NCAA Rules Committee Proposes Shot Clock After Stall Warnings
Also major faceoff, substitution changes; recommendations voted on next month
|The NCAA men's rules committee
has proposed a 30-second shot clock after a stall warning, among
other changes for the 2013 men's lacrosse season.
© Brian Schneide
The NCAA men's lacrosse rules committee has spoken. The game is too slow.
Looking to increase the pace of play in the sport, the committee has recommended a 30-second countdown for teams to take a shot after the referee has issued a stall warning, and major changes regarding faceoffs and substitutions.
All rules recommendations by the committee, which met this Monday through Thursday in Indianapolis, must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to meet via conference call in September. If approved, the change would be effective for the 2013 season.
Shot Clock After Stall Warnings
Under the proposal, when a team is given a stall warning, a shot must be taken within 30 seconds. The count will be administered by the on-field officials and there will not be a visible clock. A valid shot is defined as an attempt to score that is on goal (e.g., saved by the goalkeeper, hits the goal cage, goal scored). If the 30 seconds expires without a shot on goal, the ball will be awarded to the defensive team. The “get it in, keep it in” call has been removed.
The protocol referees will follow is below:
- Officials signal a stall warning and start the 20-second timer.
- 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.
- 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 shall communicate the amount of time remaining on the restart.
- 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 committee also clarified that it is the responsibility of the team in possession to try to create a scoring opportunity. There are exceptions to this requirement: If the offensive team has the ball in the attack area and the defensive team is not playing the ball, a stall warning will not be issued until either (1) the defensive team attempts to play the ball or (2) the offensive team brings the ball outside the attack area.
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.
The committee had several lengthy discussions regarding pace of play, which included adding a shot clock.
“We did put in some components of counting, but did not feel a mandated count on each possession was in the best interest of the college game,” said Jon Hind, chair of the committee and athletics director at Hamilton. “By creating this procedure, it puts a timing component into the game, but only when it is necessary.”
The committee also is proposing changes to the stick specifications that states any additional strings or laces (e.g., shooting strings) must be located within 3½ inches from the top of the crosse, restricting the use of shooting strings or laces to create a U- or V-shaped pocket on sticks. Also, no more than one sidewall string on each side of the crosse will be allowed.
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 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 non-releasable foul will be enforced. The crosse won’t be used during play and will be kept at the scorer’s table until the conclusion of the game.
The committee felt players are currently able to maintain possession of the ball too easily despite being pressured by the defense.
“Players are going through the opposition and almost look invincible when carrying the ball,” Hind said. “There is a safety component to this, because it can lead to more physical play to dislodge the ball. It’s not that we don’t want a player to carry the ball, but we want him to move the ball too. We believe these changes will help dislodge the ball more appropriately, which will have a direct impact on pace of play.”
Another proposed change focuses on quicker restarts.
Officials are instructed to restart play quickly. If an opposing player is within five yards of the player that has been awarded the ball, the official will blow the whistle to start play. The opposing player is not allowed to defend the ball until he reaches a distance of five yards from the opponent. A violation will be a flag down for delay of game.
Officials are also instructed to get the ball in play quickly and not be as deliberate with the exact location of the violation. An unfair distance advantage gained by the team with the ball must occur to delay the restart.
“In looking at how we restart play currently we believe there is too much dead time and unneeded delay,” Hind said. “This is another way to keep the game moving.”
Additionally, the goalkeeper is no longer given a five-second grace period to return to the crease regardless of where the ball is restarted.
“We wanted to eliminate the grace period so the quick restart rule is consistent all over the field,” Hind said.
There is an exception to the quick restart rule when the offensive team is awarded the ball in the attack area. In these instances, play will be restarted anywhere outside of the attack area. The offensive team is responsible for moving the ball outside of the attack area for the restart.
The committee also made several recommendations in regards to faceoffs:
- Players taking the faceoff are not allowed to use a motorcycle grip any longer.
- After two pre-whistle violations in one half by a team, subsequent violations result in a 30-second technical penalty.
- When a violation occurs, the faceoff player is no longer required to leave the field.
- During penalty situations, there must be four players in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area. Exception: When a team has three or more players in the penalty area, a player may come out of its defensive area to take the faceoff.
- Tape may not be added to the throat of the crosse of the player taking a faceoff.
Also, as a point of emphasis officials are to enforce the rule that says players must keep their hands off of the plastic of the crosse. Players can gain an unfair advantage to gain possession of the ball if this is not called.
Finally, the committee considered moving the faceoff players from four inches to 12 inches apart. The committee ultimately decided, however, to experiment with this procedure this fall to see what the impact would be.
“The proposed changes to the faceoff are intended to enhance the procedure,” Hind said. “There was some support for moving the players further apart, but it hasn’t been used anywhere, so we’d like to have teams use it in the fall first.”
- Most substitutions will now be made on the fly. The horn signaling substitutions will no longer exist in the game. Additionally, the committee voted to expand the substitution box from 10 to 20 yards. The dimension of the team bench area remains the same.
- A minimum of six balls and a maximum of 10 balls must be available at each end line and sideline. The number of balls in each area is to be equal in each area. On the bench side, balls should be placed at the scorer’s table and outside each bench area. These balls shall be replenished by the home team and game management staff. This will assist with the pace of play and faster restarts.
- If the ball returns to the defensive half of the field and the offensive team regains possession, officials shall start the 30-second shot procedure.
- Points of emphasis focused on unsportsmanlike conduct/sideline behavior; the cross-check hold; and faceoff players touching the crosse with their hands.
The recommendations come after growing criticism of the pace of play of the sport and concern from the coaching body. In a coaches' survey commissioned by the NCAA men's rules committee that was made available earlier this week, nearly 40 percent of Division I, II and III coaches said pace of play was the aspect of the game that needed the most improvement, although the results indicated varying opinions on how to do it.
The men's rules committee includes nine members, including a nonvoting secretary-rules editor: Hind (chair), North Carolina coach Joe Breschi, Army athletic director Boo Corrigan, Mount St. Mary's associate AD Mike Hardisky, Vermont coach Ryan Curtis, C.W. Post coach John Jez, Washington and Lee coach Gene McCabe, University of New England coach John Hunt and UMBC coach Don Zimmerman (nonvoting secretary-rules editor). Four voting members represent Division I, one is from Division II and three are from Division III.
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