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Archive for May 30, 2022

May 30, 2022 — Some needed ironing-out

The rules changes that have occurred over the last 20 or so years in women’s lacrosse are legion. They have changed a 16th Century pastoral wargame into a 21st Century battle of speed and technology.

And it’s a battle that, frankly, is being lost on the part of rulesmakers and the umpires trained to interpret and enforce the rules.

The 2022 Final Four matches were on a knife edge, and the teams knew that, in order to win, it would sometimes be necessary to stretch or bend the rules in order to gain an extra possession or a better free position, or to manipulate the ratio between the possession and the game clocks to gain advantage.

I think it’s time that the NCAA Rules Committee needs to meet up soon and consider the following rules changes:

  1. CLOCK LOCK. At no time should the game clock, possession clock, and penalty clock not be all running at the same time or stopped at the same time. Allowing one to run with the others stopped causes any amount of confusion not only on the part of the spectators, but the players and on-field officials.
  2. THE LAST TWO. One thing that made women’s lacrosse great was the fact that the clock stopped on dead-ball situations in the last two minutes of each half. This eliminates time-wasting while one team or the other sets up for the next restart and it leaves the opportunity to add two or three phases of play to the half.
  3. RE-DRAWS. Right now, each draw is given only one chance to succeed. If a draw is flubbed because both players may have not pulled up correctly, the umpire looks at the table and awards the ball to one team or the other based on alternate possession. Late in the game, this gives the team with the AP arrow an incentive to flub the draw to get the ball. Instead, there should be a second chance at a draw, and have the third opportunity be a “jump toss” like it used to be.
  4. #VARNOW. For obvious reasons.
  5. D3 EQUITY. When you look a the schedules for NCAA Division I, II, and III field hockey and lacrosse tournaments, there’s one difference when it comes to game patterns. Whereas, in Division I and II, there’s a full day’s rest between rounds of the tournament, that doesn’t happen in Division III. Teams are expected to play back-to-back, something which gives the winner of the second game in a semifinal a distinct disadvantage because of the lack of recovery hours in comparison to the winner of the first semifinal. That needs to change.