The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee has recommended both a visible 60-second shot clock on every possession and rules changes to allow offenses more flexibility around the crease beginning with the 2019 regular season.
If approved next month by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Committee, the shot clock will follow a 20-second clearing count, during which players must advance the ball across the midfield line with the over-and-back provision in effect.
The committee, which met this week in Indianapolis, made the proposal after several years of experimentation and discussion. In the annual rules survey, 62 percent of coaches indicated support for a shot clock on every possession, including 71 percent of Division I coaches.
“It was clear to the committee that the majority of the lacrosse community felt strongly that a shot clock was needed to properly manage today’s game,” said Rob Randall, chair of the committee and head coach at Nazareth. “In our discussions, we debated many different options and reviewed the experiments that took place in the fall. Ultimately, we believe our proposal will continue the evolution of our sport.”
All of the committee’s proposals will be distributed to the NCAA membership to collect feedback. The committee will view the comments and move its final proposals to PROP for review Sept. 12.
Under the proposal, a team will have 20 seconds to cross the midfield line when it gains possession in its defensive half of the field. If a team fails to clear the defensive half of the field, the ball is awarded to the opposing team. The referees will keep this time on the field, as they do currently.
After advancing the ball to the offensive half the visible 60-second shot clock will start. If the offensive team regains possession after satisfying the shot clock, such as with a save, rebound off goal, etc., the shot clock will reset to 60 seconds. If no shot is taken in the 60 seconds, the defending team will be awarded possession.
“A key part of this situation is resetting the shot clock,” said Willie Scroggs, secretary-rules editor. “This proposal achieves the committee’s goals and will be easy to understand for student-athletes, coaches and fans.”
To address plays after a faceoff, the committee identified several situations and rulings:
- The player gaining possession during the faceoff may carry or pass the ball from the offensive half of the field to its defensive half of the field once without over-and-back being in effect. However, the ball must be advanced to the offensive half within the 20-second clearing count.
- In addition, when the player gaining possession during the faceoff in his offensive half advances the ball past his offensive restraining line, the 60-second shot clock will start.
- If the player gaining possession during the faceoff in his offensive end passes the ball to a teammate in the offensive half of the field, the 60-second shot clock will start.
Play Around the Crease
The committee adjusted its rules governing plays around the crease. In its proposal, if a player leaves his feet under his own volition in a direction away from the goal mouth and the ball enters the goal before he touches the crease, the goal will count. Additionally, a player that dives in the direction of the goal mouth will receive a one-minute penalty.
"Again, the membership was strongly supportive of finding ways to reward some extremely athletic moves around the goal,” Randall said. “The committee believes it has achieved this, while continuing to protect the players.”
The committee identified sportsmanship as a point of emphasis for the upcoming season, paying particular attention to teams crossing at the end of the game and establishing a neutral area at midfield for pregame warmups.
The committee proposed reducing the substitution box to 10 yards. That area is currently 20 yards. The committee believes the change potentially will allow more transition opportunities to occur.
Video replay review
With the new shot clock procedure, the committee recommended making the release of a shot before the expiration of the shot clock a reviewable play with video replay during the NCAA Division I championship. That provision currently applies to the game clock at the end of each quarter. The committee also will survey conferences regarding the potential use of video replay during conference competitions.