The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday approved changes to pregame and in-game stick checks in women’s lacrosse for the 2019-20 academic year.
The pregame stick check procedure will be changed to a random selection and closer inspection of eight sticks, while the number of in-game stick checks will be reduced to two per team. Previously, teams could request three stick checks.
Additionally, during a timeout, only the coach who called it 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 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee received several proposals about stick checks from the membership and decided this was the best alternative.
Committee members felt in-game stick checks were being used to gain an additional timeout rather than what the rule was intended to do.
Another rules change is designed to clean up the 8-meter free position setup.
Starting next season, all players are prohibited from being in the corner of the 8-meter arc down to the goal circle. Also, no players can be within 8 meters of the goal between the corner of the 8-meter arc and the goal line.
Since free movement was added to the game two years ago, committee members think the 8-meter free position setup has become too physical and a challenge for officials to manage fairly and efficiently.
Other rule changes approved by the panel include:
• Allowing the clock to continue to run after an offensive foul is committed in the critical scoring area, with the defending team allowed 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 beginning with the 2021 season.