A couple days ago we released our College Crosse Party Platform. Most of the ideas received UNIVERSAL support (or I'm just going to assume they did). There was one idea that received a bit of backlash, and that was our proposal to do away with faceoffs.
Since all of our readers are students of the game, there were many who noted that we already tried that idea and it crashed and burned. INDEED! In 1979, the NCAA did away with faceoffs. This was in part because 62% of coaches surveyed the season before responded in favor of removing faceoffs. The NCAA tried it in 1979, it was a disaster, and they switched back to normal for the 1980 season. Lacrosse Magazine did a piece on the failed '79 experiment back in 2014, which I highly encourage you all to read if you haven't already.
Now if you read the post, you will notice one thing: the NCAA ignored the rules committee's recommendation to put the ball on the restraining line after a goal and decided to place the ball on the midfield line.
The decision stemmed from a survey mailed to college coaches the season before. Sixty-two percent of coaches who responded voted to do away with the faceoff. But there was no clear majority on where the ball should be put back in play.
The area behind the goal got the most votes and the midfield the fewest.
The USILA rules and equipment committee, chaired at the time by Washington and Lee coach Jack Emmer, discussed the results and went with a compromise at the restraining line, which was their recommendation to the NCAA rules committee when it convened in June 1978.
Fearing that weak teams would be unable to clear the ball from their own end against quality opponents, the NCAA committee chose to put the ball at midfield after a goal.
(Ed. Note: Emphasis mine. This is another example why I am not in a rush for the NCAA to "fix" early recruiting.)
Now I suggested putting the ball at midfield after a score in the Platform. But College Crosse Party is a reasonable body and we are more than willing to negotiate on placement. (Ed. Note: You always start out big and then negotiate down. #ArtOfTheDeal) The important thing and something I think most reasonable people can agree on is that, even after years of tinkering and numerous rule changes, faceoffs are still a work in progress and not many people (besides ex-FOGO BALLERS) believe the problem has been solved. Below are some of the reasons why I think we should rethink faceoffs and not let something that happened 37 years ago stop us from thinking outside the box.
5 Reasons Why We Should Do Away With Faceoffs.
1. They are too time consuming: Let's be honest, from the time the ball goes in the net, to the next faceoff, can be at least a minute and a half, if not more, and that's not including post-goal celebrations by the offense. Getting the ball to midfield and everyone getting set for another faceoff is a waste of time and something that slows up the game. In a 12-13 game, that's nearly 40 minutes. For all its faults, the no faceoffs experiment significantly cut the average game time in 1979. So at least it had that going for it.
2. Referees constantly shuffling and readjusting players is a bad for the game: Some refs constantly adjust and then readjust players & their sticks before every faceoff to make sure they are set correctly. I don't know how much all that adjusting helps, and I wouldn't be surprised if it actually puts players at a disadvantage since they are constantly worried if their stick is a millimeter off or not instead of getting ready for the whistle.
Moreover, much like umpires have different strike zones, I feel refs interpret the faceoff rule & how players should be set differently and there's no consistency regarding how the rules are applied.One ref will constantly adjust and readjust players, while another ref will just put the ball down and just blow the whistle. There's no set standard and players/teams are subjected to a different interpretation every game. The way the rules are now allows for too much involvement by the referees and this makes for a worse product.
3. People are still mad about faceoffs even after all the rule changes: If faceoffs are so great, why are we trying to fix them every couple of years? It seems without fail that every year or two there's a new wrinkle to the rule that is sure to fix it this time. Yet the very next season you'll find coaches still unhappy with how the rules are applied. Would you buy a car if you knew you had to take it to the shop every year for major repairs, and in between that time you have constant problems as well? Of course not! Well that's what faceoffs are, they are the car that keeps breaking down, eventually you should just scrap it.
4. Player safety: While every team resembles a M.A.S.H. unit by the end of the season, it's usually the FOGO guy who is most beat up by the last game. Why? It might have to do with fact FOGOs have to violently put their bodies into strange and uncomfortable positions 15-25 times a game, and often get crushed by opposing players immediately after they gain possession or when their head is down and they are chasing a loose ball. The FOGO guy is the punt/kickoff returner or receiver in a vulnerable position of lacrosse and it would be nice if we didn't have to send kids to the meat-grinder every year.
5. Games would be more competitive: If you have a great faceoff guy and a decent offense, you can play make it take it, go on long runs, and put teams away that might otherwise be pretty competitive. Other specialty positions like closers and kickers play large roles as well, but a good faceoff guy, who is on fire, can dramatically change a game in a way that only pitchers or quarterbacks can.
Obviously that's not always the case. There are plenty of examples of games where a team dominates faceoffs and the game is still relatively close or they lose. But for the most part, if you have a good offense and a great faceoff guy, you have a big advantage over most teams. As BOSS Desk once stated, "you've got this guy who doesn't play offense or defense who might have the biggest impact on the result of the game."
These are just some of the reasons why I think we should do away with faceoffs. Have any others? Think these are horrible? Let us know your thoughts on the topic in the comments section.