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Statisticians on Impact of New Rules: We're Workin' on It

Inside Lacrosse reached out to some stat keepers to see what they're thinking about.

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

From the point that all these new college lacrosse rules were proposed until they were eventually enacted a week or so ago, everyone discussed the various layers of impact -- from players to coaches to officials. Lost among all those discussions was the impact on statisticians, a generally hidden group charged with memorializing what, exactly, took place during a lacrosse game. With the rules of the game changing fairly drastically -- especially in consideration of the modified shot clock -- I was curious as to how the statistician's manual would change to, potentially, account for new situations created under the new rules. It turns out that I wasn't alone in my curiosity.

Inside Lacrosse's Terry Foy reached out to a handful of folks involved in developing the statistician's manual to see what they were planning to do (if anything) to address the new regime. As it turns out, they're kind of in the same boat the rest of us are in -- they're working on it:

How are stat keepers reacting to the how the new rules will affect their jobs?

“There's a difference between statistical rules and the rules of the game,” says Princeton associate athletic director and Jerry Price, one of the developers of the NCAA Statisticians Manual. “Most rule changes that come about don't have an impact on the stat-keeping side of the game, so this is kind of interesting.”

The handful of stat keepers contacted, suggested that tracking how many stall warnings and shot clock instances occur, and what happens during them, will be the most notable change.

"It would be possible, I think, to implement separate stats that occur under stall warnings, in much the same way that they’re done now with penalties. I think it’d be interesting to see the stats from those situations," Price says, though he warned "I don’t think everyone would do it, and therefore it wouldn’t be accurate across the board."

There's all kinds of stuff in the piece about cataloguing face-off violations and shots as well. You should read it. It'll make your head melon smarter.

I guess there are two things here that are important-ish:

  • Sports Information Directors understand what is going on here and want to capture important information, but the software may or may not be able to offer resolutions (yet). Which, if you're into developing software: Get on this.
  • Smart people are going to do smart things together to make sure that the records of games are as smart as possible. That makes me feel good inside.