November 30, 2012

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First Look: New NCAA Men's Rule Book Released

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter

Officials, players, coaches, fans and media have widespread changes to become familiar with for the 2013 NCAA men's lacrosse season.
© Kevin P. Tucker

After an offseason of change, debate and revision, the NCAA men's lacrosse world has a published set of rules to follow for the next two seasons. The NCAA recently released its "2013 and 2014 rules and interpretations" book, and the 93-page document is available for download here (PDF).

Here's what you need to know, with excerpts highlighting the changes. There's a lot to digest:

Major Rules Changes

Substitution box expanded to 20 yards

Change to RULE 1-SECTION 10: "The substitution area shall be 20 yards wide. Two lines shall be drawn on either side of the center line 10 yards from the center line and extending past the scorer's table."

Minimum of six and a maximum of 10 balls shall be available

Change to RULE 1-SECTION 16: "A minimum of six balls and a maximum of 10 balls shall be available at each end line and sideline. The number of balls in each area must be equal in each area. On the bench side, balls shall be placed at the scorer's table and outside each bench area. These balls shall be replenished by the home team and game management staff."

Ball must meet NOCSAE standard and display mark by 2014

1-16: "The ball must meet the current NOCSAE lacrosse ball standard. Starting in January of 2014, all balls must specify that the ball meets the NOCSAE standard."

Shooting strings or laces must be within 4 inches of top of crosse

Change to RULE 1-SECTION 19: "Any additional strings or laces (e.g., shooting strings) must be located within 4" of top of the crosse. No more than one sidewall string on each side is allowed. No crosse may have any tape affixed to the plastic. This does not include the crosse of a goalkeeper."

Third pre-whistle faceoff violation of each half results in 30-second technical penalty

Change to RULE 4-SECTION 3: "After two pre-whistle violations in one half by a team, the third and subsequent violations result in a 30-second technical penalty. This applies to both pre- and post-whistle violations that directly relate to the faceoff (See A.R. 15, 23 and 25). On the third and subsequent violations, the in-home is the player that must serve the penalty. Additionally, the requirement of the faceoff player to leave the field has been eliminated. Violations by the wing players before the faceoff will count toward the three per half. Only the faceoff players may be penalized for a postwhistle faceoff violation."

Faceoffs during penalty situations must have four players in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area

4-3: "During the faceoff in all penalty situations, there must be four players must be in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area. Exception: When a team has three or more players in the penalty area, a player may come out of its defensive area to take the faceoff.

A.R. 11. On a faceoff, A2 uses his hand to grab the ball. It is Team A's third violation of a half. RULING: Team B's ball. Personal foul (unsportsmanlike conduct) on A2 and the in-home must also serve the team's technical foul, putting Team A two men down."

Tape may not be added to the throat of a faceoff player's crosse

4-3: "Tape must be applied to the handle of the crosse in a contrasting color to designate the throat of the crosse for players taking the faceoff."

Ball that returns to the defensive half of the field and remains in the offensive team's possession starts a 30-second count to shoot

Change to RULE 4-SECTION 14: "If the ball returns to the defensive half of the field and the offensive team regains possession, officials shall start the 30-second shot procedure when possession is gained."

Goalies like Johns Hopkins' Pierce Bassett no longer have "a grace period to return to the crease regardless of where the ball is restarted," according to new NCAA rules.
© John Strohsacker/

Goalkeepers no longer given grace period to return to crease before play is restarted

Change to RULE 4-SECTION 18d: "There shall be no grace period for the goalkeeper to return to the crease regardless of where the ball is restarted."

Substitution Procedures: Regular Substitution (Horns Eliminated)

Change to RULE 4-SECTION 21: "Substitution may take place without the necessity of waiting for suspension of play by an official. Players may enter the field of play from the substitution area under the following conditions:

a. The player must be properly equipped.

b. He may not enter the substitution area until his substitution is imminent.

c. The player leaving the field of play must exit via the substitution area.

d. The substitute must wait until such player is off the field of play, and the substitute may not delay his entry onto the field.

