2019 NFHS Rules and Mechanics Changes

These are the rules and mechanics changes that have been announced for 2019.  There will be more changes and this post will be updated as new memos and the 2019 Rule Book is released.

Crosse and Pocket Construction

1-6-2: Measuring the length of the head at the front face of the head.

1-7-1: The pocket/net must be completely attached to the head and the side walls, leaving no gaps large enough for a ball to pass through.

Note: Simply clarification of how the crosse head should be measured (from the front face; apparently someone was measuring from the side) and that the pocket/sidewall completely connected and should never be able to ensnare a ball.

Goalie Equipment

1-9-1j: Beginning January 1, 2021, a goalkeeper chest protector designed for lacrosse that incorporates the NOCSAE ND200 at the time of manufacture shall be used by all goalkeepers.

Note: consistent with helmet and ball requirements.  Be sure to let all coaches know this is coming. We do not check these things, the coach confirms that all players are properly equipped during the certification.


4-5-9: A shot is considered a ball propelled toward the goal by an offensive player with the intent of scoring a goal. A shot can only be made when the ball is parallel to or above the goal line extended. Additionally, it can be either thrown from a crosse, kicked, or otherwise physically directed.

4-9-3: If any of the following occur between the end of the period and the shot entering the goal, the goal will be disallowed:

  • a. The ball makes contact with any member of the attacking team or his equipment;
  • b. The ball is touched by a player of either team other than the defending goalkeeper after hitting the goalkeeper or his equipment, goal posts or crossbar.

Note: the definition of a shot now includes that it must be attempted from above GLE.  This is relevant to the requirements for ending a stall warning and determining how to award a ball out of bounds (i.e. a pass or a shot).

Over and Back

4-14-3: If the ball does not touch the center line or something over the center line, no infraction has occurred. A defensive player may reach over the center line with his crosse and bat the ball to keep it in his team’s offensive half and thus prevent an over-and-back violation. However, he may NOT reach over the center line and bat the ball with his foot or any other part of his body excluding his gloved hand wrapped around his crosse. If he does so, it shall be a turnover.

Note: in previous years a player was allowed to bat the ball with his foot etc…no longer. Remember, the gloved hand touching the crosse is considered to be part of the crosse and is therefore allowed to make contact over the line.

Checks Involving Head and Neck

5-4-4: A player shall not initiate a body check legally but slides up into or follows through to an opponent’s head or neck.

5-4-5: A player shall not body-check a player in a defenseless position. This includes but is not limited to: (a) body-checking a player from his “blind side;” (b) body checking a player who has his head down in an attempt to play a loose ball; and (c) body-checking a player whose head is turned away to receive a pass, even if that player turns toward the contact immediately before the body check.

5-4-6: A player shall not initiate targeting, which is intentionally taking aim at the head/neck of an opponent for the purpose of making violent contact. This could include a check with the crown of the helmet (spearing) that targets the head or neck of an opponent. PENALTY: Three-minute, non-releasable foul. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.

5-4-7: A player shall not initiate targeting that intentionally takes aim at a player in a defenseless position. PENALTY: Three-minute, non-releasable foul. An excessively violent violation of this rule may result in an ejection.

Note: first change is simply a clarification on an initial check that is legal but then slides up to the head or neck; this is a foul. The new targeting rule is new allows an official to assess an automatic three minute NR foul and possible ejection for a foul they deem to be intentional and violent act to the head or neck.  Finally, there was a clarification on the defenseless player rule.  These are also judgment calls.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

5-10e: The penalty for obstructing players or officials by a coach who is illegally on in the field of play is now USC.

Note: this rule is an escalation of the POE from last year highlighting the issue of coaches on the field during play.

Flagrant Misconduct

5-12-1 PENALTY: Three-minute non-releasable penalty for a player, substitute or non-playing team member or a one-minute non-releasable penalty for a coach and ejection for the remainder of the game. The ejected coach shall be removed from the premises (bench and field area). The ejected player, substitute or non-playing team member shall be removed from the premises if there is authorized school personnel present to supervise the ejected student. If no authorized school personnel is available, the student shall be confined to the bench area. The sponsoring authority is responsible for notifying the appropriate school of the ejection.

Note: There is now a difference in how we penalize a player vs a coach when ejecting them.  Allows for an official to penalizes a coach without severely penalizing the players.


6-3-2a: A player shall not use the portion of the handle that is between his hands to hold an opponent, when his hands are more than shoulder-width apart.

6-3-3e: Holding is permitted if a player uses the portion of the handle that is between his hands, which are no more than shoulder-width apart, to hold an opponent on the torso with no more than equal pressure and no thrusting motion.

Crosse Exchange

6-5-2b(4): A player shall not exchange his crosse with that of a teammate during live play while the ball is in either crosse.

Note:  Do not disagree that it is illegal, but have never seen it happen.


6-11-2: A player in possession of the ball with both hands on his crosse shall not use his hand or arm to push the body of the player applying the check. NOTE: Illegal body checks (5-3), “spearing” (5-4-3) and unnecessary roughness (5-9-3 SITUATION E) shall be strictly enforced as personal fouls.

Note: Language clarifying the NFHS memo that came out last year mid-season.


7.8.2: The ball may hit the ground during a FDSW and play will continue until:

  • Goal
  • Offense commits a foul
  • Out of bounds
  • Defense gains possession
  • Injury in scrimmage area or Time Out
  • End of period or loss of required equipment
  • Second defensive foul

7.8.3: Play continues after a shot hits the goal, keeper, or passes the goal line during a FDSW.

Note: this now more closely mirrors the NCAA rule. That being said, a loose ball foul on the defense during a FDSW will NOT result in a time serving penalty as the NCAA rule calls for.   The second foul kills the play under NFHS rules unless an immanent scoring.opportunity.  Play continues and a team may have multiple opportunities to score.

Running Left

This Spring GLOA will be using the “running left” mechanic.  This is a very simple change in two-man mechanics, the Faceoff Official covers the goal to his left (facing the bench) and the Wing Official covers the goal to his left (facing the far side). