Rules changes approved by NCAA panel

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Friday approved rules changes in men's lacrosse, including the establishment of a 30-second shot clock that replaces the stall warning.

Membership feedback on the proposal was positive, but the Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee and Playing Rules Oversight Panel both received questions about the use of a visible shot clock in addition to the committee's proposed procedure, which uses the game officials to manage the count.

The panel referred this request to the rules committee for further discussion; therefore, a visible shot clock will not be used next season.

In the new procedure, when a team is given a stall warning, a shot must be taken within 30 seconds. A valid shot is defined as an attempt to score that is on goal (for example, one that is saved by the goalkeeper, hits the goal cage or is a goal). If the 30 seconds expires without a shot on goal, the ball will be awarded to the defensive team.

The rule forcing a team, once a stall warning has been issued, to keep the ball in the restraining box or lose possession is eliminated.

Here is the protocol referees will follow:

1. Officials signal a stall warning and start the 20-second timer.

2. At the end of the 20-second timer, a 10-second hand count is administered by the official closest to the ball. 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 will be handled in this manner:

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

• If the timer expires before the restart, a 10-second count will be administered beginning on the restart.

• 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 eight seconds remaining on the count, that count continues on the restart. The official will communicate the amount of time remaining on the restart.

Other important facets of the new rule:

• A shot that hits the goal cage or is saved by the goalkeeper and then possessed by the offensive team nullifies the stall warning and the game continues.

• In a flag-down situation, the shot count will continue until it expires or a shot is taken.

• Stalling will not be called during a man advantage.

• If a shot hits a defensive team player other than the goalkeeper, it will not be considered a shot on goal.

The panel also approved a rule regarding shooting strings. Starting next season, players will be allowed to have shooting strings up to but not touching four inches from the top of the crosse. To ensure that all sticks meet these specifications, the following three field tests will be performed by the officials:

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

• 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.

• 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.

If the stick fails any of these tests, it is an illegal crosse and a one-minute nonreleasable foul will be enforced. The crosse won't be used during play and will be kept at the scorer's table until the end of the game.

The rules committee thought players currently are able to maintain possession of the ball too easily despite being pressured by the defense.

Women's change

Beginning with the 2014 season, the ball in women's lacrosse must meet the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment lacrosse ball standard.

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