THSLL Districts
Central North San Antonio South West

THSLL News

Posted on February 20, 2016
‚ÄčTo All THSLL Participants,
 
Since the start of the 2016 THSLL Season on January 23rd, 226 games have been played!  For the most part, game reports and feedback from you and the SWLOA officials have been positive.  We are all excited about another season of quality, competitive lacrosse; however, the THSLL Board of Directors has received and reviewed a number of reported game incidents that have us concerned about safety and sportsmanship.
 
As you know, safety and sportsmanship are foundation principles of the THSLL, and are important priorities for all of us who participate in, and are involved with, the THSLL.  Having said that, there have already been a number of reported game incidents of unnecessary roughness, and targeting of the head/neck area, which are both illegal and cause for concern for safety and sportsmanship reasons.
 
The THSLL Board of Directors and the SWLOA leadership have reviewed these scenarios, watched the game film on them, and are taking action on them together, now, to ensure the health and safety of everyone participating in 2016 THSLL Regular Season and Post-Season THSLL games.
 
Towards that end, Tom Fitzsimmons, President of the SWLOA, sent out an email on Thursday of this past week to all the SWLOA officials asking them to be more vigilant when it comes to player safety.  He asked them to pay close attention to hits to the neck and head area that occur through illegal body checks, and/or through unnecessary roughness.  He noted that violent contact around the head and neck should result in a penalty.  Additionally, he noted that violent and egregious hits can also be unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.  He asked the officials to start penalties associated with these fouls at two minutes and progress to three with the player locked in the box.
 
He reiterated our agreed upon message that SWLOA officials should err on the side of making such calls, and that we would be communicating with you, explaining this decision and action, and to expect flags when hits occur in the head or neck area, even when the contact is caused by follow-through, and when hits are violent and/or egregious.
 
We acknowledged together, in advance of this decision and action, that we may receive more complaints, but that our concern for safety and sportsmanship requires that the SWLOA and the THSLL adapt to a changing environment around safety and sportsmanship to make for a better game.  In closing, Tom suggested each SWLOA official contact their assignor, local trainer, or chief referee if they have any questions.
 
The purpose of this email from the THSLL Board of Directors is to initiate a dialogue on safety and sportsmanship around the THSLL, given the number of such incidents that have occurred thus far in the 2016 THSLL Season.  We are sharing Tom’s message and instructions to the SWLOA officials, AND we are explicitly stating the THSLL Board of Directors’ expectations around safety and sportsmanship, and highlighting the NCAA rules associated with them, for all future THSLL games.
 
The reported game incidents referenced above are violations of the NCAA Lacrosse Rules related to Unnecessary Roughness SECTION 5 and Targeting the Head/Neck, SECTION 3, and are all related to safety and sportsmanship.  Consequently, we are asking each coach to do four things: 
  1. Provide a copy of our email, and these NCAA rules to each player
  2. Review both the email and the rules with your players so that there is no question as to what they mean, how serious we all are about player safety and sportsmanship, and so that they will understand the SWLOA interpretation and application of these rules in future THSLL games.
  3. Communicate with your players that these hits will not be tolerated, and if any player insists on making them, there will be serious consequences.
  4. Make your thoughts about the SWLOA application of these rules clear in your game reports, and where you disagree with the calls, or lack of calls on them, refrain from on-field arguments, and instead provide comments and game film so that the SWLOA leadership and THSLL Board of Directors can review the incidents for learning and training purposes.
We thank you all for your commitment to the high school student athletes participating in the THSLL, and for giving these actions on player safety and sportsmanship your attention.  We all share equally the responsibility and accountability for proactively addressing safety and sportsmanship in the THSLL, and we know that without your support, the THSLL would not be able to provide the lacrosse experience it does today!
 
Have a great season
 
Al Picazo
Commissioner, THSLL
 
Article File Attachments: NCAA Section 3 & 5.docx NCAA Section 3 & 5
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