A.R. 96. During a regular substitution, or after a restart, A1 delays his entrance onto the field. The trailing official sees the delay. RULING: Silent play-on with an official's arm in the air unless A1 participates in the play, technical foul. This does not remove the responsibility of a team to adhere to the offside rule.

e. The substitute must always yield his position in the substitution area to any player exiting the field.

f. Substitution may take place while play is suspended.

Note: Any delay of the game is to be enforced strictly. See Rule 6-6-f for method of enforcement.

A.R. 98. When is a team member considered legally in the game? RULING: When the substituting team member has complied with substitution requirements as provided by rule and when he has entered the field of play.

Substitution Procedures: Free Substitution

Change to RULE 4-SECTION 22: "Substitution of players may be made when play has been suspended by the officials. These situations include:

a. End of a period.
b. Scoring of a goal.
c. Injury timeout.
d. Equipment adjustment.
e. Penalty enforcement.
f. Man-up play.

Procedures for restarting play adjusted to increase pace of play

Related Content

* Rules Committee Proposes Major Changes
FOGOs Unite in Opposition
Faceoff Veterans React to Proposals
NCAA Committee Reconsiders Changes
* USL Asks Committee to Consider Safety
* Committee to Meet; Coaches React
* Committee Reverses on Moto Grip
* Oversight Panel Approves Changes
* An Official's Take
* 30 in 30: New Rules Impact?

Change to RULE 4-SECTION 23: "Once the referee has signaled that the ball is ready for play, the official shall resume play as quickly as possible. If an opposing player is within five yards of the player that has been awarded the ball, the official shall blow the whistle to start play. The opposing player is not allowed to defend the ball until he reaches a distance of five yards from the opponent. A violation will be a flag down (slow whistle) for delay of game.

"Officials are also instructed to get the ball in play quickly and not be as deliberate with the exact location of the violation. An unfair distance advantage gained by the team with the ball must occur to delay the restart. If officials confer on a play (e.g., goal/no goal), communication to the teams should take place before the restart.

"On restarts where the ball goes out of bounds, the player who is awarded the ball cannot get a running start while out-of-bounds; he must establish himself in bounds prior to the official blowing the whistle.

Restarting play when offensive team is awarded ball in attack area adjusted for quick restart

4-23: "Any stoppage of play that occurs while the ball is in the attack area will result in a quick restart. (Exception: When the offensive team is awarded possession in the attack area, play will be restarted anywhere outside of the attack area. The offensive team is responsible for moving the ball outside the attack area for the restart. Only one pass is permitted.)"

Removed "deliberate" from the targeting the head/neck rule

Change to RULE 5-SECTION 3: "A player shall not initiate contact to an opponent's head or neck with a cross-check, or any part of his body (head, elbow, shoulder, etc.) or stick. Any follow-through that contacts the head or neck shall also be considered a violation of this rule."

Description of legal screening added

Change to RULE 6-SECTION5b: "In establishing and maintaining legal screening tactics, the screener shall:

1. Stay within his vertical plane with a stance no wider than shoulder width apart and shall not lean into the path of an opponent or extend hips into that path, even though the feet are stationary.

2. Not be required to face in any particular direction at any time. No player, while moving, shall set a screen that causes contact and delays an opponent from reaching a desired position."

New stall rules and officials' mechanics for the 30-second timing system are detailed.
© John Strohsacker/

Stalling rules adjusted to mandate offensive team responsibility to create a scoring opportunity, with two exceptions

Change to RULE 6-SECTION 11: "a. It shall be the responsibility of the team in possession to try and create a scoring opportunity.

Exception: If the offensive team has the ball in the attack area and the defensive team is not playing the ball, no stall warning will be issued until either (1) the defensive team attempts to play the ball or (2) the offensive team brings the ball outside the attack area. However, a stall warning may be issued when the offensive team has the ball outside the attack area or below the goal line extended regardless of whether the defensive team is playing the ball.

