THSLL Districts
Central North San Antonio South West

THSLL News

Posted on November 08, 2014


As you are aware, the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee approved several rules changes for the 2015 and 2016 competition seasons. In order to assist coaches and officials with play during the fall season, the Committee has approved the guidance document to illustrate the new rules. The rules book will be produced and available in the coming weeks, along with the annual preseason rules video. 

NEW RULES – FACEOFFS. The Committee made three significant changes with respect to the faceoff procedure:  • A new mechanic process was approved. • There are several new rules and definitions with respect to picking up and/or carrying the ball in the back of the stick. • There are several new definitions with respect to “parts of the body” coming into contact with either crosse during a faceoff. 

1. NEW FACEOFF MECHANICS. For the 2014 Fall schedule, the way in which officials will conduct the face-off has been altered as follows: • Whenever possible, the faceoff shall be conducted by two officials. The Single side official will be in charge of speaking and conducting the faceoff. 
 
MECHANICS NOTE: This official will always be opposite the bench area and have his left side diagonally facing towards the benches. The second official (bench side official diagonally across and leading to his left) will be close enough hear the “set” call, and expected to help with proper positioning of players sticks, to call violations or movement during the faceoff process.  

• The procedure of having the former Single side official conducting the next faceoff has been changed. After a goal is scored, the next face-off will be conducted by the former Lead official, from the Single side of the field. (Same procedure as above.) 

• After a goal, the 20-second beeper will always be initiated by the official leading to his right. (The other two officials will be involved with the faceoff.) This official will place himself slightly inside the wing line and closer to the restraining line at his end of the field, allowing him to watch both wing areas during the next faceoff.  

• After a team gains possession the 30 second clearing count will be initiated by the Single side official. (Same as previously done.) Procedures for conducting the actual face-off are as follows: 
1. The official conducting the faceoff will hold the ball in his hand and will NOT place it on the ground, as was previously done. 
2. The official shall indicate to the players the spot on which the faceoff will take place and instruct the players to prepare for the faceoff by saying “down.” 
3. Once the players are down they are to move into their faceoff position as quickly as possible. Players may kneel or stand as they get into position for the faceoff.  
4. If the players are NOT positioned properly, the officials may adjust the players positioning (including crosses) to ensure the faceoff will be conducted fairly for both players. Note: ALL rules for positioning of players and sticks are in full effect and the
same as previous years (e.g., nothing on the midline, nothing touching the plastic, sticks straight up and down, no leaning etc.). If face-off players are continually delaying this process, officials may call a violation for delay of game.
5. Once the players are in the proper position, the official shall place the ball on the ground, in between the head of each crosse, paying close attention to placing the ball IN THE MIDDLE of the head of each crosse. 6. Once the official is satisfied with the placement of the ball & of the positioning of the players crosses, he shall instruct the players to remain motionless by saying “Set.” MECHANICS NOTE: Officials will still have their hand on the ball (and/or crosses) when the command “Set” is given. 
7. After the “Set” command, the official shall back out and blow the whistle when he is clear of the scrimmage area. The official does not have to be stationary, and in all likelihood will still be moving backwards, when he blows the whistle to start play. The whistle cadence will vary with every faceoff. Note: Players will be in the face-off position longer than in previous years and they MUST wait for the sounding of the whistle.
8. Violations, if they occur, are to be called by both faceoff officials and recorded as previously done.  Three or more violations on a team in one half will continue to result in a time-served technical foul on the violating team. 

2. BALL BEING PICKED UP AND CARRIED IN THE BACK OF THE CROSSE. The Committee approved a rule change that makes it illegal for a player to pick up the ball and carry it in the back of the stick. This new rule is NOT intended to change the way players approach the faceoff. A few notes/comments to help clarify this new rule: 
• A faceoff player may still clamp or pinch the ball in the reverse side of his crosse. The difference, with this rule, is that he must move, rake, or direct the ball immediately after gaining control of the ball.  
• Before passing this rule, the Committee defined immediately is defined as within one step.
• If a player gains possession on a faceoff in the reverse side of his crosse and fails to move, rake, or direct it (to a teammate or himself) and takes more than one step – a faceoff violation has occurred. This will count as one of the three violations per half.
• If the ball squirts out and away from the faceoff players on a faceoff, NO player may pick the ball up by jamming the reverse side of the crosse on top of the ball. All ground balls are to be picked up by scooping the ball with the front of the crosse. 

