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Greg Johnson, NCAA | June 23, 2021

Panel approves extending COVID-19 penalties in men’s and women’s soccer

Marshall defeats Indiana 1-0 in OT for title

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Tuesday approved extending a rules change from the 2020 season that enhanced the penalty for spitting at or biting an opponent, or anyone involved in a men’s or women’s soccer match, to a two-game suspension and categorizing it as a violent behavior II red-card violation. The rules change originally was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, coughing at an opponent, or anyone involved in a match, will continue to be categorized as a violent behavior II red-card violation for the 2021 season. All ejection and suspension rules related to violent behavior II will apply.

MORE: Santa Clara wins the 2020 DI women's soccer championship

The COVID-19 waivers from the 2020 season also will be extended into the 2021 season. Those waivers include allowing the coaching and team areas to be extended beyond 20 yards from the 5-yard neutral zone and allowing the referee to visually/verbally verify the box score information is correct if using a paper official NCAA box score.

Handball clarification

In a meeting earlier this month, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee clarified handball interpretations to align with those of international soccer.

Soccer officials will be trained to judge whether a handball violation occurred.

One of the key items will be that not every contact of the ball to a player’s hand/arm is a violation. Officials should judge a player’s hand/arm position in relation to their body movement in a particular situation.

MORE: Marshall wins 2020 DI men's soccer championship

In general, a player should be judged on whether the hand/arm is being used to contact the ball away from his or her body.

In addition, when making an offside determination, the hands and arms of all players are not considered. The upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit for purposes of determining whether a player is in an onside or offside position.

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