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NCAA Rules Committee Proposes Lacrosse Changes and Stuff

Well, I picked just about the worst weekend ever to take a three-day vacation.

Friday morning, as I'm walking to my Jeep to load up coolers and bags, I see that the NCAA unleashes its rules proposals for college lacrosse. They looked controversial and detailed and generally requiring more than 30 seconds to understand them. So, instead of sitting in front of my computer and working on a story, I muttered, "Screw it," punched the accelerator, and spent three days in Pennsylvania, not worrying a damn about shot clocks and "U" and "V" stringing restrictions. It was great. It was fun.

And now I'm back in reality and this needs to be addressed. Drats.

You've probably seen it by now, but in case you haven't, the Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee recommended four primary proposals and four secondary items. Here's a quick rundown of the primary proposals:

  • Faceoffs: First of all, they're still going to exist. Second of all, the motorcycle grip was recommended for extinction as well as tape around the throat of the stick for players taking draws. Third of all, the "violation/send-off" is going away. Fourth of all, there's some technical things around penalty situations and number of pre-whistle violations.
  • Restarts: This is what's going to potentially bring back the two-way midfielder and streaking fun -- officials are instructed to restart play quickly. The hope is to limit dead time and, I am to assume, test the cardiovascular ability of the athletes. Also included in this proposal: The five-second goalie grace period is dead. There are some other technical things in this area of the proposal, but I'm going to pass on that for now.
  • Sticks: Well, this may get to the heart of the issue:

  • Shot Clock: It isn't simple, it feels like a compromise, and I have no idea if this is going to pass when the proposals come to a vote fairly soon. It's a protocol, which pretty much means that it's convoluted and odd and may not work. The bottom line is that after the officials signal a stall warning, a 20 second (and then 10 second) count goes into effect until a shot is taken or time expires. Now, there's all kinds of exceptions and rule subtleties here, but that's the basic principle: Once a team is signalled for a stall, things need to happen and numbers start at 30 and end up, potentially, at zero with the defensive team getting the bean.

So, those are the big ticket items. College Crosse will peel each of these -- and the secondary recommendations -- apart throughout the week. Until then, I'm still recovering from my sunburn.