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NCAA Release | January 31, 2014

Soccer rules committee recommends allowing electronic communication during matches

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee recommended that members of coaching staffs who are onsite at a match will be allowed to communicate with each other via electronic devices starting with the 2014-15 academic year.

All rules change proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is next scheduled to meet Feb. 20.

Along with allowing coaches to communicate using electronic devices, players can wear a device for the purpose of monitoring and accumulating data which can be used during a match. Currently, players are allowed to wear devices, but the data could be examined only after the match. Teams were also allowed to use electronic devices (for example, iPads) for statistical purposes only.

“All of the technology changes are based on the world changing,” said Colleen Bruley, chair of the committee and women’s soccer coach at SUNY New Paltz. “The technology is here out there, and people are out there using it.”

Committee members thought about the financial aspect of expanding this rule and whether it would create an advantage to a team that could afford more advanced technology than another team. But those concerns were dispelled.

“Everyone may not have access to some GPS systems that are used, but everyone has access to some sort of technology to communicate with by using cell phones and texting,” Bruley said.

The committee is also recommending a slight change to the end-of-the-match protocol. The proposal calls for the game to end when the clock strikes 0:00 in the event that the horn malfunctions. Currently, if the event the horn does not sound, the match is ended when the referee blows his or her whistle.

The timekeeper will still audibly count down the final seconds and will say “Zero,” to indicate that time is officially over.

“This will help the referee, because he/she can’t see the clock and watch the play,” Bruley said. “It will also help if the horn doesn’t sound when the clock gets down to zero.”

Another change the committee is recommending involves penalty-kick shootouts. Once 10 kicks have been taken, the committee wants to allow coaches the ability to change the kicking order of the next 10 kickers.

Currently, the order of the kickers remains the same after 10 rounds of penalty kicks.

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