The NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee met this week in Indianapolis to discuss possible rule changes. While the committee recommends rule changes, the proposed rules must still be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to meet on September 10.
While widely anticipated, the most significant recommendation by the committee surrounds the use of a visual shot clock. This past season, the shot clock debate once again erupted in full force, primarily due to the subjective use of the new stall warning rules.
The committee has recommended that a visual shot clock be used to countdown 30 second stalling calls. The change would be put in place for the upcoming season but all Division I programs would have until 2016 to install two clocks. Although the committee did consider using a shot clock for every possession, it ultimately did not recommend such a change.
Therefore, while it now should be easier for everyone to know how much time remains on a timer-on call, the debate over an MLL style shot clock on every possession and issues over the subjective nature of the timer-on call will still rage on.
The committee also recommended tweaking the face-off rules. Under the new recommendations, a face-off violation would occur if a player picks up or carries the ball in the back of his stick. The ball may still be clamped with the back of the stick, but must be picked up in the front of the stick.
In addition, a face-off violation would result if a player uses a body part to initiate contact with an opposing player's stick during a face-off. Thus any face-off man who put their shoulder or forearm or any other body part into their opponent's stick would be charged with a violation.
The committee also recommended several other changes. The committee recommended allowing goals and stall procedures to be satisfied on the release of the ball instead of the ball passing the plane of the goal line. This would mean that on a timer-on call, so long as the player shot the ball prior to the timer expiring, a subsequent goal on that shot would count even if the timer expired before the ball passed the plane of the goal line. It appears that this rule would also allow goals to count at the expiration of regulation so long as the shot was released prior to the expiration of time.
The recommendations also included allowing a goal that is scored by a player who enters the crease so long as the player released the ball before landing in the crease and the player's feet were grounded.
Also on the subject of stalling, the committee recommended that instead of a stalling call being initiated, a turnover should result when a team that clears the ball returns the ball to the defensive half of the field so long as the offensive team remains in possession.
All of the rule changes can be found in the NCAA press release.