Yesterday I got an email asking me to share my opinion on some rules change ideas for the women’s college game. They are presented below as they are actually worded in the survey. I have my own opinion for each in italics. Would be interested in your thoughts.

Ball Change

Currently, the rule requires the volleyball to have a smooth leather or leather-like cover. What is your preference regarding the volleyball: keep the current rule or allow a textured ball (International ball – which is also the NCAA men’s rule)?

I don’t personally have a strong feeling on this either way.

Jewelry

Currently, jewelry is not allowed to be worn by players during competition. Would you be in favor of allowing players to wear small secured jewelry? Jewelry would not be allowed on the hands, wrist or arms. 

I’m fine with this.

Intermission

Currently, the time allowed for intermission between the second and third sets is a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes. What is your preference for intermission length: keep it, or change it?

I’m fine with expanding this to allow for promotional activities.

Screening

Currently players on the serving team must not take action to prevent the receiving team players from seeing the contact of the serve and path of the ball (screening).  What is your preference regarding screening: enforce the current rule or Eliminate the screening rule and allow the serving team to take action to prevent the receiving team players from seeing the contact of the serve and path of the ball?

I’d say enforce the current rule, but really this is probably more about educating people about the actual wording and meaning of the rule as it currently stands. Basically, a lot of what people think is screening doesn’t actually meet the criteria.

Data Transmission

Currently, only statistical data may be transmitted to the bench area from any location in the facility.  Electronic audio or video devices that transmit information pertaining to the competition from any location in the facility to the bench or court are illegal. What is your preference regarding the transmission of data to the bench: keep the current rule, or change the rule to allow audio and video to be transmitted to the bench from any location in the facility?

I’m good allowing for the additional transmission. It’s something individual conferences can more narrowly regulate.

Double contact

Currently, it is a fault if a player contacts the ball twice in succession (double) on the second or third team contact.  Would you be in favor of allowing a double hit on a second team contact if the ball is sent to a teammate?

Since there usually isn’t any benefit gained by doubling a set – as potentially opposed to when sending a 2nd or 3rd ball over the net – I’m in favor of getting rid of the call. It removes a lot of the issues we have with inconsistent judgement and keeps the ball flying. I’ve shared my view on this before.

Substitutes

Currently, each team is allowed 15 substitutes per set.  Would you be in favor of reducing the number of substitutions? If so, would you change it to 8, 10 or 12?

This is something I think depends on level. I’m in favor of making meaningful cuts when it comes to Division I, but think it’s more problematic to do that when you move down the levels. I’d be curious to see some figures on the actual substitution usage rates, though, before I make any real decision.

Changing benches

At the end of a set (when COVID protocols are not in place), if another set is to be played, the referee signals the teams to switch sides.  Would you be in favor of allowing teams the option to stay on one side of the court for the entire match at institutional/conference discretion? The default would be to switch sides.

If there’s no clear difference between the sides (e.g. batting cage netting hanging over one, but not the other) and the two teams agree, them I’m good with teams staying on the same side the whole match.

Challenges

What is your preference with regard to challenges:

Keep the current rule: Each team is allowed 3 challenges per match with an additional challenge in the fifth set. Once a team challenges, their number of challenges is reduced by one challenge regardless of the outcome.

or

Each team is allowed 2 challenges that the team keeps if the original decision is reversed. Each team receives an additional challenge in the fifth set (not to exceed 2 challenges).

I’m for the keep it if you make it version.

Libero setting challenge

Currently you cannot challenge if a libero is in the front zone when they set the ball to a teammate. Would you be in favor of adding the libero’s location as a challengeable action? 

Definitely make it challengable as it’s an easy thing to observe.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Men's & Women's Head Volleyball Coach at Medaille College, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy (formerly Charleston Academy). His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

    1 Response to "NCAA volleyball rules change survey"

    • Kiki

      Ball Change
      The swirly textured guy’s ball is simply a much better ball. Let the girls play with it.

      Jewelry
      Let the girls play with it as an assumed (but let’s be honest, slight) risk.

      Intermission
      Sure. It might increase concession sales.

      Screening
      Enforce the current rule. Teams that blatantly violate it are just being jerks.

      Data Transmission
      Keep the current rule unless it can be shown that it does not give the better funded teams a competitive advantage.

      Double contact
      NO. NO. NO. Stop taking skill out of the game. If a player has brick hands, they should have to bump it.

      Substitutes
      I am torn on this. Fewer substitutes injects a higher skill requirement into the game. But more substitutes allows for more players or less height to play the game as DS’s. Perhaps D1 should follow int’l rules, but with more subs allowed in D2/D3.

      Changing benches
      There are always at least minor differences in side. Stick with changing sides.

      Challenges
      No question about this one, if you win your challenge you should keep it. End of story.

      Libero setting challenge
      Should be challenge-able. Easy to review.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.