College NCAA

NCAA Rules Committee Recommends Shocking Changes

college lacrosse 2013 rule changes
Get ready fellas. The new rules are here!

If you watched the last episode of The Lacrosse Show, you knew that rule change recommendations would be hitting the airwaves soon, but our fearless commentators didn’t seem to think anything TOO crazy would come as a result. However, it’s starting to look like Mr. Powers and I were off just a bit, as the NCAA Lacrosse Rules Committee released their recommendations today.

We’ll list out, and then break down their recommendations a bit, and we definitely want to hear what our readers have to say about these ideas! Will they speed up the game, improve it, or destroy it? Could these rules change lacrosse? Or will things stay pretty much the way they are?

The Olympics could certainly use some change, but College Lacrosse is the one  that seems to be doing it!

college lacrosse 2013 rule changes

Proposed Men’s Lacrosse Rule Changes:

- A 30 second shot clock after the Stall Warning is given: This is a big one and people have been clamoring for it in one way or another. Basically, if you stall now, you also have to shoot the ball. Get it in and Keep it in is DONE under this new rule and a shot only counts if it is saved, goes in, or hits the pipe. Off cage shots will not count. If a team does manage a shot, the stall is canceled.

- Faster Restarts: Goalies won’t be given 5 seconds to get back in their crease after chasing a shot, which is good, because this rule was corrupted almost immediately by heady keepers looking to let their defense rest and reset. All over the field, restarts will be faster, and opposing players who do not move away from the player with the ball during a restart can be penalized for it. This one looks like a great change!

- Modified Stick Specifications: Basically, the NCAA is getting tighter on stringing styles here. No additional strings on the sidewalls, no really low shooters, and the ball has to come out of the stick when it is put on the BACK side of the head! This rule change will dramatically change stringing styles next year if it goes through, and I think it could kill off some of the more serious channel pockets. I would have loved to have seen the NCAA also require players to use Universal heads, but it’s a start.

- Faceoffs: No more motorcycle grip. Seems crazy to me. I’d rather have the refs actually focus on players touching the plastic as opposed to how they hold their stick. First lefties can’t face off, now motorcyclists can’t face off. Not a huge fan of this part of this new proposed rule. You also can’t tape the throat of your stick anymore.

However, there are other rules which I do like. Violations no longer mean a player has to leave the field of play, BUT, if a team gets two pre-whistle violations in one quarter, every subsequent violation in that quarter is a 30 second penalty. Interested to see how this one plays out!

The biggest change of all for face offs? This Fall, the Rules Committee wants teams to try facing off from 12 inches apart, instead of the current FOUR inches. Face offs would change FOREVER if this one goes through.

- Removing the Horn for Substitutions: Duh. Thank the Creator they recommended losing the horn. It’s a game slower, a waster of time and allows for rampant specialization. Great move. The substation box will also be twice as big, which is a good move and will allow for transition and easier subbing, as well as more gamesmanship with substitutions, which can create more quick strike offense, just like in box lacrosse.

- Set number of balls on the end line: At least six, no more than 10. I don’t know why there would be an upper limit here. Want 100 balls back there? Works for me.

- Over and back results in a 30 second shot clock: This rule change was just thrown in at the bottom of the NCAA’s post, and it is barely flushed out. I think it’s an over and back violation basically, but it’s still hard to tell.

- More emphasis on illegal play: We’re talking about crosschecking (finally!), touching the ball with hands (on the face off) and poor conduct on the sidelines/unsportsmanlike conduct, etc.

In September, the Playing Rules Oversight Panel will meet, and if these changes are accepted, they will go into effect in the 2013 season, which will be less than 6 months away. These are HUGE proposed changes, and we think many of them can help the game. So what do YOU think? Can these changes fix the game? Does it need to be fixed? Are there any unforeseen problems with these rules? Will any of these proposed changes get discarded? Will any get used?

About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

98 Comments

  • Agree about the motorcycle grip. Most guys who use this style will readily admit that it puts them at a disadvantage because they are not able to execute as many moves in that position. It limits them to fewer counter moves and makes them less versatile. 

    The main advantage of an overhand grip is that it allows for a more powerful clamp. Guys like Rodney Tapp & Alex Smith have used this to great success. However, Rodney has said that his biggest key to success is recognizing when the primary clamp move isn’t working & being humble enough to find a successful alternative.

    Do we know who makes up the rules committee? My guess is that one frustrated coach may have proposed this one.  

    Rich Sharp

  •  “Goalies won’t be given 5 seconds to get back in their crease after chasing a shot …” This will obviously discourage goalies from chasing shots and will thus reduce the advantage of having a mobile goalie.

  • and when you add in the fact that the guys might have to be 12 inches apart, it seems excessive. Interesting changes for sure!

  • I would actually disagree 100% with your contention, and here is why:

    By not allowing the 5 second grace period, IMMOBILE goalies will no longer chase balls. It will be too risky.

    However, mobile goalies will still be able to chase shots and then hustle back in to the goal. In my mind, this increases the advantage of athletic goalies.

    Will we see less goalies diving to the end line? YES. I agree with you there. The goalies will have to judge their opportunities carefully, so when we do see it, it will be that much more exciting.

    All that this rule reduces is goalies leaving the cage EVERY SINGLE TIME, as many did this year, just to get the 5 reset seconds. The rule as it stood was abused, and this change would be great for the game in my opinion.

    Thanks for the comment though, all this stuff needs to be discussed in-depth and I appreciate your thoughts on it. Any rebuttal to my response? Would love to hear it. Thanks Lawrence!

