By Greg Johnson
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a proposal Thursday for more stringent rules and enforcement standards regarding contact to the head in men’s ice hockey.
Violations will carry a minimum of a major penalty and a game misconduct or disqualification penalty.
A major penalty calls for the offender to be ruled off of the ice for five minutes, during which time a substitute is not permitted.
The oversight panel took the action in the spirit of student-athlete safety, which is among its primary areas of responsibility and a consideration in all playing-rules changes.
The contact-to-the-head rule originally was approved in 2003. The NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee, which recommended the change, believes the NCAA’s strong stance on hitting from behind has altered player behavior, making the game safer.
Other ice hockey proposals PROP approved include a new icing procedure that will allow play to continue in more situations; the removal of the obtainable-pass rule, which allowed linesmen to waive off some icing calls; and minor changes to overtime in an effort to reduce the number of tie games in NCAA play.
PROP also approved a recommendation to alter the delayed-penalty rule to provide the non-offending team a power play, even if a goal is scored during the delay.
PROP approved two experimental rules that can be implemented during the fall season for women’s lacrosse.
With regard to the draw, the maximum number of players allowed from each team between the restraining lines will be reduced from five to three. The Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee believes that this change will help improve the number of draws cleanly won. It will also improve student-athlete safety, since fewer players will be in the proximity of the draw.
The other experimental rule addresses the penalty for offensive offsides so that it is more equal to the defensive offsides penalty.
The panel also approved the proposed modifications from the rules committees in track and field and men’s gymnastics.