3. ILLEGAL TO USE A BODY PART (forearm, elbow, head, etc.) TO INITIATE CONTACT WITH AN OPPONENT’S CROSSE OR HIS OWN CROSSE. On a faceoff, neither player may initiate contact with ANY body part TO the crosses. This rule clarifies the previous wording that stated ON the crosses. 

EXAMPLE: If the elbow goes to the ground and then comes into contact with the cross of either player, a violation has occurred. This counts as one of the three violations per half. This new rule
was added to decrease the length of time the faceoff players will be down “scrumming” for the ball. The Committee’s intent is to get the ball out quickly to create a ground ball. 

NEW RULES: SHOT CLOCK CALL AND VISIBLE CLOCK.
• The term “Timer-On” has been retired. The new command is “Shot Clock.” 
• The official’s beeper is no longer used for this procedure.
• The rules for the shot clock are essentially the same as the rules for the Timer-on. If a team is not attacking the goal or attempting to stall, a “Shot Clock” will be initiated by the officials.
• The shot clock will be a 30-second visible clock and will stop and start in sync with the game clock. Two visible clocks have been recommended and, if available, may be used immediately.
• The rule mandates Division I use for the 2016 season and Divisions II and III for the 2017 season. 
• As the date of this communication, the actual administration for this procedure is not complete, but will be determined prior to the 2015 competition season.  For stadiums and playing fields that do not have visible clocks the game officials will administer the shot clock using the following mechanics: 
• When a shot clock is initiated, the officials are to begin the Shot Clock on an increment of 10 seconds and use the game clock for timing. For example, if officials feel a team is stalling, the call will be initiated at 8:40 (or 8:30, or 8:20 on the game clock). This results in the shot clock expiring on an increment of 10 seconds (8:10, 8:00 or 7:50 on the game clock). By initiating the call on an increment of 10 seconds, it will always end on an increment of 10. Players, officials, coaches, and fans will all come to expect the shot clock to expire on a digit ending in zero.

MECHANICS NOTE: The above procedure is ONLY for stadiums and fields without visible shot clocks in use. For stadiums and fields with visible shot clocks, the time on the actual shot clock will be used to administer these plays.
• The official’s mechanics will remain the same as they were for the Timer-On call, with the exception of the command used. All three officials will signal (visually and verbally) “Shot Clock” to begin the call. The Trail official will, in most cases, be the one to administer the call. 
• It is important to note that not every stadium or field has the same location for the game clock (and, if available, shot clocks). The location of the game clock (and/or shot clocks) may require some adjustment by officials to properly adjudicate this call. It is possible that the Single side official will make the call at some venues, or it may vary by which end of the field the call is initiated. 
It is VERY IMPORTANT for the officiating crew to cover and discuss this during pregame meetings. 

NEW RULES: OVER AND BACK. The new rule states that after a team has satisfied the 30-second clearing clock, and that team causes the ball to go back into the defensive half of the field, (last to possess and last to touch) the result will be an immediate turnover and a quick restart for the offended team.
This rule eliminates the possibility of confusion that was caused by the Timer-On call from the past two seasons (or a new clearing clock if a team was in a man-up situation). 
To be clear, this new over and back rule will be called the same way, every time, regardless whether or not the teams are playing at even strength or man-up. Officials will adjudicate this play in the following manner: • First, the Lead official (who should by this point be on the midline to observe the play) will signal a very quick play-on. If the offended team does not gain possession (or does not look like they will gain quick possession) of the ball, an immediate whistle will be blown for illegal procedure. Possession will be awarded to the offended team, and a quick restart will follow. This allows the offended team to gain the advantage, should they desire. In many cases this could lead to a fast break and a scoring opportunity.
• All other rules regarding the ball crossing back into the defensive end after satisfying the clearing count remain the same as the past two seasons. If the ball does not touch or go over the midline, no infraction has occurred. Also, defensive players may bat the ball to keep it in the offensive half of the field, but if they possess it and their feet are in the defensive half – the result is a turnover.
• As a reminder, while the new over and back rule is called regardless of whether teams are at even strength or man-up, the initiating of all other shot clock warnings cannot be given if the teams are playing at uneven numbers. 

NEW RULES: TIMEOUTS. The new timeout rule allows for only the team in possession or entitled to possession to call a timeout during a dead ball situation, when the stoppage of play is within the field of play.  
Examples of this are: Faceoff violations; crease violations; over and back; warding off; loose ball pushes; moving picks, etc. This ensures that any advantage the offended team has a result of the violation, will remain an advantage with a quick restart. Timeouts are allowed for both teams during all other dead ball situations.
Examples of these are: A shot leaving the field of play; ball leaving the field of play on a sideline; injuries; after a goal is scored; after a time served foul, etc. 
Note: If a defensive team calls for a timeout, and the officials inadvertently blow the whistle to stop play, a flag will be thrown and a 30-second technical foul penalty shall be assessed to the defensive team. This follows the same procedure as if a team calls a timeout and do not have any
remaining. This new rule is different for officials. Officials need to be aware of and understand the difference from the previous rule.