  • Sounds like it’s mostly geared toward speeding up the game which I think is a great move.  Faster restarts especially sound like a great way to keep it moving and make it faster than any other sport.  As for balls on the endline, that is weird to have an upper limit but maybe it’s to reduce the chances of ball-on-field scenarios, but as an attackman 100 sounds good, I wanna run ON the field not chase a ball and then have to face the D!

  • I am not sure about the moto grip comment.  I have nothing against Rich Sharp at all.  I face-off alternating between moto and neutral.  To me, it seems easier to get the ball out anywhere using motogrip as the wrists are the same and can move fluidly, while in neutral there is a small difference as the wrists aren’t so fluid in moving together.  But I find some counter moves easier with moto and neutral.  For example, the jam seems easier with moto, or the rake and 2-finger jimmy (illegal move btw) is easier with neutral.  I would personally like to see the moto grip stay, it gives face-off guys diversity in choosing their grips, and makes it a challenge…and it’s always up for grabs on which is the best.

  • I think you are agreeing with me. I may have been unclear, but I think you should be able to utilize whatever grip you want. (It’s a silly rule IMO). My postion is that using a Moto grip does not put you at an unfair advantage so why bother making in illegal? 

  • The over and back resulting in a 30 second sounds like the change that would have to come along with the 30 second shot clock due to stalling.  The current over and back is an automatic stall warning, and this will still be an automatic stall warning now, except it’s less of a warning and more of a shoot-or-else.

    Outside of the ridiculous changes to faceoffs, I like all of these rules.  As a college coach, my biggest gripe has been how slow refs are to restart the action.  Why should my guys have to wait for a goalie to get back in goal?  That’s his choice to come out, and my choice to exploit that on the restart.  And I love getting rid of the horn.  I barely use it, hate it when other coaches do, and out here in SoCal it seems like no refs know how to actually award and control a horn call.

  • The stall shot clock rule will just force teams to run scores up. the moto grip rule is ridiculous it is just a choice.and the 12 in on fo’s will just take the talent out and turn it into a gb scrum. also stick checks on the back of the head is pointless if they don’t do faceoffs. just my thoughts

  • I also think this rule will be open to some interpretation.  If the goalie is in an actual race all the way to the end line is the ref going to blow the whistle right away while he is 15 yards from the net? My guess is no, he will be given time to get back in the net, but will have to hustle back or they will restart with him out of the net.  There is a big difference in actually having a chance to win a ball, and trying to get 5 second to reset and rest, hopefully the refs will be able to use judgement on this.  

  • I agree with you there. I’m a huge fan of a dead heat race between an attackman and goalie to the line, but blowing a fast restart when the goalie is on the endline is just unreasonable. 

  • I disagree with every single on of these, keep lacrosse how it is now don’t change it like everyone did to the NFL and are ruining it

  • These are all so, so bad. Changes the game far too much and the rules are becoming too intrusive. 

  • I feel like I’m missing something. Am I taking crazy pills? I like the shot clock after a stall warning. Perfect; all of the benefits, none of the concerns having to deal with installing shot clocks at schools, etc. The rest of these rules either seem unnecessary (I’m looking at you “no moto grip”) or are aimed at speeding up the game, meaning the moments between the whistles. I thought the point was to speed up the PACE OF PLAY? Is the issue we’ve all be having watching some of these slow, low scoring games an issue of slow restarts? Is it the fact that an hour of game play takes an hour and a half? IMO the answer is no. The issue we’re all having stems from teams slowing the ball down, over coaching possessions, and trying to dominate time of possession instead of shots on goal. 
    Other than adding the shot clock after a stall warning, what aspect of these rule changes promotes speeding up possessions and promoting shots?

  • The change on stalls is a good call, will definitely keep the game moving and prevents a serious loophole in the current rules.  I’m kind of indifferent about the new restart rule. Not a fan on the proposal for stringing changes, players should be able to have their own style. The new faceoff proposal is the most absurd thing i’ve ever heard! What moron came up with that? You couldn’t even call that a face off anymore…12 inches apart? Is that a joke?…it becomes purely a ground ball situation.  If that rule goes through i’m sure it will be overturned within a year because of how much backlash it will receive. Overall, I think they should definitely implement the stall change proposal for next year. Other than that, the group that developed these proposals are quite possibly retarded.

  • I get the whole tape rule for the face offs but what about everyone else that uses the tape to keep the head on their stick? I am a defender, one time on a check my head flew off when i got to the bench i taped it up and it stayed for the rest of the game. 

    12 inches??? They have to re-look at this. I feel as though it will cause more brawls and chippy play on the face-off.

  • the shooting strings rule is just stupid, many stringers could easily make a stick with just about as much hold using 2 high shooters and using a wax mesh than any regular hard mesh head with a U. this rule and most of the fogo ones are dumb. the shot countdown after a stall warning and the quick restarts are the only good changes

  • Well I really don’t like the idea of the faceoff changes.  I’m not  a faceoff guy but especially if they do the 12 inch thing, that would be basically voiding a skill that fogos everywhere have been honing all their lives.  They may be able to adjust to a standard grip as opposed to a motorcycle, but completely changing the setup seems like a bad idea.  Also this would probably lead to less fast breaks off of faceoffs, as the defending middie will have just slightly more time and space to adjust.  Other than that, I really like the rules, I think they will do exactly what they are meant to–speed up the game.

  • To add to my previous post (after reading a few of the comments below), I also don’t like the stick check idea, because even with a brand new universal or college only head and no shooters, the ball could easily get stuck.  This would also mean that wax mesh and canadian mesh would go out the door, as both of these would stop the ball from coming out.  Fogos have a hard time getting it out of their stick regularly, it doesn’t just slide out easily, as it sounds like it would have to for all sticks with this rule.

