The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) approved several proposed rule changes that had been agreed upon by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Committee. The changes will go into effect beginning with the upcoming season.
The proposals will be evaluated in terms of negative impact on the image and integrity of the sport, safety concerns and financial impact on institutions.
The RPOP approved the use of Track Style Starting Blocks. Previously approved by FINA and used at last year's Short Course National Championships, the new wedges are similar to those used in track. The rational for their approval was to avoid a situation similar to last year's nationals. Last December college swimmers were required to not use the wedges if they wanted their times to be utilized for NCAA qualification.
No Recall False Starts
The NCAA adopted the use of the no recall false start rule. The rule now lets the race to continue with infractions called following completion of the race (provided there is dual confirmation). Previously, when a false start was detected, all competitors were called back to the blocks. The rational for the rule change was to eliminate the disadvantage to student-athletes who had to adjust to different rules. This change will align the NCAA with USA Swimming, NFHS, and FINA. The committee also noted that the change would eliminate the risk of injury associated with the recall of heats. It would also potentially eliminate situations like that found in the preliminary heats of the women's 200 Freestyle Relay at the NCAA Division II Championships. There, the recall negated Melissa Gates' lead-off split of 22.70. When the sprinter stepped up moments later, she went 0.23 slower, a margin that cost California-PA a spot in the top eight.
Long Course Qualifying
Swimmers will no longer be able to qualify for the NCAA Championships with their long course times. The committee felt that times in a 50-meter course were not commensurate with those for short-course yards. Thus when the 2012 time standards are released, they will only include for short course yard and short course meter times.
Additional changes clarified declared false starts. DFS' are now permitted in any preliminary event, timed final event, or swimoff, but still prohibited in championship, consolation or bonus finals.
The committee also added a penalty for swimmers using illegal suit. Now, if a swimmer is found to be using a non-permissible suit they will be disqualified from the event.
The committee also clarified the use of tape. Kinesio-tape, which has seen a significant increase in use, will now only be permitted if the swimmer is unable to compete without the tape. Coaches and swimmers must provide documentation from a physician or certified athletic trainer of this prior to the meet.
Full details of the changes can be found at: http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/bd507f0047bb3133ab68ffc110a6426c/SD+2012+and+2013+Rules+Changes.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=bd507f0047bb3133ab68ffc110a6426c