The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved in its July conference call a new rule in women’s lacrosse that allows players on the defensive team to move through any portion of their goal circle when their team is not in possession of the ball. The new rule will be effective for the 2013-14 academic year.

Previously, only the goalkeeper was allowed to be in the defensive goal circle, with the exception of a player entering the crease after the goalkeeper had moved outside the circle.

Under the new rule, only the defender marking the player with the ball within a stick’s length can remain in the goal circle. Once the ball is in the goal circle, only the goalkeeper and the defensive player marking the player with the ball may be in the goal circle to play the ball.

The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee experimented with a modified version of this rule during the fall of 2012. Membership feedback indicated positive support for the change.

Stick Checks

Panel members also approved a rules change that allows coaches three stick check requests during a game, including overtime, and eliminates mandatory stick checks by officials.

Coaches may request stick checks after a goal is scored or during any stoppage of play.

Included in this proposed rule change are the following procedures:

• After a goal, the player who scored may not touch the strings of her crosse and must immediately drop her stick or hand it to the nearest official.

• The official will take possession of the stick and may perform a discretionary stick check or allow reasonable time for the opposing team to request a stick check before returning the stick.

If the opposing coach requests a stick check after a goal, the official will inspect the pocket of the scoring player’s crosse. If the stick is found to be illegal, the goal will not count and the opposing team will be awarded possession at the center circle; the opposing coach will not be charged with a stick check request.

If a player doesn’t drop her stick after a scoring play, the goal is disallowed and possession is awarded to the other team at the center circle.

Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee members feel that this rule allows coaches more control over when stick checks occur.

Previously, officials were required to conduct two mandatory stick checks per half per team. These stick checks could occur at any time during the course of a game.

Major Foul on Goal Scorers

The panel approved a rules change that a major foul committed on the scorer during or after a shot will result in possession awarded at the center circle.

The goal will stand, and the penalty is a free possession at the center circle.


Another new rules change for next season is that each team will be allowed three timeouts during regulation time. Teams will be awarded one timeout in overtime.

Table personnel will be allowed to sound a horn when a team is requesting any possession timeout. The committee received several requests that an additional timeout be added.

Previously, teams were allowed two timeouts and table personnel could only sound the horn on dead-ball requests.