NCAA proposes changes to women’s volleyball review system

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The NCAA proposed changes to the women’s volleyball review system, simplifying the challenges of in or out and touch calls by coaches.

In or out calls are determined by line judges or referees when the ball has either landed inside the line of play or outside the line of play. Touch calls are determined by whether or not a player has touched the ball before it lands on the court. If a player did get a touch on the ball, then the point is awarded to the opposing team, and vice versa.

The committee has tracked all challenges throughout the years.

“The top two things that are challenged the most was whether there was a touch and whether the ball was in or out,” Danny Miller, chair of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee, said.

The committee proposed Jan. 12 to combine challenges to in or out and touch calls under the review system. Currently, as separate challenges, there is a chance that calls cannot be overturned because they are too specific.

In 2015, the Big 12 Conference and the Big Ten Conference were given permission by the panel to experiment with the new video review system to challenge calls, and it has been a permanent rule ever since.

“I think this is another way to be efficient,” TCU Director of Volleyball Jill Kramer said. “I know in our last head coaches meeting, we’re even talking about using headsets with the line judges and the up and down refs so that they can all communicate without having to go to the stand.”

The video review system has been in effect for two seasons.

Head coach Jill Kramer and assistant coach Trent Kersten pictured after a game. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

“I think cameras keep getting better, and you can see more stuff with the new technology,” TCU assistant coach Trent Kersten said.

The committee also proposed giving coaches an additional challenge when heading into a fifth set. Miller said the fifth set in volleyball is usually seen as overtime and believes coaches should be given an extra timeout, like in other sports.  

“When we did surveys the year before, the number one thing people seemed to want is the ability to challenge more,” Miller said. “We decided we didn’t want a situation where it was unlimited.”

Another proposal simplifies the libero uniform rule.

The proposal states the defensive specialist jersey must be recognizably contrasting the jerseys of other players on the team. The committee wants to do away with the rule stating the libero must wear a solid-color jersey.

The committee also proposed reducing the intermission between the second and third sets from a maximum of 10 minutes to five minutes. Teams have three minutes between all other sets.

“I think it’ll be easier for us in the postseason and the preseason with only five minutes versus 10 because we’re a little bit more used to that,” Kramer said.

Miller believes the longer break disrupts the action.

“Cutting back that five minutes would help with the flow of the game and keep everything moving faster,” Miller said.

The rules will go into effect for the 2018 season if the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves the proposals in late February.