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Greg Johnson | | June 11, 2019

Modification to stick checks proposed in women’s lacrosse

The top plays from the 2019 women's lacrosse tournament

The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee has proposed changes to pregame and in-game stick checks for the 2019-20 academic year.

All rule changes must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to consider the women’s lacrosse rules recommendations July 24.

Committee members, who met last week in Indianapolis, discussed stick checks thoroughly before deciding to replace the pregame stick check procedure with a random selection and closer inspection of eight sticks and to reduce the number of in-game stick checks to two per team. Currently, teams can request three stick checks.

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Additionally, only a coach who called a timeout can request a stick check. If a coach requests a stick check without calling a timeout and the opponent’s stick is found to be legal, the team that made the request will be charged with a timeout. If a team does not have a timeout and the opponent’s stick is found to be legal, possession of the ball will be awarded to the team that passed the stick check.

The committee received several proposals about stick checks from the membership and concluded this was the best way to move forward.

“We feel the changes regarding the pregame stick checks will speed up the process and accomplish the same goal,” said Ann Elliott, committee chair and women’s lacrosse coach at Colorado.

Committee members felt in-game stick checks were being used to gain an additional timeout rather than what the rule was intended to do.

“People are passionate about the pace of our game,” Elliott said. “We wanted to have this process have consequences and not let people have free rein to call for a stick check. Coaches can still call for stick checks, but we wanted to make sure the reason to make the request is to make sure the game is played fairly.”

8-meter setup

The committee also recommended a change to clean up the 8-meter free position setup.

The proposal prohibits all players from being in the corner of the 8-meter down to the goal circle. Also, no players can be within 8 meters of the goal between the corner of the 8-meter and the goal line.

Since free movement was added to the game two years ago, committee members believe the 8-meter free position setup has become too physical and a challenge for officials to manage fairly and efficiently.

“The 8-meter setup was a concern raised by the membership, and the committee wanted to address this concern in a way that would preserve the fairness of the 8-meter setup, be manageable for officials and maintain the safety of our players,” Elliott said. “The new setup will be simple and clean, while still allowing free movement and creativity by teams.”

Other rule changes proposed by the committee include:

  • Keeping the clock running after an offensive foul is committed in the critical scoring area and allowing the defending team to self-start.
  • Making the penalty for illegal draws a free position for the nonoffending team at the spot of the ball.
  • Requiring goalkeepers to wear chest protectors certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment by the 2020-21 academic year.

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