When stall warning is enforced, offensive team has 30 seconds to take a shot on goal

6-11: "PENALTY — When a team in possession of the ball in its offensive half of the field is given a stall warning, the team is required to take a shot within 30 seconds. A shot is defined as an attempt to score that is on goal (saved by the goalkeeper, rebound off of the goalkeeper, hits the goal pipe, or goal scored). If the 30 seconds expires without a shot on goal, the ball is awarded to the defensive team."

Stall warning mechanics specified; officials to use timing device and manage process on the field

6-11: "b. Officiating Mechanics.

1. Trail official signals stall warning, verbalizes "Timer on!" and starts the 20-second timer.

2. At the end of the 20-second timer, a 10-second hand count is administered by the trail official when the timer expires. The official shall announce "ten seconds" as an audible warning. This official has responsibility for the count until a shot is taken or the time expires.

3. During the 30-second period, situations where a shot goes out of bounds and the offensive team maintains possession shall be handled in this manner:

a. With more than 10 seconds remaining in the count, the timer continues to run and the procedure continues.

b. If the timer expires before the restart, a 10-second hand count will be administered starting on the restart.

c. With less than 10 seconds remaining, the official shall hold the hand count when the whistle blows and continue the count on the restart. For example, if the ball goes out of bounds with 8 seconds remaining on the count, that count continues on the restart. The official shall communicate the amount of time remaining prior to the restart.

4. A shot that hits the goal pipe or rebounds off of the goalkeeper nullifies the stall warning and the game shall continue.

5. In a flag down situation, the shot count shall continue until it expires or a shot is taken.

6. Neither team shall be called for stalling during a man advantage.

7. If a shot hits a defensive team player other than the goalkeeper does not satisfy the criteria for a shot on goal.

8. Once the shot criteria is met, an audible "Timer off" command shall be given by the officials.

c. Timeout situations. If the offensive team calls a timeout when the shot clock is engaged, the team will be granted the timeout. If there are more than 10 seconds remaining in the count, the shot clock will be moved to 10 seconds on the restart. With less than 10 seconds remaining, the count will continue from the point where it was stopped at the timeout. The official shall communicate the amount of time remaining prior to the restart. If the defensive team calls timeout, the shot clock will be reset to 30 seconds on the restart.

Shooting strings must be located within four inches of the top of the crosse. The rule doesn't apply to goalie sticks.

App. I Stick inspection procedures adjusted

Three field tests are required when conducting checks:

1. The ball placed in crosse (perpendicular to the ground) at the throat, then the crosse is tipped forward 90 degrees;

2. The ball is placed in the crosse (horizontal to the ground) at the deepest point of the pocket, then the crosse is tipped forward 90 degrees so the ball rolls out at the tip of the head; and

3. The ball is placed in the back of the crosse at the deepest point of the pocket and pushed in to reverse the pocket. The crosse is inverted 180 degrees. The ball must come out of the crosse without shaking, etc.

PENALTY: If the ball does not come out of the crosse in any of these tests, it is an illegal crosse and a one-minute non-releasable foul. The crosse may not be used during play and will be kept at the scorer's table until the conclusion of the game.

Points of Emphasis for 2013 and 2014

Touching Either Crosse on Faceoffs
The focus of the committee's changes with regard to faceoffs are a continued effort to directly address players who gain an unfair advantage by touching either crosse during the faceoff play. While improvement has been made in recent seasons, a continued emphasis is needed.

Illegal Tactics When Defending (e.g., Cross-check/hold)
Growing concern with certain defensive techniques has led the committee to make the cross-check/hold a point of emphasis. In particular, when a defensive player thrusts the crosse into an offensive player, this is a violation. More stringent enforcement will be supported by the committee in this area.

Sideline Behavior
The committee remains concerned that in some areas inappropriate sideline behavior in NCAA lacrosse contests. The committee asks coaches, players, officials and administrators to conduct themselves in an appropriate and professional manner.

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