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Greg Johnson | NCAA.org | January 7, 2022

Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee proposes permanent change to challenge rules

Dana Rettke on winning the 2021 DI women's volleyball title

The NCAA Women's Volleyball Rules Committee recommended allowing women's volleyball teams to begin a match with two video coach's challenges in all matches, starting with the 2022 season.

Committee members, who met virtually this week, also proposed that if a challenge results in the reversal of the original call, the team would retain the challenge. If the original call is confirmed or there isn't video evidence to overturn the original call, the coach loses that challenge for the rest of the match.

If a match reaches the fifth set, each team would be awarded an additional challenge. Teams would be allowed to carry a maximum of two challenges into the fifth set.

All rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is tentatively scheduled to discuss women's volleyball rules proposals Feb. 22.

During the 2021 season, 15 Division I conferences and one Division II conference experimented with this coaches review system rule.

"We had an overwhelming response from the coaches that this was a positive change," said Lyndsey Oates, committee chair and coach at Northern Colorado. "One of the reasons was that challenges were less misused as timeouts since they are only retainable if the coach is correct. The challenges were used with the correct intent."

Data from the experimental rule also showed that there wasn't an increase in the number of overall challenges.

The rules committee also proposed allowing coaches to request a video challenge to see if a libero committed a violation by stepping in front of the 10-foot line while setting the ball to a hitter.

Protecting officials

The committee proposed that the head coach will be the only person allowed to address the officials when the ball is out of play. Head coaches may address the referees for the purposes of quickly clarifying a nonjudgmental ruling, requesting a challenge or lodging a protest.

"We want to keep officials in the game, and anything we can do to protect the officials in a reasonable way is good," Oates said. "To have only one voice asking questions is good for the game."

Other proposals

  • Players would be allowed to wear small, secured articles of jewelry, like post stud earrings during play. However, no articles of jewelry could be worn below the chin.
  • For upcoming spring matches only, teams will be allowed to experiment with a rule that eliminates double contact when the ball remains on the same side of the net it was played on (second contact). Rationale for experimenting with the rule is to see if it relieves pressure off the referees to make controversial double contact calls in critical moments of a match. The rules committee will seek feedback from officials and coaches who use the experimental rule.

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