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College Lacrosse Rule Proposals: Faceoffs

The NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee made a bunch of rules recommendations last week. I'll write words about them; you read those words about them; we'll all have a sandwich afterwards and remember the great time we had writing and reading words about rules. Also, Mike LaFontaine is our spirit guide.


Faceoffs have always been a different kind of animal to legislate. Faceoff cats are uniquely technical, even if a lot of their efforts in recent years have devolved into shoving matches and turf warfare. So, when the NCAA announced proposals around changing how faceoffs are done, responses ranged from measured thought like this . . .

. . . to this:

I don't . . . it's just . . . FIGHT THE LIBERAL LACROSSE MEDIA!

Here's the nuts and bolts of what's being proposed (and also what is giving everyone an aneurysm):

  • The motorcycle grip has been outlawed because it robbed a bunch of banks and also because you damn kids don't deserve it. Instead, all faceoffs will be done with a traditional grip.
  • When a violation occurs at the dot, the infracting player is no longer required to leave the field.
  • After two pre-whistle violations in one half by a team, subsequent violations result in a 30-second technical penalty.
  • Faceoff gentlemen are no longer permitted to add any tape to the throat of their crosses. In addition to the tape restrictions, officials were told, as a point of emphasis, to ensure that players keep their hands off of the plastic of the crosse.
  • During penalty situations, there must be four players in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area. There is a very specific exception to this involving three or more players in the penalty area, allowing a player to come out of its defensive end to take the faceoff.

Also considered and not included in the proposal was moving faceoff players from four inches apart to 12. It's going to be an experimentation point during the fall in 2012.

More after the jump.


So, who's totally screwed with these proposed rules? Here are some initial assumptions:

  • Everyone is kind of boned with the outlawing of the motorcyle grip. I understand why the committee proposed the technique's elimination: Some guys were using the grip as a mask for lack of ability and turning draws into rugby scrums. The problem with eliminating the grip, however, is that it punishes guys that use the grip as a weapon in their arsenal, utilizing it with finesse and sharp technique to win at the dot. Now, everyone needs to rely and develop the traditional grip to get their jobs done. This is kind of like cutting down the apple tree in your front yard because it yielded a few bad pieces of fruit.
  • All these guys that had been jumping or anticipating the whistle are finally going to really impact the ability of their teams to compete. The rule changes around faceoffs in the recent past -- adjusting whistle cadence, etc. -- was designed to limit the amount of "going early" that had kind of plagued the game. With an actual penalty associated with repeatedly cheating the system, teams lose more than a possession; they lose a possession and need to work from a disadvantageous position. This, combined with the hands-on-head point of emphasis could really change the structure of faceoff play and how aggressive coaches are going to be at pushing their faceoff men to gain an advantage.
  • Coaches that scouted and secured commitments from high school faceoffs guys that have almost exclusively used the motorcycle grip have to want to kick trees after hearing this proposed rule. While preparatory faceoff works doesn't always transition perfectly to the college game, ability had been considered in light of a player's use of the motorcycle grip. Now, it's all out the window. That's a difficult pill to swallow if you're paid to scout and what you've scouted is now diminished (if not useless).


So, who's throwing a party with a petting zoo in recognition of these proposed rules? Here are some initial assumptions:

  • Every team that wanted to use a defenseman to take a draw but, because of the violation rule that would send him off on an infraction, failed to roll him out there. This rule may be the least controversial of all that were proposed, and it actually makes sense: Get your best guy out there without potentially impacting your ability to immediately play defense should a violation occur. That's just common sense, and in combination with the pre-whistle violation rule, it works itself out perfectly.
  • The guys with technique, speed, and substantial options in only their traditional grip should be just fine. To these guys I say this: Congratulations! You don't need to learn a lot of things during fall ball, and like prior years when you were likely dominating wins anyway (because you had technique, speed, and substantial options in your traditional grip), you're likely to dominate at the dot again in 2012 (if not more so).

Those are my thoughts. The comments are yours to make the Internet full of your thoughts.