the pool.