The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Rules Subcommittee has recommended a number of proposals designed to align the collegiate game with national and international rules. Most significantly, that includes the addition of a 6-meter area.
In international water polo, fouls committed outside of the 6-meter area, which is the area within 6 meters of the goal line from sideline to sideline, allow the fouled player to take an immediate shot on goal.
Previously, this area was set at 5 meters, and while national and international water polo (everything under the FINA umbrella) has moved that area out to 6 meters in the last few years, the NCAA still has that area set at 5 meters.
There are a few other restrictions related to the 6-metre area, including where the goalkeeper can stand on or jump off the pool floor in shallow water pools, and the size of the coaches’ box.
Other Rule Change Proposals
- The subcommittee proposed that the ball must be put in play by demonstrating a clear separation of ball, hand, and water as in passing, picking up the ball, swimming with it, dropping it, and tossing the ball up in the air. This would replace the current wording in the rules of having to make a “water polo related move.” This also aligns with international rules and removes some ambiguity. The committee believes that this change will increase shots on goal and increase the pace of play.
- The subcommittee recommends that goalkeepers be allowed to move beyond and touch the ball past the half-distance line. The committee’s vision will be that the goalie will advance past halfway in end-of-game scenarios to create 7-on-6 situations when they are in dire need of goals.
- Permit assistant coaches and players in the bench area to sit or stand during play. Only the head coach could move beyond the goal line during live play.
- Allow replacement caps to be readily available in the team bench area.