What Does the NCAA’s New “Bona Fide Meet” Rule Proposal Say?

After last week releasing a high level overview of proposed rules changes for the upcoming NCAA Swimming & Diving season, on Thursday, the NCAA provided SwimSwam with the details of the changes.

See the full list of proposed rules changes here.

The change proposed by the NCAA Swimming & Diving Rules Committee that is garnering the most attention is the suggestion to update the definition of Bona Fide Competition.

The proposed update to the rule:

The current rule:

The newly-proposed rule is definitely shorter than the existing rule, and reorders some of the criteria, but the main set of requirements are essentially the same. There was some simplification to the latter set of restrictions, but ultimately the only big change is to restrict non-collegiate athletes from bona fide competition (though they can continue to be allowed to swim exhibition races outside of the meet program).

While many meets that would be impacted by this are no longer part of the NCAA schedule (the former Minneapolis Grand Prix or Winter Nationals, for example), meets that could be impacted, for example, would be the American Short Course Championships at Texas. That meet, a big club meet that has turned into a mostly-collegiate Last Chance meet, has often had non-collegiate athletes swimming in the same schedule as collegiate athletes.

Upon review of the full rules, the only other really substantial change to the space-of-play is eliminating the requirement for human takeoff judges when “championship meets utilize an electronic timing and judging system with fully
integrated stationary overhead cameras recording 100 images per second.”

The stated goal is to reduce congestion on deck.

Other more minor changes include better defining swimwear rules for swimmers and divers (they’re not the same), setting rules for a team diving event, allowing options for breaking times other than swim-offs (which most levels of swimming already allow), and removing some meet-specific information about entry limits and entry procedures from the rules book and instead relying on the Pre-Championship manual for those protocols.

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