  • Removing the horn will all but eliminate D middies which in turn with keep some kids from being able to play. The horn gives those players, who are difference makers, the opportunity to get on the field. Its not easy to sub 2 or 3 guys in transition. The rule change would effectively be shrinking the game not growing it…

  • If they make faceoff changes it will screw everything up….. there is a reason everyone uses moto grip personally i am a fogo and everything they want to change i do. even non fogos tape their throat. also the stick check from the back of the head will cause fogos to constantly be fixing their sticks even brand new sticks will not let the ball fall out of the back also a style of stringing will not allow the ball.  The only good changes are the larger box, and the 30 sec shot clock after the stalling warning after the over and back

  • Good analysis Connor.   The no horn and larger sub box, no brainer.   I’m not sure what the problem was / is with Faceoffs so I don’t know why they are  adjusting that.     Was the motorcycle grip that big of a problem?    The shot clock is the big one.   In theory, I like it.   But it’s going to take  a season of seeing it to really be able to say.   How will this work?    I guess all teams will now need to put shot clocks behind each goal, or will the refs simply keep a timer on their belts?    When the stall warning is given, do you still have to keep it in the box, or is that gone?   Can you take the ball back up top and run a play?     It will be very interesting to see what the goals scored percentage will be after the warning is given.     The NCAA rules committee is to be congratulated for trying to fine tune the game to keep it as competitive and exciting as possible.    

  • the stringing and faceoff changes are stupid… and having to have the ball come out of the back of the head seems pointless to me

  • I’d love to hear more about how it’s actually “ruining the game”. Keep it the way it is doesn’t make an awfully compelling argument!

  • I think it’s to eliminate deep channel pockets and decrease ease of ball retention.

    As for the face off rules, it seems like they may be trying to eliminate specialization and are trying to make the face off another ground ball. It would change things greatly, but I don’t know that one can just call it stupid without seeing and trying it out first!

    All the stringing rules seem to be intended to decrease ease of ball retention… is that really a bad thing as it place more of an importance on skill?

  • -No more motorcycle grip…? What is the point of that? Im a FOGO and thats the only grip I use. 
    -The new stringing and channel rules and just pointless.
    -The 12 inch faceoff rule is ridiculous! Its gonna chage lacrosse forever… In a bad way. Tell me the reason behind that one?! 

  • It seems to me, especially as I reflect further on the proposed changes, that the Rules Committee would like to see less specialization in the game.

    By limiting HOW face offs can be taken, and by moving the players back, I believe the Committee is trying to create more of a “ground ball” situation, and less chance of specialized, highly skilled FoGos.

    My inclination would be to put my most athletic, ground ball hungry player at the X now and let them fight it out. Could create more transition, and will definitely lower the number of jam scrums, which while fun as a player, are slow and boring for fans, especially ones new to the game.

    The refs will use the 20 second timer for the first 20, then do a ten second hand count on the field.  I’m not too concerned about that.

    What I am concerned about is that refs already struggle to effectively utilize the stall warning and call… how does this rule change address that at all?

    The keep it in portion is gone. Stall goes in effect, you have 30 seconds to shoot on cage, that’s it, I believe. And now when you go over and back (which was an automatic stall already) you now have a 30 second shot clock.

    I tend to think the goal percentage scored will be low, but perhaps higher than it was when the original stall was initiated. I’m more interested to see the turnover rate, because that is what this seems to be promoting: rushed shots, transition, close games. No sitting on leads… of course all this assumes the refs can get the call right, which is already a big ask.

    I’m extremely interested to see it all play out. I like that the committee is looking at changes, and believe they can be good for the game.

  • will it really screw everything up? Or will it just change how things are done? What exactly is negative about these changes?

    It’s clear you don’t like them, but I’d love to hear more about why you don’t like them.

    The stick changes seem to be made to decrease ease of ball retention, less deep channel pockets, less hard shooters low in the stick, more shallow pockets… it all relies on more skill, and less focus on being just an athlete. Actually seems like there is a lot of potential there!

  • ALSO, if you run D-mids and O-mids now, you probably run 8-12 guys total. If you have two way middies, you’ll need to run more of them. Perhaps even going back to the old 3 lines of middies. Add in an LSM or two and you get right back to 11 players seeing time. The FoGo may be lost because of the changes, but using two way middies doesn’t mean less guys will play.  It just less one dimensional players will play.

  • other than crosschecking (which isn’t true contact in field) they seemed to leave that as is.

  • I agree that it will change how a pocket can be strung, but I was able to string up a college legal head that met the new rules with no problem. It’s not as big a deal as everyone is making it, IMHO. Good players don’t need one type of pocket. they just play the game. Wax mesh and Canadian mesh is definitely still usable. It just can’t be super stiff and has to be broken in a bit. Not the end of the world IMHO.

  • think maybe they are just trying to reduce specialization and make it more of a ground ball scenario?

  • I’d love to hear more from BOTH of you on why you think what you think. too many blanket statements being made and not getting backed up! haha.

  • if any good stringer can do it, what makes it stupid? It seems like they want to reduce channel pockets and pockets that are “just barely” legal. focus on skill over stringing a legal bag? I’m ok with it, I think.

  • well, first off, anyone other than a face off guy can still tape their stick.

    second, if your head flies off like that, you need to put a screw in your stick. If there isn’t a hole that lines up, you need to drill a new one.

    Screw your head on to your stick, make sure it’s tight.  Screw is loose? Get a bigger screw!

    Maintaining your equipment is your job, and just because you like to use tape, does not mean it needs to be legal. Sorry if that’s harsh, but it’s true.