NEW RULES: GOAL AND STALL PROCEDURES ARE MET ON THE RELEASE OF THE BALL INSTEAD OF THE BALL CROSSING THE GOAL LINE. At the end of all quarters and overtime periods, as well as at the end of all shot clock warnings, a goal will be counted, if the release of the shot occurred prior to the expiration of the clock and/or the horn sounding.
This rule allows for continuation of play if the release of a shot (including bounce shots) occurs prior to the expiration of time. Officials are to hold their whistle at the end of all quarters and allow the play to finish after the sounding of the horn. Rationale: The Lead and Single side officials cannot watch the clock on this play.

This new rule allows the Trail official, who is responsible for the clock, a better view of the play at the end of quarters and shot clocks situations.  A few significant items of importance for this rule:
• If the ball deflects off a defensive player and enters into the goal – the goal shall count. 
• If the ball deflects off an offensive player and enters the goal – the goal shall not count. 
• For a game winning goal that occurs at the end of the 4th quarter or in overtime, a coach’s request for a stick check would NOT be allowed. By rule, the game is considered to be complete in this situation.
Note: This will be adjusted in A.R. 113 on page 45 of the rules book when the new rulebook is produced later this year.
• For a tying goal that occurs at the end of the fourth quarter, a coach’s request for a stick check will be allowed. By rule, the game is NOT complete in this situation. 

NEW RULES: CLARIFYING THE WORDING ON THE DIVE PLAY.
The word “grounded” will be added to the language regarding play around the crease area. Additional language regarding “diving and or jumping” will be rewritten to clarify this important and difficult play.
*If an offensive player, in possession of the ball and outside the crease area, dives or jumps (becomes airborne of his own volition), prior to, during, or after the release of the shot and lands in the crease – the goal shall be disallowed. On this play, the offensive player took the chance, by diving/jumping. If he lands in the crease, for any reason, the goal will not count. 
• If an offensive player, in possession of the ball and outside the crease area, makes an inside move and keeps his feet (or other part of his body, knees, etc.) “grounded” and lands, steps
in, or touches the crease after the ball enters the goal – the goal shall count. On this play, by staying grounded the offensive player did not dive or jump. This is a legal play.
• Both of the above examples assume that the offensive player did not make contact with any part of the crease area or the goalie prior to the ball entering the goal. 

MECHANICS NOTE: Guidance for officials and coaches here is to think of this play as if the offensive player were a wide receiver in football and attempting to catch a pass on the sideline. If the feet are grounded it is a good catch. If the feet are not grounded, no catch.
Clarification of a defensive push on the above scenarios:  
• The offensive player is pushed, takes a step or two, and then launches himself. He shoots, scores and then lands in the crease. Although the push influenced the dive, it did not cause it. The proper call is flag down, NO GOAL. The defensive team would be man- down for 30 seconds (or more if the foul is a personal foul).
• The offensive player is grounded and is illegally pushed from behind. The push causes the player to become airborne. There are no extra steps taken after the push. The shooter scores prior to contact with the crease or the goalie. The proper call is flag down, GOOD GOAL. Wave off the flag and faceoff all even, or man down if the foul is a personal foul.
• Offensive player A1 clearly makes himself airborne and tries to sail over the crease line while shooting, hoping to land outside the crease on the other side. Contact is made (a.) legally or (b) illegally by defenseman B1. A1 then lands in the crease after the ball enters the goal. RULING: In both cases the goal shall be disallowed. In (a), the ball is awarded to Team B to clear. In (b), Team B will serve 30 seconds (or more, if warranted) and Team A will be awarded the ball.  FURTHER GUIDANCE: Officials are instructed to focus as narrowly as possible on judging the facts of the play (foul vs. no foul, crease vs. no crease) and not to speculate where a player might have ended up if he had not made contact with another player.
The facts are: 1. Contact was made (foul vs. no foul); and 2. If the player was in the crease as a result of his decision to leave his feet.
As you are aware, the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee approved several rules changes for the 2015 and 2016 competition seasons. In order to assist coaches and officials with play during the fall season, the Committee has approved the guidance document to illustrate the new rules. The rules book will be produced and available in the coming weeks, along with the annual preseason rules video. 
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