The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee has proposed eliminating the motorcycle grip and having both players start faceoffs with only their feet, gloves and sticks touching the ground beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.
Before a final decision is made, in accordance with the NCAA playing rules change process, the committee will seek additional feedback from the membership during a two-week comment period. Then the committee’s final recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss men’s lacrosse rules proposals July 22.
Currently, players can start a faceoff on one knee and also can use a motorcycle grip, in which the stick is held with both palms down. Members of the committee, which met by videoconference for four days last week, felt this leads to clamping of the ball and long stalemates.
If the changes are approved, committee members think this area of the game will be cleaned up, and players would have to move the ball in a continuous motion. If the ball is withheld in a player’s stick, a violation would be called, and the opposing team would be awarded possession of the ball.
The committee also proposed that if a team is called for three faceoff violations in a half, the player committing the penalty on all subsequent violations must serve the 30-second penalty.
“Our process was tremendous,” said Rob Randall, committee chair and head coach at Nazareth. “We talked about a lot of different things over the course of four days. We felt comfortable as a group that these were changes that will make the game better on behalf of the officials, coaches, spectators and, most importantly, the players.”
The committee recommended making the goal-mouth area restricted for offensive players. If an offensive player jumps, dives, falls or runs into the goal-mouth area and scores, the goal would not count.
If an offensive player initiates deliberate contact with the goalkeeper, the official can call a one-minute penalty.
If an offensive player enters the goal-mouth area due to contact with a defender, any goal scored would be taken away, but the defender could be called for a penalty.
“We had great deliberations about the dive, and a lot of good opinions were shared,” Randall said. “We think that we’ve taken major steps to clean the play around the crease up. Hopefully, this will make it a better play moving forward.”