NCAA Lacrosse Shot Clock Drama: Sankey Invites Further Criticism

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

During UNC-Hopkins on Saturday, Joey Sankey held the ball behind the cage for over two minutes. The move did not result in a stalling call, causing a small uproar in the lacrosse world over a future rule change, but according to the rulebook, the referees did have the discretion to make the timer-on call.

The 30-second timer-on rule which has been the topic of much conversation this year, got a little more controversial this weekend.

According to the NCAA rulebook, the offensive team must try and create a scoring opportunity. However, the shot clock will not be engaged if the defensive team does not play the ball but will turn on once the defensive team attempts to play the ball or the offensive team brings the ball outside of the attack area. The rulebook continues on to say this:

"However, a stall warning may be issued when the offensive team has the ball outside the attack area or below the goal line extended regardless of whether the defensive team is playing the ball."

- 2013-14 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rulebook

Now take a look at this video from Saturday:

Clearly Hopkins was not playing the ball, but as stated earlier, the referees do have the option to call a stall when the offensive player is behind the net, regardless of whether the defensive team is playing the ball. The rule emphasizes the importance of the defensive team being active and aggressive, but technically the option to turn the timer-on is there in this scenario.

While this hasn't been a problem for the Orange this year due to a lack of possessions and consistent deficits, we could see it against Binghamton if the game is a runaway for Syracuse. The referees have a lot discretion when it comes to stalls, and the complaints have been loud and numerous from both fans and coaches alike. The conversation should heat up over the summer, and it would not be out of the question for college lacrosse to see another rule change in this area soon.

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