    Also, there is an off chance that your coach could ask YOU to take a face off someday. Do you not want to be able to do it because you like to tape your head on?

    Just curious why you’re so PO’d about this rule?!?!?!

    As for the face offs, I’d love to hear why you think it will cause more brawls and chippy play!!! I didn’t make that connection at all.  Why???

  • harsh words!

    Think it’s possible they are trying to decrease specialization with the face off change? Just make it a GB and not a high skill thing?

  • I think the restart definitely does.

    As for the F/O issues, it seems like they want to decrease the role of FoGos on the field. Make it a GB and teams will just put their best players out there? Seems possible.

    As for the stick changes, it seems like they want to reduce channel pockets, low shooters, etc and this will put an greater impotence on skill rather than speed and a power cradle. I’m sure the great stringers out there will find a way around it though!

    Removing the horns, the shot clock on a stall and larger box all seem to promote transition opportunities and every team’s need for a guy who can go to the cage on command. Seems ok to me!

  • seems like they might be trying to reduce the value of a true fogo and turn it into a ground ball situation. Empahsis seems to be on two way middies.

    With the stick rule changes, it seems like they want less channel pockets that are just barely legal, and more wider pockets that place a premium on stick skills over a power cradle.

    The changes would be HUGE, but I don’t know that they are really all that bad!

  • As a stringer and player these rules are good and some bad. But the modified stick specifications is just something that messes around with the players. Lacrosse players should be able to have there sticks strung however they like as long as the ball can still be thrown out of the stick and the pocket isn’t illegal. Though it might be difficult for players I think the rule where the ball has to fall out on the back side of the head is one that should be applied.

  • “Lacrosse players should be able to have there sticks strung however they like as long as the ball can still be thrown out of the stick and the pocket isn’t illegal.”
    So other than changing the old definition of “illegal” how would this change at all?

  • I think i’ll have to see the 12 inches apart. You said it in a reply to another comment, it would cause more ground ball situations. I feel it would get chippy a little bit because if a kid is constantly getting beat he might start to just push the kid to the ground and no even worry about the ball or even slash them on there forearms.  

  • true, but then he SHOULD be called for a penalty. also, this happens already, especially when a team throws a pole up there who isn’t a skilled face off guy. It just becomes beat the ball carrier.

    If the ball comes out quickly from this new set up, I think we’ll see less chippy play, but if it stays in a scrum, I think we could see more. Most interested to see this new rule.

  • I think that the rules intended to increase the pace of play (namely the shot clock and faster restarts) are coming from the right place and worth serious consideration and possibly experimental implementation.

    On the other hand, however, I can also see this turning lacrosse in to something more akin to basketball – that is, individual scores could mean a lot less as there would be a lot more of them, but it could also be the final nail in the coffin of the takeaway defender. When you’re guaranteed to either be scored on or get the ball back within a certain amount of time, what is even the point of playing the most conservative of defensive styles?

    Stick rules – fine. If they can ever finally get sticks right, the shot clock may become unnecessary anyways.

    Removal of the horn – I don’t like this for a couple of reasons. One, I think it’s important to have the ability to substitute without penalty for fatigue reasons – even with the horn I’ve been in game situations where it was so up and down that it was impossible to get guys who were gassed off the field. 

    But more importantly I think it is an issue of depth. Sure, the teams coached by the committee all have 40+ players who can play, with the line between them very small. But I think most teams aren’t that lucky, especially those in developing areas. I’ve played full seasons of NCAA lacrosse where with injuries plus general lack of depth we could barely field two reasonable lines of offensive midfielders plus two or three D-mids. I think a lot of teams in developing areas, especially at the high school level are the same way – while it’s nice to think that this would mean a return to three or even four lines of midfielders running both ways, I’d say it’s more likely that you’ll see a fair number of teams running six guys into the ground all game.

    Faceoffs – I think the changes are terrible and of all these proposals this is the one I’d least like to see tried even experimentally. Faceoffs are one of the components that make lacrosse unique, and also a very skill-intensive part of the game. Trying to make them “like just another ground ball” dilutes what makes them so compelling by removing just about all the skill involved. I think the increased emphasis on calling withholding etc. this past year got rid off the 30-second plus scrums which some people didn’t like, I think face offs are perfectly fine as is.

  • As an official the three rules that I think have a legitimate shot at getting voted in are the shot clock, quick restart changes (so sick of watching goalies jog out of the crease to punish the offense), and the removal of the horn. While the other changes might also improve the game they come with a lot of “red tape” and are much harder to enforce consistently and thus I think will not be passed, but might come back in different forms in future years.

  • The issue with the motorcycle grip for me as an official is that it is too easy for the player to go under and then rake the ball back with their hand or grab the ball in another way. I also personally see the motorcycle grip being the primary cause of the long drawn out grinding faceoffs.

  • Call me crazy but I predict that we will see more traditional pockets if this rule change goes through

  • I like it! I think we could see it happen, IF all the stick rule changes go into effect. My traditional is still legal under the new potential rules!

  • solid argument right here! I can’t see all the rules being adopted either. Definitely think it will be only be a couple of them.

  • there goes years of perfecting the mortorcycle grip, goodbye dreams of being a college fogo

  • I can agree with some of these but the face-off rules and stick specifications is taking it way to far. the 5 second rule for the goalie is an awsome one for the offense if they can catch the Defense off guard. 

  • I’m glad to see that the NCAA is making real strides to fix the pace of the game.  I think we can all agree that the sport has slowed in recent years.  Overall, I think the recommended rules will speed up the game and have a positive impact on our sport.  I do worry however, that we’re asking too much of our referees and unnecessarily complicating things .  It is already difficult enough to officiate a lacrosse game, and I’m not so sure additional rules are the way to go.

