The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Rules Subcommittee recommended a rules proposal to make simulating a foul an exclusionary penalty for the 2018-19 academic year.

A defensive player whistled for simulating a foul will be excluded from play for 20 seconds. An offensive player called for simulating a foul will lose possession of the ball to the opposing team.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel before they become official. The panel will discuss the water polo rules proposals in February.

The committee believes that simulation of fouls is an area of the game that needs to be addressed to help officials do their jobs.

“By adding it to the rule book, we are hoping that it becomes consistent and clear about what is faking and what is legitimate,” said Matt Anderson, committee chair and men’s and women’s water polo coach at Connecticut College. “Once the communication is done between all participants in the sport, everyone will adjust to the new rule.”

Yellow/red card

The subcommittee recommended that officials be allowed to issue a yellow and red card as a second warning to a head coach. The showing of the two cards simultaneously restricts the head coach from advancing to the 2-meter line on offense and the goal line on defense.

If the referee determines the infraction is severe, a red card may be issued immediately.

The current card process for control over conduct includes a warning and only a yellow card or a red card. The committee felt that having only those options could cause an official to be hesitant to issue a second card for disruptive behavior by a coach. The change is aimed at giving a referee greater ability to control conduct by the head coach on the deck.


The subcommittee also recommended that if misconduct occurs during the administrative time when the ball is out of the pool, the resulting free throw would be taken by the team in possession of the ball, as deemed by the referee.