NCAA Directive On Rules Enforcement Reinforced

Frank Cole, the NCAA’s National Coordinator of Officals, along with Col. James Knowlton, the chair of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee and Ty Halpin, the NCAA’s liasion to the Ice Hockey Rules Committee recently sent a memorandum to the Conference Commissioners and Hockey Coaches in regards to the Officiating Directive.

Below is the text of the memorandum:

In the summer of 2004, the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee, conference commissioners and supervisors of officials developed a directive to call the rules book as written without exception. The consensus at the time was that the style of play had reached a point at which a major correction to the game was needed. Since the directive was published, the college hockey community has realized significant progress and encouraged a much faster, more exciting game.

Recently, the Division I Men’s Supervisors of Officials met to review officiating on a national level in an ongoing attempt to ensure that officials are consistently applying the rules across the country. Specifically, the group focused on restraining fouls and gained advantages in the scope of the directive.

The group wishes to clarify two main points. First, the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee’s directive is different from the National Hockey League and USA Hockey “Standard of Enforcement.” Some areas of the NHL/USA Hockey standard do not apply to the NCAA directive. Secondly, the NCAA directive was never intended to be taken as an absolute “zero tolerance” document. There always will be judgment in officiating and every situation is not black or white.

The supervisors had lengthy discussions about the directive and the way games are officiated. A term that consistently presented itself was the idea of the integrity of the play in progress. Impeding and intent are critical ingredients when determining restraining fouls.

Other concerns were the level of enforcement from official to official. Generally, the supervisors believe the directive is being called appropriately in most conferences. However, some officials are using a level of enforcement that goes beyond what was the intent of the directive. As a result, this has led to an increase in embellishment. On the other hand, the supervisors believe there may be some slipping in enforcement with other officials. After watching numerous video examples specifically relating to restraining fouls, the supervisors believe they have a consistent message. Moving forward, this message will be shared immediately with the officials.

In closing, the NCAA directive will continue to be enforced with the clarified interpretations noted above. As always, officials will be selected for the NCAA championships based on their adherence to the directive and management of the game. If there are any questions regarding this correspondence, please feel free to contact us or your supervisor of officials.