    I would like to see all the counts and stall warnings abolished in favor of an “over and back rule” (like back court in basketball)  and a shot clock that starts once possession is gained.   This would without a doubt improve the pace of play while simultaneously making the game simpler to follow and simpler for the officials.  The exact time of the clock would have to be worked out, but I think the 60 second clock in the MLL is too short.  Maybe 75 seconds.  Thoughts?

  •  but with the 12 inch seperation it shouldnt be called a faceoff. the NCAA might as well give the ball to the team who got scored on! like a clearing situation and eliminate the faceoff. Faceoff is a key part to lacrosse and shouldnt be changed. with the fast breaks it adds excitement to the game

  • To me it just doesn’t seem right to propose changing this many things when lacrosse is growing as fast as it is. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    “Keep it in” is broke. Let’s see how their proposed shot clock works before taking out horns, micromanaging sticks and faceoffs, etc.

  • What’s wrong with specialization and faceoffs being a high skill thing?

    I like lacrosse because people of all athletic abilities and sizes can find a niche and hone their skills. FOGOs right meow are so interesting. Like a few people have said before, I’d put my biggest, strongest, hungriest Gber on the faceoff. Does it become a clash of the titans on the x? Then maybe fogos become specialized as the biggest guys around, as opposed to players of all sizes who dedicated themselves to a high skill/invaluable position.

    Can’t teach size, but you can learn skills. I look at it as a different sort of specialization. Just some thoughts.

  • Connor, Missed you up in Placid!  

    -Not a fan of the quick restart.  I get the reason behind it, but there has to be a better way of doing this.  I have played with a few goalies over the years that are hustlers and get a few bonus possessions for their teams by chasing a wide or high shot. With this new rule, you take that play out of an athletic goalie’s bag of tricks. 
    -Like the no more horn/wider sub box, interested to see how it works out. 
    -I think they should go easy on the face off changes, maybe just no moto-grip this time around and see how that changes the game.  If you move the guys back 12 inches, I think it is just gonna make it into a situation of 2 guys smashing into each other like a line of scrimmage.  I am a fan of the contact in lacrosse, but i think this is just going to lead to each teams biggest guy going head to head.
    Thoughts?

  • I think these changes would make a huge difference! I would love to see how the shot clock works out. The one change that I didn’t like out of that list was the change of moving 4 inches, to 12 inches on the faceoff. I think if that happened then all it would be is 2 guys smashing into eachother instead of a proper faceoff. If that rule did go through, then I think that the teams would end up putting their biggest guy out there, to smash through the opposing teams player and scoop the ball. These changes could change lacrosse forever!

  • After reading what everyone has to say about these rules, it seems like everyone agrees that the shot clock after restarts and faster restarts are good changes for the game of lacrosse. However, the proposed stick changes and changes on the faceoffs have rubbed everyone the wrong way.

    connorwilson, you seem to think that the faceoff changes and the new stick regulations can have only positive effects. I agree, the new stick regulations will improve stick skills but being able to string how we “the players” desire is a huge part of lacrosse! I mean you’re practically taking away our freedom.

    As for the faceoffs, turning it into a “groundball scuffle” will just be allowing the opputunity for the “bigger” player to dominate, where as the best faceoff guy I played in high school was 5’5 and every bit of 135lbs.

  • Could you possibly post a picture of the stick that you strung up? A few of my friends have been trying to string a stick where you can still get the ball out the back and have a semi low pocket and none of them have successful. They seem to have completely taken a low pocket out of the game unless you play with traditional. It seems very hard for me to see all these changes go through all at the same time but again I do not know who is on the next committee that has to vote. If there are only a few coaches on that next committee I doubt they can get enough votes to pass these rules. Get one coach that still strings sticks and understands that there wold be more effective ways of getting the ball out, shallower pockets, and they shouldnt pass this rule through. Do you know who is on this committee that votes next?

  • But players are going to get just as much hold just with a different way of stringing. Everyone will still be able to play with mark mathews stick, and he would run through some pretty heavy checks and not loose the ball.

  • The only rule that actually makes sense is the shot clock after a stall warning.  What the f**k is this s**t about stringing sticks?  It’s already illegal to play with the ball in the back of a stick and aside from a faceoff man nobody would attempt it.  Basically they are trying to change the sport of lacrosse into what would look to be an overly protected game of catch.

    And about you saying they are trying to focus on skill, by changing faceoff stuff they will be removing a special skill from the game.  By changing the stringing rules they will remove a unique specialization of skill that each player develops with their own stringing.  As for the moto grip you are trying to tell me that being able to slide one pinky on the head because of tape covering it will make that much of a difference?  I could rig a pair of gloves to allow my hand to come out of the glove without using moto grip that technically is not illegal.

  • YO, CONNOR!!!  Please respond, I’d like to know what you think.

    I can’t believe you, and everyone else, missed this critical point!

    I don’t see how taking away the horn substitutions speeds up the game. It actually would SLOW DOWN the game.  Why?  B/c sub on the fly is still allowed.  As long as you have that you will ALWAYS have coaches who will literally stop play when they get the ball and sub all their players out for their best offensive players.  This then lets the other team sub for their best defensive players. 

    Take basketball for example.  No one questions all the sub during dead ball situations.  But there is also no one stalling to wait for subs to come in while the ball is in play.  That is what keeps the game back and forth, the fact that the players must stay on the court while the ball is in play.  Subbing on the fly allows you to retain possession, while the ball is in play, and wait/stall for as long as you want.  If we want two-way middies, and keep stalling out of the game, and go away from specialization, take away subbing on the fly, and restrict when you can do horn subsitutions.  DUH.

