"Lacrosse Rulemaking" and "Consensus" are Mortal Enemies

It's all right there on Inside Lacrosse's Terry Foy's Twitter machine output: The rules committee is closing its meetings today and will show the world proposals to which it kind of, sort of agreed to.

The NCAA hasn't published anything yet on the committee's findings and resolution items, but that hasn't stopped a big ol' portion of college lacrosse from weighing in on what the NCAA should (or should not) do in this rulemaking cycle. As Corey McLaughlin writes at Lacrosse Magazine, there's all kinds of dissension among the coaching ranks as to whether college lacrosse needs a makeover and what, if anything, should be done.

Pursuant to a survey that was completed prior to the rules committee meetings, college lacrosse coaches pretty much cemented the fact that broad consensus among fancy gym teachers was almost an impossible human endeavor:

  • 40 percent indicated that "pace of play" is the aspect of the game that is in the need of most improvement. "Other" was next with nearly 20 percent, followed by the dive play (12.5) and cross-check hold (10.1).
  • Nearly 55 percent said they disagree that the game needs to have a shot clock. So about a 50-50 split overall, but there was a disparity among the divisions. Fifty-three percent of Division I coaches said a shot clock is needed while more than 60 percent of Division III coaches said the game doesn't need one.
  • More than 70 percent disagreed with the current rules pertaining to stall warnings, with Division I coaches being the most against (83 percent).
  • More than 90 percent said the face off needs to continue to be part of the game.
  • Only 59 percent of Division I coaches think current pocket depth rules are acceptable, while nearly 90 percent of Division II and II coaches said they're fine.
  • Few like the idea of a 2-point arc.
  • More than 75 percent are in favor of having quick re-starts in the attack area for the defending team at the point where the whistle blew rather than having to take the ball outside of the attack area.

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it odd to poll coaches as to their feelings about pace of play when these coaches have a direct impact on the pace of play? Their answers are right there on the field each spring: Of course a majority of college coaches don't think that pace of play is a concern; they have control over the pace of play, and that control hasn't been taken from them. It's just a weird way to get to issue identification, I guess.

Also, what the hell does this mean: More than 70 percent disagreed with the current rules pertaining to stall warnings, with Division I coaches being the most against (83 percent). The actual document doesn't detail what the disagreements are (it only references Appendix H, which doesn't appear to exist). I just . . . I don't . . . who the hell wrote this survey and from which hospital bed was it composed?

I don't know what the rules committee is going to do, but this survey implies that if the rules committee relies on coaches to render a decision, that the shot clock isn't going to happen in this rulemaking cycle. I don't necessarily have a problem with that. It's just that I'm not sure what is going to happen, mostly because it's really hard to gauge the temperament of coaches around college lacrosse with a survey that asks a bunch of bad questions and doesn't provide any detail around the substance of the response.

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