Each year the NCAA reviews a number of proposals with regards to becoming a rule for administering all the NCAA sanctioned sports. In general, the rules tend to be association wide and sport wide, yet there are many variations with regards to Division and sport specific rules. Many times the Division rules tend to reflect Initial Eligibility guidelines or recruiting timetables, and the sport specific rules tend to be centered upon practice/competition legislation or recruiting calendars.
Overall the NCAA has a fairly comprehensive rules submission and review process that has the best interests of most of the student athletes in mind. While the NCAA is good with in-house notification (letting each school and sport know of the changes), it can be lax about informing the Prospective Student Athlete (PSA) and their families about new rules.
This time of the year, following the Athletic Directors/Staff NCAA Convention, is when proposals become rules and ideas become proposals. Here are some newer rules with regards to Women's Volleyball (and all NCAA Sports).
1. Text Messages will no longer be allowed from coaches/staff to recruits beginning in August of 2008. In the past, Text or Instant Messages were allowed because they were considered an e-mail type communication, but that has changed. Texts can be received, but cannot be sent by a coach until the recruit has signed the National Letter of Intent or written offer of Financial Aid from Admissions.
2. The NCAA Core Courses (Math, Languages, Science, etc), has been raised from 14 to 16 courses. This will not take affect until 2013, but it immediately affects those incoming high school freshman who will need to make sure they are in proper classes.
3. Male practice players (for female sports) will be allowed provided they are deemed eligible per NCAA rules.
4. An athlete may regain a year of eligibility if a coach or staff member unknowingly violated a rule or misinformed an athlete, thus using a year of eligibility for an athlete. A bit complicated, but basically says the coach can accept an NCAA violation if the athlete was being punished for something that was not their fault.
5. Electronic media materials may be sent to recruits - this means that coaches may attach moving pictures to the e-mails they send.
Nothing too dramatic, but the biggest ones to note are the end of Text Messages and the increase in the number of core classes.
Hope this helps and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.