    Taking away the horn substitution will only PUT GREATER EMPHASIS on the ability to sub on the fly.  Subbing during game play, not dead-ball situations, is what everyone is questioning. 

    FOGOs are not real lacrosse players.  And they are all cheats b/c every other FOGO is a cheat.  Especially when they all put their hands up on the plastic of the head.  It’s an incredibly huge advantage over somone who follows the rules.  I love this rule change.  EXCEPT IT’S REALLY NOT A RULE CHANGE!  It’s been in the rule book FOR YEARS!  It’s just that every FOGO cheated so no one stopped them.

  • or will it force them to take bad shots and allow the other team to get back in games? 30 seconds is a good chunk of time, but it’s tough to get a GREAT shot off in that amount of time consistently.

    And I’d rather see run up scores than 7-2 snoozefests!

  • I believe the fourth shooter on Matthews stick is too low, but your point is a good one… if guys have GREAT stick skills, they can still dodge through lots of people. The point is, I think, that too many non skilled players were able to do it and it took away from the game.

  • I actually like the face off as it is now. Just trying to show both sides. Personally, I don’t hate the fogo!

  • I doubt we will see ALL of these changes go into effect. My gut says only 2-4 will be used. Stall changes, horns, sideline expansion, maybe stick checks.

  • thanks for the GREAT comment!

    Unless there is ALWAYS a shot clock, which there won’t be, I don’t see lacrosse turning into basketball. Also, there are still steals in basketball, and they have a very short shot clock. Good defenders will be just as valuable as ever.

    With sticks with less hold, there should be more takeaways. It’s the hope at least.

    As for the horn, you can STILL sub whenever you want, you just have to do it on the fly. If your guys are tired, they need to be in better shape. It really is that simple for me. Getting gassed guys off the field is all about players knowing themselves, playing smart and good coaching.  I’ve coached a HS team with 12 guys and while they were gassed, we made it work.

    Subbing guys off an on so that they are always fresh is a luxury in my opinion. And one that was slowing the game down with constant personnel changes.

    If teams run 4-6 guys into the ground, that is their choice. The other option is to improve more players on the team and run more guys. Spread out the talent. We did it in high school, ran three lines, all on O and D, and some played more D than others, who played more O. Some lines took more face offs, others didn’t.  This seems like a coaching issue, not a player issue.

    And why shouldn’t teams with depth AND talent be rewarded? Isn’t that the point?

    College teams routinely run 20+ guys in a game, and I don’t see that changing much.  the good thing so far is that these are only proposed COLLEGE rules, and not HS rules.

    I would tend to agree on face offs. This proposed rule has not been experimented with nearly enough and could be dangerous.

  • the stick spec rules really aren’t that bad… http://laxallstars.com/the-lacrosse-show-proposed-ncaa-stick-stringing-rule-changes/

  • this is a very insightful comment. The burden with the stall count is SQUARELY placed on the refs’ shoulders, and I agree, it is hard enough already to manage a high level game.

    I think they can adjust to it, but consistency will always be an issue. I also think that the first couple of times it is used could result in some interesting moments.

    The concept of a constant shot clock is ok, but I’d prefer to see 90 seconds I think. Maybe even 2 minutes from change in possession. Is that crazy?

  • Missed you too. Schedule got weird, super bummed to miss it.

    I think the ATHLETIC goalie is still rewarded. Sure, they can’t try it every time, but sometimes they can, and it will be a HUGE game changing moment, like it used to be. The problem now is that too many goalies go out on EVERY shot to gain the 5 second reset. It was abused and needed to be stopped. Definitely slowed things down.

    Agree on the horn and box.

    With you on the face offs too. Seems kind of extreme and potentially dangerous. Agree it will be like two lineman smashing heads.

  • they didn’t get rid of low pockets.

    timer use is a little weird. Maybe they figured all the refs already own those timers and the tech exists already?

  • NONSENSE! I’ve strung up a bunch of sticks already that are college legal (under these new proposed rules) and you can still do a million different things. It’s really not that bad! http://laxallstars.com/the-lacrosse-show-proposed-ncaa-stick-stringing-rule-changes/

    As for my stance of face offs, I think you’re right. It could be dangerous and will take some of the skill out of that part of the game.

  • There is NO change proposed to the physical element of the game, so how is it a protected game of catch?

    The reason they do the ball in the BACK of the stick test is because tight pockets, with tight shooters keep the ball in INCREDIBLY well, and these are also often illegal under the new test.  It’s too keep guys from just swim dodging their way down the field even though they don’t have great stick skills.

    I think you’re right on the face offs though. the more I think about it, it removes a skill and could even be dangerous.

    You could not cut your gloves without them being illegal. Any cut on the glove makes them illegal.

    It is actually much easier to cheat on face offs and hand the ball when going regular grip. I’ll be posting more on this issue soon!

  • Hey Edward,
    You’re right that the on the fly subs won’t stop. But right now, the ball goes out of bounds, and the horn blows and Omids and Dmids come on for both teams and then play restarts and the ball is cleared.

    BUT, coaches could also put on new players to clear the ball and THEN once they clear it, sub on the fly and put in Omids.

    In the new scenario, the player must pick up the ball, clear it, and then sub off. It eliminates one point of time dedicated SOLELY to sub, keeps the game flowing a bit more and puts a focus on players who can play offense and defense.

    You could eliminate on the fly subs, and this might also speed up the game, and isn’t a bad idea, but I would rather see players sub on and off during play, as opposed to a stoppage in time.

