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Greg Johnson | NCAA.org | February 22, 2018

Penalties for simulating fouls in water polo approved

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new water polo rule that makes simulating a foul an exclusion penalty during the 2018-19 academic year.

A defensive player whistled for simulating a foul will be excluded from play for 20 seconds. An offensive player called for simulating a foul will lose possession of the ball to the opposing team.

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Rules Subcommittee believes that simulation of fouls is an area of the game that needs to be addressed to help officials do their jobs.

Yellow/red card

The panel approved a rule that allows officials to issue a yellow and red card simultaneously as a second warning to a head coach. A referee showing both cards at the same time restricts the head coach from advancing to the 2-meter line on offense and the goal line on defense. This option is only applicable to the head coach.

If the referee determines the infraction is severe, a red card may be issued immediately.

The previous card process for control over conduct included a warning and only a yellow card or a red card. The subcommittee felt that having only those options caused officials to be hesitant to issue a second card for disruptive behavior by a coach. The new rule is aimed at giving a referee greater ability to control disruptive behavior and conduct by the head coach on the deck.


The panel approved a proposal regarding misconduct that occurs during administrative time. If misconduct occurs during the administrative time when the ball is out of the pool, the resulting free throw would be taken by the team in possession of the ball.

2022 NCAA men's water polo championship bracket announced

The NCAA Men’s Water Polo Committee announced today the field of seven teams competing in the 2022 National Collegiate men’s water polo championship.