NCAA Swimming and Diving Rules Committee to Consider Use of Video Review For 15-meter Violations

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The NCAA Swimming and Diving Rules Committee is considering a new rule that would allow officials to use video review for 15-meter violations, according to an NCAA release. If approved, the rule would be in effect in Division I in the 2019-20 school year during the regular season as well as the conference and NCAA championships. The rule will be voted on by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on June 26.

According to the NCAA release, the referee has sole jurisdiction over the review, and the referee’s decision is a judgment call not subject to further review or appeal. Only the referee and a conference or NCAA meet committee representative (who has no participating school affiliation) may view the video being used for replay review. Challenges by coaches are not permitted as part of this rule, and coaches are not permitted to view that video at any time.

“With the video technology that is available,” said Dan Gelderloos, committee chair and men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach at Calvin, “we believe this rule will help maintain fairness for the athletes on decisions that may be difficult to judge.”

Swimming World challenged the notion for a revision on the rules for reviews of disqualifications in March after the Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships. But this was after Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey was disqualified for a breaststroke pullout and Texas A&M’s Claire Rasmus was disqualified for turning on her back in freestyle. “This type of disqualification is based only on one person’s visual evidence that can often be impacted by poor visibility due to the rush of turbulent water and pool clarity,” Swimming World wrote at the time.

“More often, the visual lines are complicated by the reflective glare of powerful television lights illuminating each lane. Given the failings of the human eye, for one official to have supreme influence over a championship performance, based on singular visual evidence, is just wrong.”

Although the rule indicates it would solely be for 15-meter violations, this is a good start for the NCAA to implement video review for disqualifications. 15-meter violations occur when a swimmer fails to break the surface before 15 meters after the start or the turn. The release did not say if it would review other stroke violations.

USA Swimming and FINA have implemented video reviews and dual confirmation procedures in national meets since 2007 to ensure that any disqualification is verified.

According to USA Swimming officials, camera review has been used at every national championship meets since 2007, and has “saved a number of athletes.” According to USA Swimming, a call is made on the deck, it is radioed in to the review room with USA Swimming officials and technicians. They will confirm the call, overturn the call or let it stand if there is not enough video evidence to overturn. They can’t initiate calls. The Pan Pacific Championships have also used the technology since 2010.

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Rules Committee also proposed changing the rules used after timing malfunctions to be more in line with USA Swimming and international swimming rules.

Other Rule Proposals:

  • When divers tie in non-NCAA and NCAA championship meets for eighth place in the prelims of diving 1-meter, 3-meter or platform events, the tiebreaking method is to take all nine divers to the final. The consolation finals will have seven competitors in the event, none finishing higher than 10th place in the final standings. In the final, the nine competitors will do a six-dive list. The highest place finisher of the tied divers will remain in the place that they finished, while the other diver will place ninth.
  • A minimum of two officials must be used for dual, double-dual, triangular and quadrangular meets. A minimum of four officials must be used for championship and invitational competition. If approved, the rule would be effective for Division I for the 2019-20 academic year and 2020-21 for Divisions II and III.
  • Lap counters will become optional and can be placed at the end or on either side of the pool.

2 comments

  1. avatar

    Good. I’ve seen too many bad calls to not introduce video review. Would love to see video review used to evaluate officials for bias and prejudice at ALL levels. The misdeeds at age group meets are shocking and should warrant termination of an official’s credentials. Please, it would prevent them from matriculating to higher level meets.

  2. avatar

    Good. I’ve seen too many bad calls to not introduce video review. Would love to see video review used to evaluate officials for bias and prejudice at ALL levels. The misdeeds at age group meets are shocking and should warrant termination of an official’s credentials. Plus, it would prevent them from matriculating to higher level meets.