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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Women’s Volleyball speaks on new ‘double contact’ rule

NCCA’s new rule sparks debate between players, coaches
Courtesy of Erik Drost
The BW Women’s Volleyball team plays a match prior to the rule change.

On Feb. 20, The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule regarding double contacts in women’s volleyball games that has sparked debate among Baldwin Wallace University athletes.

According to the NCAA, the new rule set to take effect in the 2024 season allows “women volleyball players to contact the ball more than once with any part of the body in a single attempt on a team’s second contact when the ball is played to a teammate. However, if the ball is played over the net in this type of scenario, it would be ruled a fault, and the team would lose the point.” 

This announcement struck panic across various media platforms from current players and coaches. 

BW Women’s Volleyball junior setter Kat Blazetic said they believe it is unfair and disrespectful to all of the athletes’ continuous training over the years. 

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“The rule change of eliminating the ‘double contact’ rule was very shocking to me,” Blazetic said. “I believe that the world of women’s volleyball is very technical and taking away such a rule, kind of takes away what we as women’s volleyball players work for our whole career.” 

According to the NCAA, the reason for addressing this topic is that “double contacts have sparked intense debates between coaches and volleyball officials during matches.” 

The NCAA believes that eliminating this judgment call would bring more consistency to the game and increase the continuation of the play, resulting in a more entertaining game for the players and fans. 

Blazetic, along with many volleyball athletes, strongly disagrees. Following the announcement, social media platforms were overrun with discussions about the perceived negative consequences of this change. 

“I believe the new rule will harm the quality of fairness in the game,” Blazetic said. “I say this because it takes out the whole meaning behind women’s volleyball, which is all about technique and precision.” 

Graduate Assistant Coach of the BW Women’s Volleyball team and former setter for Maryland Eastern Shores said they believe this change will positively impact women’s volleyball. 

“I believe that allowing doubles in the game makes it more enjoyable,” Chacon said. “The previous rule regarding doubles was problematic because it was subjective, and referees had varying interpretations of it, resulting in inconsistency. 

Chacon agrees that this change will elevate the level of competitiveness in the game. She recalls how the ‘double contact’ rule had a detrimental effect on the momentum of her collegiate games as an athlete. 

“During my time playing at UTEP, one of our setters committed ten double touches in a single game, which led to us losing in the fifth set,” Chacon said. “Unfortunately, the referee was not consistently calling them. Having a double touch can change the momentum of the game and the attitudes of the players, as volleyball is a sport that heavily relies on momentum.” 

Additional rule changes discussed in the meeting involve the option to designate two liberos per set, though only one can be on the court at any time. Furthermore, the NCAA has expanded the allowance for wearing jewelry during matches. 

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