The current 10-second count to return to the goal area in high school boys lacrosse will be eliminated beginning with the 2012 season.
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee – at its July 12-13 meeting in Indianapolis – also clarified rules regarding offside situations and a “Get it in/Keep it in” command for game officials. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Rule 4-15-1 regarding advancing the ball into the goal area was expanded to describe three situations. A team shall bring the ball into the goal area within 10 seconds 1) after crossing the center line with possession, 2) after initially gaining possession in the offensive half of the field, or 3) after regaining possession in the offensive half of the field following a defensive possession. This change eliminates the need for players to continually “get a touch” in the goal area every 10 seconds.
“This change allows teams to run their offense more efficiently and simplifies the counting requirements for officials,” said Kent Summers, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee.
In Rule 4-11, “a team is not considered offside if a team with too few players at either end of the field has not gained an advantage because the player(s) in question are off the field of play.” The official should withhold the whistle or flag in this situation, and observe how the potentially offending player re-enters the game.
“The team has not gained an advantage in this situation, and, in fact, may be at a disadvantage by having too few players on the field,” Summers said. “If the team with too few players gains an advantage by delaying the substitution, then an illegal procedure foul rather than an offside foul has occurred.”
In Rule 4-34, the committee adopted the “Get it in/Keep it in” command for officials to use in two situations involving offensive possession. When the ball is outside the goal area, the official verbally announces “get it in,” forcing the team in possession to advance the ball into the goal area within 10 seconds and keep it in. The “keep it in” command forces the team in possession to keep the ball in the goal area. The two “Get it in/Keep it in” situations are “Under two minutes remaining in the game when the game is not tied,” and “Stalling.”
Regarding stalling, the committee revised Rule 6-10-2 to state that the warning will be made when, in the judgment of the officials, a team in possession of the ball is keeping the ball from play by not attacking the goal. The phrase “in the judgment of the officials” was used to replace the former term “obvious.”
“What is obvious to one person may not be to another,” Summers said.
The final major rules change states that “a player who accumulates five minutes of personal fouls has fouled out of the game but has not been ejected.” Previously, the rule required five personal fouls.
“It is extremely rare for a player to accumulate five personal fouls. Thus, the previous rule wasn’t a deterrent to excessive roughness or to using an illegal crosse,” Summers said.
Other rules changes approved by the committee include:
Rule 1-2-1 Penalty: If, because of a logo or any other reason, the home team’s field is without a clearly marked center line, possession of the ball goes to the visiting team to begin the contest.
Rule 4-3-3: The crosses and gloves shall rest on the ground along the center line parallel to each other, up to, but not touching, the center line.
Rule 4-7-1: If at any point the ball becomes stuck in the front or back of the crosse, there shall be an immediate whistle and the ball awarded to the opposing team. This rule applies when a player loses his crosse and the ball remains in or under the head of the crosse.
According to the 2010-11 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, 2,068 schools sponsor boys lacrosse at the high school level with 90,670 participants nationwide.