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Light suggestions for the NCAA men’s lacrosse rules committee

Get the brooms out, because here are some suggestions for sweeping change in the college game.

Charlotte Hounds v Boston Cannons Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The men’s lacrosse rules committee meets next week to determine changes to the NCAA game. Recently, some coaches voiced concerns about the possible implementation of a shot clock. Currently it’s up to the refs to put on a 60 second timer if they deem an offense to be stalling, the change would be to add some form of constant shot clock to the game, similar to what’s in place in the MLL. Duke and Team USA Head Coach John Danowski notably urged his fellow coaches to consider just minor tweaks to the current rules rather than sweeping changes.

I say let’s get to sweeping. It’s fun to think of ways that we might make the game more exciting, more fun for new fans, and create ways to force Notre Dame to play offense. A rules committee meeting is one of my favorite parts of the year because we get efforts towards some rules that radically would change things. Of course I have a few thoughts of my own, so let’s have at it.

Shot Clock - Let’s add one. Here’s how it’ll work. On a turnover in your defensive end, you get 30 seconds to clear. But if you pass it to a guy who has already had it, you lose 5 seconds, and if you pass it backwards you lose 2 seconds. Push that pace, fellas. Once over midfield, you get 60 seconds to shoot. If you shoot and hit a pipe, you get 3 seconds added back on to the clock, and 5 seconds added back on for the crossbar. Sick BTB shots (determined objectively by on site independent BTB evaluators) will add 10 seconds. Fundamentally sound overhand shots subtract 3 seconds, sidearm and low to high elevators at that go stickside high subtract 5. Once the clock hits zero you turn it over and the other team’s 30 seconds start. Obviously this is a very simple way to improve pace of play.

Ok, maybe that suggestion won’t be something the coaches like (Lars Tiffany might though and you know it). But full disclosure, I’m not sure there needs to be that much of a change to the shot clock, and a directive towards officials to be more aggressive in putting the timer on might be better. Four minutes without obvious attempts to score is too much, and it seems rather simple to try and be quicker about starting the shot clock. Also, I’m not ready to say goodbye to all the lax dads yelling for the timer. They’re the best.

Penalty Time - Hear me out on this. At the FIL Championships, the clock is 20 minute running quarters. When a player gets a penalty, he has to run off the field and sit in a penalty chair (seriously). The timer on his penalty doesn’t start until he’s physically in the chair. Tell me we can’t bring that to the college game. Picture it. Flag is down. Defensive team manages to take possession, killing the play. Defensive player drops the ball, the offending player sprints toward the sideline to get the penalty time started. Meanwhile, the offense gets a quick restart opportunity, just like any other dead ball. You want pace? There’s pace. Defense hustling to get into the man down, offense trying to quickly set up in their extra man so as not to waste precious man up time. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

Faceoff changes - This one goes out to all you crackpots who, for some reason, think that dominant FOGO’s like Trevor Baptiste or TD Ierlan were bad for lacrosse this past season. One simply change I have in mind for you. The same player cannot take consecutive faceoffs, with the start of quarters and overtime periods excluded. The solution would be to have two insanely dominant faceoff men, which by my count, nobody has. Moreover, consider the strategy involved here. In a game between two excellent fogos, do you match them up against each other, or do you try and play your top FOGO against the other teams weaker FOGO to be sure you’re winning consistently? The best of the best continue to take draws and dominate. In conclusion, this is a stupid idea and anyone who thinks FOGOs winning 80% of their draws are bad should get over themselves.

Hockey assists become an official tracked stat - This is likely a slippery slope. If we add hockey assists, we should probably add a measure to track players how make the pass before the hockey assist as well. Good offensive lacrosse that makes a defense rotate, rapidly moves the ball, finds the open man, and creates a quality shot typically involves just about all six guys on the field. It would be great to find a way to measure the way each impacts a scoring play. For now, I’ll take the hockey assist though. A strong dodger who consistently beats his man, draws a slide, and moves the ball along can create plenty of chances, but statistically probably isn’t getting the reward he should, as he rarely will make the pass that is the assist.

Bring back the dive - Shout out to friends at The Crease Dive; look at Jordan Wolf at the FIL games:

That’s fun. That’s exciting. That’s a ridiculously athletic play to make.

There’s another one. Keep searching and you’ll find more and more of these from the World Games, and it was awesome every time. It adds an exciting dynamic to the offensive game and, frankly, increases visibility for the sport because plays like that wind up on highlight shows.

Eliminate stick checks completely - Because if we don’t Greg Gurenlian might snap his fingers and bring balance to the universe.