College Lacrosse Coaches Recommend a Visual Shot Clock

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

In related news: Duh.

I've been reading Chuck Klosterman's new book, I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined). It's okay; I'm not sure that Klosterman has approached what he put together in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto or Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota. In the book, Klosterman explores villains and villainy; the focus is on the perception of terrible acts and terrible people (fictional and all-too-real). Klosterman then spends buckets of words constructing and deconstructing the perceptions and philosophies underlying villains and villainy, bouncing between the granular and macroscopic.

After reading that the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association -- abbreviated "IMLCA" for those that don't have the time to read five words and prefer things shortened so that they can get back to their primary focus: Debating the merits of Cake Boss in a modern society -- is recommending a visible shot clock, I could not help but wonder if college lacrosse coaches are both villains and heroes, and if that is even possible (probably not). That issue, in totem, is an issue for another day. What's important right now is that, one year after almost-kind-of-sort-of taking an important step forward in increasing the college game's pace of play, college lacrosse coaches are pushing the NCAA to institute a visible shot clock, a sabotage-containment action necessitated because the rules committee -- and its influencers -- failed to completely do the right thing in Summer 2012 (notably, failing to institute a visible shot clock from the outset). The proof:

The movement toward basketball-like shot clocks in men's college lacrosse continues.

The Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) on Monday said in an email to its members that it has recommended to the NCAA men's lacrosse rules committee that all schools be permitted to use a physical timer-on clock on an experimental basis during the spring 2014 season.

Assuming a school has the proper equipment, the home team would seek approval from the visiting team, and mutual consent would be required for the use of physical clock during games, the IMLCA recommends.

The association said it is not encouraging schools that do not already own clocks to purchase them while the rule is in an experiment state, but that schools may need to fund a clock operator, and "of specific interest prior to the 2015 season will be consideration of implementing a shot clock similar to basketball."

* * * * *

"In summary, the IMLCA membership believes that the rule changes adopted effective with the 2013 season were extremely positive in speeding up the game, putting the two-way midfielder back in the game and adding many exciting situations for the enjoyment of fans.

"Although the timer-on rules positively impacted the game, they also put more pressure on the officials, coaches and players.

"The use of a physical timer-on clock would:

"1. Take pressure off the officials in keeping track of the use of their buzzers during the first 20 seconds and then their hand count for the last 10 seconds.

"2. Create consistency in the counting of the 30 seconds (in reviewing game film, counts by officials have widely varied to as many as 38 seconds).

"3. Allow a coach to take time out during the timer-on situation and stop the timer-on clock thus providing the offensive team the full 30 seconds.

"4. Provide a visual element that would benefit the players, coaches, officials and fans."

* * * * *

If adopted by the NCAA men's rules committee, which met last week, the IMLCA's recommendation would allow schools with shot clocks already in place at their venues to use them for lacrosse, as they would football, for example. This year is not a rules change year — changes are implemented every two years — thus the recommendation for experimental status.

I can't see how fans would be opposed to this (or the IMLCA's reasoning); let's be honest: People get frustrated when they go to a game and there isn't a visible penalty clock, never mind going to a building that fails to have a visible clock that details a countdown that drastically alters how the game is played. The fact that college lacrosse has a non-visible shot clock makes folks want to burn Earth until humanity fails to exist in the vain hope that when it -- hopefully -- reemerges, humanity will have the societal intelligence to have actual visible clocks that count things when clock-oriented things are happening. Just get this done; as this last season proved, the excuses and positions built around maintaining a non-visible shot clock are devoid of the necessities of reality.

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