The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee recommended that three-second violations return to being major fouls for the 2017 season, while tweaking how the penalty is administered – the free position for a three-second violation will be administered at the spot of the ball.  If the three-second call is made while the ball is in the 8-meter arc, an 8-meter free position will be administered.

This change is being proposed by the committee, which met last week in Indianapolis, due to unintended consequences following a rules change before the 2016 season.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss women’s lacrosse proposals during a July 20 teleconference.

Last year, the committee voted to change three-second violations to a minor foul. Committee members felt the call was made fewer times due to the rules change, and it led to more players being in the shooting space.

“What we’ve done with this rule is create more of a hybrid model,” said Julie Myers, committee chair and lacrosse coach at the University of Virginia. “We think the three-second foul is an important one to call from a safety point of view. It will keep people out of shooting space and keep people safer.  It was a big sticking point for our officials last season, since they couldn’t flag it last year.”

8-meter free position experimental rule

Committee members have recommended an experimental rule in which players will not only clear the 8-meter arc, but all players outside of the 8-meter arc and within the critical scoring area (including below goal line extended) will have to clear the space. They will have to move outside of the extended hash marks of the 8-meter arc relative to their position.

Essentially, the rule creates imaginary lines that run from the ends of the 8-meter arc to the extended hash marks to the dots and then continue to the end line. Players will have to clear to space outside of those lines when an 8-meter free position is administered.

The committee wants to gather feedback to see if coaches feel the experimental rule can lead to fewer shooting space fouls during 8-meter free position shots.

“Defenders will have to start out wider,” Myers said. “We want to clear the space so the shooter has an area to run in. This should give the attacker more time to create offense since the defender won’t have as much time to pressure the ball.”