September 13, 2012

Men's Rules Committee Reverses Decision on Motorcycle Grip

Modified shot clock remains, but additional tweaks to proposed rules also made

by Matt Forman and Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

The NCAA men's rules committee has reversed its decision proposing that the motorcyle grip be outlawed beginning with the 2013 season.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

The faceoff specialists have won.

The NCAA on Thursday announced a proposed rules change that would have banned the use of the motorcycle grip on faceoffs in men's lacrosse starting with the 2012-13 season has been reversed.

After reviewing a flood of membership feedback, the NCAA men's lacrosse rules committee retracted a decision made at its August meeting and has decided to allow players to use the grip on faceoffs.

That action and others will be forwarded to the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) for review and voting on Sept. 21, as first reported by Lacrosse Magazine on Sunday.

Richie Meade, president of the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) and head coach at Furman, told Lacrosse Magazine the committee's finalized proposals are "usually a rubber stamp," meaning they are rarely overturned by the oversight panel. But in an email NCAA associate director of playing rules administration Ty Halpin said, "PROP has, from time to time, tabled this decision if there's a number of questions raised in the discussion on the rule change."

The committee had voted to eliminate the motorcycle grip due to a concern that this approach to the faceoff seemed to allow some players to use unfair tactics and gain an advantage. But after hearing numerous comments from players, coaches and interested parties, the committee reconvened on Monday, as reported by Lacrosse Magazine, and voted to allow this style. They also approved a point of emphasis to focus on illegal tactics, particularly touching the opponent's crosse with any part of the body.

An online petition started by an incoming freshman for a Division II program after the proposed rules were announced Aug. 3 had generated more than 1,000 signatures and passionate feedback (PDF).

"Many of our coaches voiced concern that removing this grip would basically eliminate some student-athletes from the game," said Jon Hind, chair of the committee and athletics director at Hamilton. "Ultimately, we are trying to have fair faceoffs, and with the point of emphasis, we think that will help. This is an example of the rules process working, and we appreciate the membership feedback."

The committee also clarified that tape of a contrasting color must be placed on the handle just below the throat of the crosse of the players taking the faceoff to assist officials.

A proposal to experiment in fall practices with moving the faceoff players farther apart also was rescinded. While the committee continues to be interested in experimenting with this aspect of the faceoff, there was some concern this experiment might have had an unintended result.

The proposal regarding shooting strings also was adjusted slightly after further research. The committee extended the allowable area to have shooting strings up to but not touching 4 inches from the top of the crosse. The initial proposal called for a 3 ½-inch limit.

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"The committee members had their teams string their sticks and found that 3 ½ inches could cause some issues, especially with the enforcement of the standard," Hind said. "Adding a little more room achieves the goal without unduly penalizing some sticks."

The committee also discussed and clarified the proposed penalty enhancements relating to repeated faceoff violations.

First, the committee noted the new rule calling for a penalty after two violations on the same team per half applies to both pre- and post-whistle faceoff violations.

Second, the committee clarified on the third and any subsequent violation, the in-home would be the player to serve the penalty. Finally, violations by the wing players before or during the faceoff will count toward the three per half.

Perhaps the largest change the committee made — adding a shot clock procedure when a team is warned for stalling — earned the most membership support.

The committee clarified procedures related to calling team timeouts. If the offensive team calls a timeout when the shot clock is engaged, the team will be granted the timeout. If there are more than 10 seconds remaining in the count, the shot clock will be moved to 10 seconds on the restart. If there are fewer than than 10 seconds, the count will continue from the point where it was stopped at the timeout.

If the defensive team calls timeout, the shot clock will be reset to 30 seconds on the restart.

The committee clarified wording for its rule relating to contact to the head, removing any reference to a deliberate action being required for this foul to be enforced.

"Without question, we are concerned about the safety of our student-athletes," Hind said. "We have taken a strong stance on this rule, but felt we needed to remove the word 'deliberate' from this rule to be as clear as we possibly can."

Finally, the committee's points of emphasis for the 2013 season are:

  • Touching either crosse on faceoffs
  • Illegal tactics when defending (for example, cross-check/hold)
  • Sideline behavior

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