Aug. 5, 2010

By Ty Halpin

The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee is proposing a single 30-second count once teams gain possession to advance the ball into the attack area.

Meeting Monday through Wednesday, the committee recommended the single count to simplify the number of time requirements (counts) that officials use during a game and enhance the flow of the game.

Previously, teams had 20 seconds to advance the ball to the midfield line and then 10 seconds to reach the attack area. Once entering the attack area, teams had to re-establish possession in the attack area every 10 seconds. That requirement would be eliminated if the proposal is approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

“The committee felt it was important to simplify the counts in the game as a way to improve the flow of play,” said Brian Voelker, chair of the committee and coach at Drexel. “By moving to one count, we will eliminate the constant need to step into the attack area and instead allow teams to fully concentrate on running their offense. We believe we have accomplished this without drastically changing our game.”

The committee also voted to add a mechanic for officials to better implement a stall warning when the ball is outside the attack area.

Officials may now signal and vocalize “get it in” when the ball is outside of the attack area and the offense is not making an effort to attack the goal. Previously, only the “keep it in” signal was in place, which required the team to be in the attack area.

In other action, the committee addressed concerns about faceoffs with a series of recommendations, among which concern the illegal use of hands.

To get the ball in play faster, the committee approved a proposal dealing with clamping the ball or stick. Players who clamp the ball will be required to get the ball in play quickly.

Additionally, pinning or holding the opponent’s cross in any manner will be penalized with a technical foul. The other team will be awarded possession of the ball.

Finally, the committee added the “set” call to the officials’ mechanics to eliminate “rolling starts.”

“The committee was challenged to clean up this phase of the game without changing the nature of the faceoff,” said Voelker. “The feedback the committee received indicated the need to limit illegal actions, to get the ball in play quickly and to eliminate the rolling start.”

Contact With The Head

Members also addressed student-athlete safety, a continued point of concern for all playing rules committees. The committee proposed a separate rule dealing with targeting the head and neck. The penalty for a violation of this rule will be a one-, two- or three-minute non-releasable penalty.

“While we have had rules in the past to cover head and neck contact, the committee felt it was important to separate this rule to emphasize the safety of our student-athletes,” Voelker said.

The committee’s proposals will be sent to the membership for comment and be reviewed by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to meet via conference call September 8.