    You make a good point that eliminating either could benefit the game, I just hate watching platoons of guys run off the field and nothing else is going on. I don’t mind the on the fly subs, and think it can create nice transition opportunities, mismatches and gamesmanship opportunities. Sideline horns do not allow for that as much.

    I think what people are bent out of shape over regarding face offs is the 12 inch apart proposed rule. That one seems like a MAJOR overhaul, no?

  • I think you’re missing my point.  Subbing on the fly is the problem.  Not the substitution horn.  As long as subbing on the fly is allowed you will ALWAYS have mass substitutions on EACH possession change.  Taking away the horn substitutions only puts a greater emphasis on using substitutions on the fly even more.

  • I get it… and I see what you’re saying. Subs will still take place and they will happen with one team in possession. There will still be mass subs. I agree!

    What I’m saying is that I like subs on the fly. The game keeps going and just because teams do NOT do anything during subbing (except just hold the ball!) doesn’t mean they can’t. I’d expect to see more subbing games, created transition, etc because of the on the fly subs.

    NOTHING exciting happens during a sideline horn. It’s not even possible. It stops the game, and allows special players to come on and off.

    I think eliminating on the fly subs would actually change the game TOO much, but I do agree with you that it could make a big difference. Maybe they’ll try that too, although I can’t see it happening.

  • Hey Connor, William from Southern Connecticut here.

    Just a few thoughts concerning the proposed rule changes.

    1. I am actually OK with the shot clock and prefer this over a set clock. While this may put more stress on the ref’s at first, I think it is a better option. After reading Mr Hind’s reasoning as for why they went to this instead of a set 90 second clock, I agree with him entirely. He said that the reason they chose this form of stall prevention is because they did not want to control how long an actual possession is for a team, no one was complaining about long possessions but rather the issue is about teams attacking the cage. With this rule, you can still have a long possession as long as you make a real effort to score a goal. I like it because it should eliminate stalls (see Maryland the last few years) but teams are still able to have the ability to attack the cage in their own way.

    2. Faceoff. This one is the “what the hell were you guys thinking” moment. They say they want to make it safer and more fair. They are not doing either of those things. What they should do is allow all players to grip the plastic to even the playing field. As a face off man myself, my solution to not being able to moto grip will be to go flip grip (reverse traditional.) Why? Because my faceoff move is to punch your head, grab the ball with my right hand, and throw it out forward to make it look like a lazer rake. I wear all white gloves, and use a white head, and white shaft, so the ref can not distinguish the difference between my hand and my stick. Yeah, you’re trying to remove the cheating, but that isn’t going to happen. People will still find ways to cheat. Moving F/O to 12″ apart will just result in my diving into my opponent (I’m the size of a college offensive lineman, so it will be just like hitting them right off the snap of the ball.) I don’t like that they are removing the grip but I don’t think the grip will make less cheating, I think it will do more because of 2 fingers etc.

    3. String rules/etc. I actually think the concept here is pretty misguided. Not because I am mad about it, but because the committee really thinks that the reason the ball doesn’t come out freely is because of the sticks and strings, and I am insulted that they don’t realize it is our skills that have improved over time.

    I’m not an NCAA D1 lacrosse player by any means. I have played for a long time, and I would say I have pretty good stick skills, but nothing like the world class stick skills the top level players have.

    That being said, I did an experiment this weekend. I took a NOS X (relatively wide college head) with monster mesh and used with no shooting strings, no extra sidewalls, etc. I played attack this past Sunday and scored 5 goals in a game using this stick. All of my goals were scored off of dodges, I walked the dog past my defender a few times after freezing him with a wind up, and was able to dance my way to the crease using this stick using other moves.

    Moral of my story? If I can use this stick requirement and still dangle, what makes you think that these elite skilled players won’t be able to? Any good lacrosse player worth his salt will be able to control the ball and dodge through traffic no matter the stick specifications, and these guys should feel insulted that the people making the rules would have the audacity to think that this is a result of their sticks and not their abilities. Changing them won’t speed up the game, and it certainly won’t bring us back to the 80’s style of lacrosse. Aside from the fact that these days the level of athleticism in the game is better than it has ever been, these young men have spent a good 15-20 years perfecting their ability to control a lacrosse ball, I think that any player with good stick skills will be able to run through traffic “invincible” with any stick you give him. Go ahead and change the strings, guys will just use bags or traditional. Take away the off set, guys will just start using flip grip shafts or Debeer Triax will see a big return. You already made the heads wider and honestly, that did nothing to dislodge the ball more easily, all it did was make me catch better. I say these things as someone who used an original excalibur, brine magic, and STX turbo in high school.

    My point here is, we will never go back to the old days where the game was just fast breaks, transition, and bang the ball around offense. The sticks aren’t the reason players have become so good, the thousands of hours spent perfecting stick skills are and the sooner the NCAA realizes this, the sooner we can stop trying to drastically change a game that everyone involved in enjoys.

  • Hey William! Great to hear from you as always!

    I think we’re in agreement with the stall rule. My main concern definitely stems from the use of the stall. Seems like all the refs have very different approaches. Makes me concerned that reffing will become more of a focal point, when I believe the goal is to not interfere in the game, just regulate it. Will we see activist refs? maybe that goes too far, but it’s my main concern right now.

    as for the face offs, I’m coming around to thinking the 12″ is crazy. And when I personally face off I cheat a lot, since I suck, and only use regular grip. I don’t even know how to cheat using Moto. Jerry Ragonese bangs that one out nicely here: http://laxallstars.com/a-third-opinion-on-the-proposed-face-off-changes/

    I’m not so sold that players are that much better. If Jimmy Lewis or Jim Brown had a modern stick they would have been capable of doing what the guys of today do with ease.

