Since I joined Team LAS, I have been chomping at the bit to weigh in on some new rule changes. I have officiated a wide variety of levels throughout many regions across the country, and I love to talk field or box, youth through the pros. I know that the high school season is over six months away, but the NFHS met in Indianapolis and made some BIG changes for next year.
Here are a bunch of them:
When the ball goes out on the sidelines, it comes right back in to play with no wait. In my opinion, this was the best thing that the college game has done as far back as I can remember (I’m not that old). I am so pumped for this change and I can’t wait to see it in action. Quick restarts make the game so much more exciting.
Max of 3 In The Box
No longer can you build up a penalty box full of your whole team. Only three guys can serve a penalty simultaneously. When the fourth (or more) player commits a foul, he is to come off the field and wait by the table in the bench area, and when a spot opens up for him, he will take a knee and his time starts.
Length of the penalties are not a factor, only the order. If there are penalties waiting to serve and a goal is scored, only the first 3 players are released. Before the next whistle, the waiting culprits will fill the 3 penalty slots until every penalty is served or released.
The newest example of the the illegal body check is targeting a player that is in a defenseless position. This is related to hitting a player on his blind side, hitting someone with their head down on a loose ball, or blasting a guy during or after a pass is caught while their head is turned will cost you two or three minutes and is non-releasable.
Taping The Head
Anyone taking a faceoff can’t have any tape on the head of their stick. As a ref I like this rule, it makes it a lot easier to watch the top hand during the faceoff. The only excuse you could have for tape there is the hole in your head doesn’t match the one in the shaft, and I get it. It only matters if you’re taking faceoffs, so if you do, I’m sorry but that’s something you’re going to have to deal with.
Must be a solid stroke, no lettering, logos or writing are permitted. C’mon man! EN: Did Roger Goodell write this one?!
Any hits to the head or neck are automatically two or three minutes and non-releasable, no more chance of getting a one minute penalty.
During a flag down situation, if the defense gathers a second flag the play is to stop immediately. I can get behind this rule, it will keep things from escalating quickly and I think it promotes preventative officiating. The only time the refs shouldn’t kill it immediately is when a goal is imminent. +1 for Safety.
End Line Balls
Four balls must be five yards apart on each end line and on each sideline. On the bench side they just go on the table. It’s all about speeding it up.
The sub area is now going to be five yards wider on each side to increase vision and room to run on and off. I enjoyed it a lot last year in college, the field feels a lot less cluttered over there.
Finally defined as more than six on offense or seven on defense. It doesn’t matter if you have too few and it never has. This definition will just make it easier for everyone to count forward across the midline, and the refs don’t have to look back over their shoulders.
I love that the theme this year is safety, and they added a bunch of practical applications on how to clean up the game and the keep it moving at the fast pace in which lacrosse is intended.
Also note: You might start seeing refs back in the old long white socks with the black at the top, that’s now ok again with the NFHS, but I turned all of mine in to snowboarding socks and I refuse to look back.
To check out the full write-up on the new NFHS rulings, head over to NFHS.org and take a gander yourself.