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Weak Left-Handed Shots: The Required Stall-Ball Fix Proposal

Does it look like Testudo is rolling on the floor? No? Well, he's still stalling.
Does it look like Testudo is rolling on the floor? No? Well, he's still stalling.

Weak Left-Handed Shots is an occasional opinion column by contributing writer RyanMcD29. It's like a lacrosse editorial. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect yours, the rest of College Crosse, or SBNation, but they could be yours too.

As someone who writes lacrosse articles every now and then, I'm federally required to address the stall ball situation. I thought I had done that with my Arcade Fire-inspired photoshop of Stall II, which, thankfully, at least Princeton got the message and decided to get away from the stall after seeing they were one of the teams targeted. (The lacrosse world plays "The Princeton Cannon" in celebration while wearing plaid suit jackets and top hats straight from the Miser Brothers in "Year Without a Santa Claus.")

Apparently, though, there's a subclause in that federal requirement where I have to come up with some solution to the stall ball epidemic. I've seen everything from shot clocks to MLL-infused 2 point lines to multiple boxes that shrink to keeping everything the same to whacking John Tillman with a lacrosse stick until his team decides to charge the net. Well, here's my idea for discouraging stall warnings. I call it:


(Because, you know, "system" makes it sounds neat and official.)

Anyway, my idea takes the current stall warning system and adds a shot clock in a much less extreme way than people have asked for. Originally the stall warning forced teams to take shots towards the net. The past few years, however, teams have been using the stall warning as a tactic and as a way to further slow down the game through ball control and field position. To try and get things rolling on offense, my suggestion would be to add a 25 second shot clock whenever a stall warning is put in place. The issuing of a stall warning would still be at the referee's discretion. However, once issued, the shot clock comes into play. The ball must stay in the box as before, but now the offense is forced to at least try and get a good opportunity in that situation. There's no limits to how many shot clock opportunities a team can get, just simply win back possession as usual. I'm not looking to get all wacky here. If the offense fails to get a shot off, or steps outside the box, the ball is turned over.

To try and make it harder to keep things in the box, maybe moving the two sideline box lines in 2.5-5 yards can help discourage teams from resorting to the stall ball. This isn't necessarily needed for this whole modified system, but it could help discourage the practice a bit.

Everything else is pretty straight forward in this proposal, but I have something that should be brought back to college lacrosse: time limits to get the ball back in the box after stepping in. A few seasons ago the NCAA got rid of the rule that forced teams to head back into the box within 10 seconds of stepping out. As a result, we've now got offenses that sit around midfield for a good amount of time waiting for possession changes or stalling without having much worry about getting called for a stall warning. One way to get rid of this standing around near midfield is to go back to the old rule, putting the time limit to get the ball back in the box to 15 seconds to accommodate to the growing use of line changes.

So, there you have it, my take on the stall warning issue. The issue's cooled down a little bit with the season ending a month ago, but it's going to be a hot fire topic at the upcoming NCAA Rules Committee meetings. Be on the lookout for news that comes from that, as we here at College Crosse will surely give you the scoop as soon as we hear things about it. And as always, if you want to bring up points from my arguments and provide some of your own opinions, be sure to talk about it in the comments section. We've had some good back and forth with my prior opinion columns, so it'll be great to see some lacrosse talk here in the beginning stages of the long and winding hell known as the college lacrosse offseason (which takes up like eight months of the year. Yikes.)