INDIANAPOLIS---The Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee proposed a slightly altered faceoff mechanic and added a slow whistle during foul situations at its annual meeting, held August 8-11, in Indianapolis. All proposals must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel in September.
After changing the procedure last year to spread out the players facing off, the committee decided to eliminate the requirement that the referee audibly say “set” prior to blowing the whistle. There were numerous violations this season in the faceoff procedure and a large number were attributed to players anticipating the whistle.
“We believe we were putting our officials in a tough spot in some ways,” said Willie Scroggs, chair of the committee and senior associate athletics director at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “The committee hopes this will improve the consistency and fairness of the faceoff.”
A main topic of discussion last year was the rules regarding timeouts. The committee discussed several options in this area, but decided its rule – which was altered last year to require the team calling the timeout to have possession in the attack zone – met the intended objectives.
“We wanted to make the timeout call easier for officials and we wanted to make sure the team calling the timeout had clear possession of the ball,” Scroggs said. “We discussed many options and ideas. In the end, we feel our rule accomplishes what we are looking for.”
A new rule for the upcoming season was added after the committee allowed experimentation with it last season. During a situation in which a flag is down for a foul, the non-offending team will be allowed to establish possession in the attack area and attempt to score. To ward against additional fouling by the team with the delayed penalty, the committee added that, in this situation, any additional foul against that team will be time serving.
“We had favorable feedback from last year with this rule and really feel like it will add an exciting feature to our game,” Scroggs said. “This gives the offensive team a real advantage and encourages them to create action around the goal.”
The dimensions of the stick and crosse also were discussed at length. With the innovations over the past few decades, the committee feels more specific dimensions are necessary to keep the equipment in line with the traditions of the game. The committee passed several new measurements that will go into effect starting with the 2008 season to give manufacturers and institutions time to adjust to the more stringent standards.
A full listing of the committee’s changes, once approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, will be sent to each institution and posted on the NCAA Web site.
--The committee altered its rule concerning when a player crosses the center line to be consistent with all other lines on the field. Now, if a player touches the center line with his foot, he is considered across the center line.
--The committee passed an experimental rule for the fall season with an eye on a potential change for 2006-07. In the experimental rule, a team has 30 seconds from the time possession is gained to advance the ball into the attack area. The team must keep the ball in the attack area and substitutions may only be made until the ball enters the attack area.
“The committee is looking to speed up the game and create more action,” Scroggs said. “We also feel like substitution patterns may be getting to be too much of our game and speeding up that process, we feel, would be a positive step. We hope teams will experiment with this in the fall season.”
In this experiment, the committee also asks that teams move the attack area line five yards closer to the midline to increase the amount of offensive space.
--An approved ruling dealing with the tripping rule was altered to include the words “stumble or fall” in the explanation of the rule. The committee believes officials should call tripping regardless of whether or not the player falls to the ground.
“If a player is impeded significantly by a defending player, tripping should be called,” Scroggs said. “We hope this brings attention to this and gives officials the ability to call this.”
--The committee also reworded the stalling rules to more accurately reflect when this provision should be used.