In an effort to minimize the risk of injury, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee recommended six rules changes, including only allowing the goalkeeper to be located in the crease.
All 2017 boys lacrosse rules changes recommended by the committee at its July 18-20 meeting in Indianapolis were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
With the addition of Article 4 to Rule 4-18, no defensive player, other than a properly equipped goalkeeper, can enter his own crease with the intent of blocking a shot or acting as a goalkeeper. If another defensive player enters the crease, officials will stop play as soon as they notice the situation; however, if a shot is already in flight when this is noticed, the shot will be allowed to come to its normal conclusion before the whistle blows to stop the play.
In another change directed at risk minimization, the failure of a player to wear the required mouthpiece now will be a technical foul (30-second penalty or change of possession) rather than a non-releasable foul.
“The hope with this rule change is better enforcement of proper mouthpiece usage, and to reduce the risk of injury,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and staff liaison for boys lacrosse.
The rules committee also made a change in Rule 6-10-3 regarding play in the last two minutes of a contest. Stalling rules now are in effect in the last two minutes only if the score differential is four goals or less.
Weaver said the previous “automatic stall warning” in the last two minutes created a dangerous situation in that a team that was essentially out of the game was given more opportunity to “punish” the team that was ahead since that team was forced to “keep it in.”
Since ground anchors are not typically used on grass fields, the committee altered Rule 1-3-2a to allow, but not require, the use of ground anchors if a flat-iron goal is used on a grass field.
Rule 4-3-3 previously called for tape to be applied to the handle of the crosse for any player taking a faceoff. With new handle materials now available that are more durable than tape, the committee revised the rule to allow for use of new materials.
The final rules change addresses faceoffs. Previously, if a player or team committed a foul before or during any faceoff, the ball was awarded to the offended team in its offensive side of the field at the center. The rules committee removed “or during” from Rule 4-3-1 (Exception 2) in order to be consistent with Rule 4-4-2, which calls for a restart from “the spot where the ball was when play was suspended.”
A complete listing of the boys lacrosse rules changes will be available later this week on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Lacrosse-Boys.”
According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 109,522 boys participating in lacrosse in 2,752 high schools across the country.