NCAA Water Polo Coaches Weigh In on D-I Scouting Rule Change

In a June 25 piece the CWPA reported on a rule that prohibits NCAA Division I coaches from scouting future or potential opponents during matches they attend on their own time. The rule would exclude matches played at tournaments, a traditionally common time for live scouting by water polo coaches.

Proponents of the ban were so “because of the vast improvements in video technology and the belief that live scouting could have a direct impact on fair competition,” according to the CWPA’s story. Opponents asserted that the rule put “unreasonable limits” on the actions of coaches who may attend matches on their own time.

In an email to TWp, Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao wrote that the rule would have no affect on their efforts, saying that live scouting of opponents “is not something we have done in the past or really will do. [We] don’t have the time.”

Dan Leyson, new men’s head coach at UC Davis, was less clear about how the rule pertained to NCAA water polo. For one, enforcing a rule prohibiting coaches from scouting while they attend matches that feature potential opponents can be “problematic.”

More specific to water polo is the role of technology, according to Leyson. The NCAA rule, which appears to apply mainly to revenue sports like basketball and football, not only allows but encourages the sharing of videotaped games among coaches. Sharing raw video scouting material between opposing coaches is very common practice in collegiate football in particular. Not so in collegiate water polo, whose repository of scouting material is minuscule compared to the big revenue sports. No surprise, then, that water polo coaches are less enthusiastic about sharing their own videos with the competition than are their revenue-sport colleagues. When possible, scouting opponents in person remains a popular choice.

Though details have yet to emerge, The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the stand-out conference in men’s collegiate water polo, may be initiating an effort to provide some relief to its members by posting game videos to a common web site. No word if other conferences are working toward similar solutions.