    In the end, I really think we’re in agreement on the stick thing though. Great players will STILL be able to dangle and be unreal players. But they could do that in Lewis’ time, Brown’s time and Jay Jalbert’s time. The difference is, MANY MORE players seem to be able to do it now.

    The question is, are players REALLY better? Or has technology made it easier?

    Stiffen up the testing standards for heads to be considered legal and we could find out!!! If guys are so much better today, they wouldn’t care about the proposed changes so much… but so many do care.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    As for your story on ripping it up with no shooters… maybe I’m on to something then? Have we just been holding ourselves back all these years? Is no shooter the future and the rules committee is helping us to get there? From your story, it seems possible! And it seems like that was some exciting lacrosse as well! So what’s the problem here?  Now I’m thinking maybe they should just outlaw shooters altogether! or limit you to one… crazy? perhaps… 

    I agree we won’t go back to “the good old days” but does that mean we shouldn’t look at other possibilities and paths?  Playing devil’s advocate here a bit, mostly because I find the topic of game play and legislation intriguing.

  •  I think the difference between now and then is that lacrosse has grown to the point of being a national sport. When Jim Brown played, it was a pretty niche sport and the same caliber of athletes weren’t playing the game. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people playing lacrosse who have been playing this style of lacrosse for 15 years, I don’t think they’re gonna be able to take that away.

    The game itself has changed over time as players realized they could do more. I think if Jim Brown and Lewis had the stick tech they could do what we do, but I think if you put Paul Rabil or Chazz Woodson back in time, they could still do what they do even with the sticks of that era. Yes, the stick tech may have been the reason players realized they could dodge through traffic, but I think the result was that coaches back then didn’t teach isolation offense, and now you’ll see a lot of it. Take away the stick tech and I think you will see the same level of skill. I think if you gave Paul Rabil, Kyle Harrison, or Steele Stanwick a few weeks to adjust to an onset head or a change in the shooters, they would be just as dominant as ever. I think these days that players are learning to combine their stick skills and athleticism in ways we have never seen before and the result is an overall raising in skill, making it harder for the D to take the ball away.

    Look at the NFL. 50 years ago, the skill and talent were not the same as now. As the sport grew and better athletes came along, the game got bigger, faster, stronger, and more skilled. As our sport grows and more people play, a bigger pool of talent is created and more and more people focus their entire lifetime to perfect a skill. Now I am not saying they didn’t do that back then, but the mindset in style was different. You go to Placid, ever watch the grand masters play? Those guys have great stick skills and years of experience, but their bodies can’t do the same things as the young NCAA guys, and they played a different style. And Jim Brown, even then, was able to dodge and run right through everyone. Didn’t they change the rules because of him, and people still found a way to get to where we are now. The difference now is every team has that type of athlete and can at any given moment run through everyone. As long as the sport continues to grow and NFL type athletes continue to join the ranks (Jr Seau’s son is just 1 example of a kid with NFL pedigree playing lax) you will continue to see this style of lacrosse and until you abolish dodging all together you won’t see the run and gun days of old.

    I guess what I am saying is, people will find a way to make their stick hold the way they want so they can dangle. In the old days the emphasis was not on handle but rather on transition and ball movement. Once players put the emphasis on how well they could hold the ball, it changed the game to what it is today and I don’t see it going back to what it once was any time soon.

  • This is a very well worded counter to my argument, and I don’t think we can be sure either will be the end result until we see all or some of these new rules in action.

    I can certainly nitpick your article (I don’t know of many college lacrosse players that remind me of Jim Brown!) but that would be pointless, as your overall argument is pretty stellar.

    For me, it comes down to keeping technology and advances in the game in check, but only when they need to be. I *think* these rule proposals could help (except for some of the face off ideas), and my guess is we will only see 2 or 3 of them actually used.

  •  This is true, I’m not saying any old college laxer is Jim Brown, I just mean to say that there are more star athletes who have spent their entire life working their craft than there were back then, which is why so many more guys can do it these days.

    We won’t know until they make the changes. Everyone in 2010 thought the new head rule was just a gimmick by the companies to sell more heads, and that it would be the end of lacrosse as we know it, but here we are. Not much changed, the ball doesn’t dislodge. I just think that several of the changes will be made in vain because the guys who make these decisions are fond of the game as it once was. I think the face-offs are ridiculous. Faceoffs are like holding in the NFL. It happens every play but it is only called when it is blatantly giving one team an advantage. Rather than try to change the concept, even the playing field by letting all face off men grab the plastic and use moto-grip.

    And if the whole thing is so flawed, why hasn’t the federation changed their rules?

  • A lot of good points here… I’m sorry if someone already pointed it out, but some of these changes are the rules that’s being use at International level. Such as removing the 5 seconds at restart for goalie, or removing the horn for substitution. I understand that the FIL gave flexibility for each countries lacrosse governing body (in this case USlacrosse and NCAA) with the competition rules/ by-laws. And I think it’s great that they’re trying to change the rules so it’s closest to what the world governing body (FIL) competition rules are.

  • The reason I say protected game of catch is because people won’t be able to swim down the field like you said.  The rules would stop a lot of hard bull dodging and turn more to just keep passing until someone is open.  People could also just use 20mm mesh to form a channel with just as much hold, but because of the softness of it the ball would fall out.

  • But there is nothing wrong with substitutions during dead ball situations.  It’s a dead ball.  The game is not being played at that moment.  There is no game-play to slow down.  The clock is not running.  Every other sport allows subs during dead ball situations.  

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