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Substitution rules changes approved for NCAA DI men’s soccer

Greg Johnson, NCAA

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel recently approved substitution rules changes for Division I men's competition, effective for the 2024 season.

NCAA Men's and Women's Soccer Rules Committee members recommended that no reentry be allowed in either half once a player leaves the game via substitution in Division I men's soccer. Additionally, teams will have six moments at which they can make substitutions in a game, and substitutions can occur during any stoppage of play. Teams will be awarded an additional moment to make substitutions in overtime. 

Substitution rules remain the same in all other levels of men's and women's soccer, where players can reenter the game once in the second half and can substitute only on goal kicks, their own team's throw-in, their own team's corner kick, after a goal has been scored or when a player has received a caution. 

In all three levels of men's and women's soccer, the committee recommended that the clock will be stopped on all substitutions made by the team leading the game or if the score is tied in the last 15 minutes of the second half and in overtime periods. 

Soccer rules committee members thoroughly discussed stopping the clock on substitutions options and wanted to discourage using substitutions as a tactic to slow the pace of the game. 

Expanded video review

The panel approved expanding video review. If video review equipment is available, referees can initiate reviews on the following plays:

• Potential penalty kick situations. 

• Potential straight red card situations. (An ejection for two yellow cards is not reviewable.)

• Any potential offside violation involving goal-scoring opportunities.

• Denial of obvious goal-scoring opportunities.

Other rules proposals

• The sudden-victory (golden goal) overtime format will be used in postseason play.

• Teams must provide copies of their rosters, with starters indicated, to the scorer's table, opposing coach and referee 15 minutes before kickoff. The copy given to the referee shall not have card information listed.

Point of emphasis

Officials will be instructed to watch decorum by coaches and players in the coaching and team areas next season. The committee considered proposing that all bench personnel, except for the head coach, remain seated during play. 

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