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Greg Johnson | | July 16, 2015

Women’s lacrosse will have a 90-second possession clock

A visible 90-second possession clock is coming to NCAA women’s lacrosse competition.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday approved adding a possession clock in the sport by the 2017 season in Division I, and by 2018 in Divisions II and III.

Delaying the implementation of the possession clock is warranted because it provides schools time to budget for any financial implications. The Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee is recommending using two clocks, one on each end of the field. However, one clock located at the scorer’s table will also be allowed.

Under the 90-second possession clock rule, the offensive team must register a shot within that window or the opposition will be awarded the ball at its location on the field when time expired.

The clock will be reset on a shot that is deflected by the goalkeeper or on a shot that hits the piping on the goal. The clock will also reset on all changes of possession and when any card has been issued to the team without possession.

The possession clock will keep counting down toward zero on shots that go wide or high of the goal.

The rules committee hopes the new rule limits the abuse of clock management and increases the pace of play.


The panel approved allowing players to do self-restarts following minor or major foul calls outside of the critical scoring area (defined as inside the 12-meter arc and the corresponding area behind the goal), beginning with the 2016 season. Players would still have the option of waiting for the penalty to be administered.

Players called for major fouls must stand at least 4 meters behind the player with the ball on a restart, and players called for minor fouls must stand at least 4 meters to the side of the player with the ball on restarts.

As with the possession clock rule, the committee believes giving players the option of restarting play quickly can speed up the pace of play.

Stick checks

Officials will conduct stick checks of every goal-scoring stick following each goal scored, beginning next season. The rule is currently used in international play.

There will also be more extensive stick checks before the start of the game, with officials examining more than just the pocket depth.

Coaches will maintain their three stick-check requests and will be allowed to use them before any faceoff, during timeouts, at halftime and before the start of any overtime periods.

If a player is found to be using a stick that doesn’t meet the specifications, that player will be given a yellow card and must serve a two-minute, non-releasable penalty.

Alternating possession

Starting next season, there will no longer be throw-ins following an offsetting foul call. Instead, an alternating possession rule will cover those scenarios. The first possession arrow will be determined at the coin toss, when the winning captains choose direction or possession.

Overtime change

In the event a game goes to overtime in 2016, teams will use a sudden-victory format and change ends every three minutes.

Previously, the team that scored the most goals in two three-minute periods won the match.

Three-second violation change

Starting in 2016, three-second violations will be considered a minor foul.

If a defender is inside the 8-meter arc and not guarding anyone for three seconds, the offensive team is given possession of the ball at the 12-meter arc, where it can initiate an indirect play (pass to a teammate) on goal.


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