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Everything You Need To Know About The Proposed College Soccer Rule Changes.

The NCAA has announced proposed rule changes for college soccer, with changes to the substitution rules being among the proposals. By Brian Ludden

A potential change in the substitution rules, is one that could have the most impact on the game.  Currently, a player can reenter the game once in the second half.  However, the proposed rule change states that “no reentry [would] be allowed in either half once a player leaves the game via substitution” in men’s soccer at the Division 1 level.  In addition, teams would only have six windows to make substitutions throughout the match, with an additional window should the match go to overtime.  This proposed change would only affect Division 1 men.  A similar change was passed and then revoked in 2022 that said a player would not be able to reenter the game after leaving in the second half.

Another proposed change that would affect all levels in both men’s and women’s soccer is to stop the clock on all substitutions in the last 15 minutes of the second half and overtime periods, in an effort to reduce the amount of time-wasting.  Currently, the clock only stops when the winning team makes a substitution in the final five minutes.

In regards to the proposed substitution rule changes, UC Riverside men’s coach and chair of the rules committee Tim Cupello said, “This aligns with the sport that our incoming student-athletes are used to.  It also aligns with the sport they would be playing if they are fortunate to continue playing after college into a professional career.”

Additionally, changes to the video review system have been proposed.  If video review equipment is available, referees would now be able to initiate reviews on potential penalty kicks, straight red cards, offside violations, and fouls denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.  “”If we can provide an extra tool to the referees to help get decisions correct, it is a positive,” said Cupello.  “Student-athletes will feel like their performance is rewarded correctly.”

Another rule proposal involves the return of the “golden goal”.  After being removed in 2022, the current proposal includes the return of the sudden-victory format in postseason play.  Since the rule was changed in 2022, no team in the men’s or women’s NCAA Division 1 Tournaments has gone behind in extra time and then come back to win the match.  Additionally, there has only been once instance where both teams scored in extra time, a 2022 second round match in the men’s tournament between FIU and New Hampshire (FIU won 10-9 on PKs)

The final proposed change states that teams would have to provide copies of their rosters and starters to the scorer’s table and the opposing coach 15 minutes before kickoff.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel is scheduled to discuss the proposed recommendations on April 18.  Any proposed changes that are passed would come into effect for the 2024 season.

Brian Ludden is a contributing writer for College Soccer News.

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