A video review system to challenge calls in women’s volleyball will be in place when the 2016 season begins.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which met via conference call Thursday, approved the proposed challenge review system as a rule in the sport for schools and conferences that choose to implement it.

Similar to other sports that currently use video reviews, the use of the challenge review system rule will be optional and is not required for competition. The rules do not define the camera type or the number of cameras that should be used, or where the location of the cameras should be.

The challenge review system was used on an experimental basis by the Big Ten and Big 12 conferences during the 2015 season. After the season, all coaches who experimented with the rule indicated that they were in favor of the challenge review system becoming a permanent rule.

The Divisions I, II and III Women’s Volleyball Committees will decide how the challenge review system will be implemented during each division’s women’s volleyball championship.

The protocol for the proposed rules change is as follows:

• Each team will have three challenges per match. Challenges are not tied to timeouts.
• Only the team that lost the rally will be able to challenge. If the call is reversed, the team that lost the review will be able to challenge another aspect of the point. Each team will be limited to one challenge per rally.
• A coach will need to make the challenge before the referee extends his arm for service to begin the next point.
• There must be indisputable video evidence for the official to change the original call. Coaches will be allowed to challenge the following plays:
• Net faults: players contacting the net/antenna.
• Player touching the ball: four hits/blocker/defensive player.
• Whether a ball was in or out (this includes pancakes and whether the ball touched the antenna).
• Service foot faults.

Following review challenges, referees will decide whether to confirm the call, reverse the call, replay the point based on video evidence or determine that the video review was inconclusive, in which case the original call will stand.

Pursuit rule eliminated

The panel also approved the elimination of the pursuit rule, beginning with the 2016 season.

The rule had been a topic of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee’s discussions for the past two years as the group debated whether the rule should be modified or abolished. Safety concerns for players, coaches and officials were the driving force in the conversations.

The pursuit rule, which was amended in 2010, allowed players to cross under the net or net cable and into the opponent’s free zone (out of bounds but past the net) to retrieve the ball. The ball must be played to the outside of the antenna to a teammate for play to continue.

Committee members acknowledged that while the play occurs infrequently, it can be exciting for the fans. However, after watching video clips of plays where the pursuit rule was used, committee members saw numerous collisions and near-collisions.

Data also showed an increase in injuries as a result of the rule. The committee thought the risk of an injury, including some that could be catastrophic in nature, was enough to recommend removing the rule and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel agreed.