Amy Moritz's Oct. 13 article, "NCAA deserves time in box for obstructing flow of game," accuses the NCAA of ruining college hockey through the strict enforcement of impeding and obstruction rules. In particular, she cites the more than doubling of penalties in recent games as proof that overofficiating is tarnishing the game and causing fans to leave.
Moritz has confused both the issue's origination and its scope. The very rule changes that she criticizes were driven by the commissioners and supervisors of officials from every NCAA conference who felt that the clutch-and-grab style of play had reached epidemic levels. After meeting in August with NCAA representatives, they agreed to support the NCAA Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Rules Committee's strict enforcement of impeding and obstruction penalties.
As for Moritz's criticism of the games she mentioned, let's remember that we are at the very beginning of the hockey season. It is only reasonable to expect a period of adjustment as teams and officials play under the new enforcement focus.
A perfect example of this was the North Dakota-Maine series Oct. 8-9. Friday night, there were 31 penalties -- by all accounts, including comments from both coaches, sticking to our strict stance. On Saturday night, the teams adjusted, and there were 14 penalties.
This new focus is fully supported by the NCAA and its member conferences. A main aspect of this support is maintaining the standard through the full season without exception. The intent is to bring back an open, flowing style of hockey that has been slowly diminished in recent years. There will be growing pains with this initiative; however, teams and coaches have made the adjustment and, for the most part, realize the common good it will bring and embrace the temporary spike in penalties.
Associate Director of Playing Rules Administration
NCAA liaison to the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee
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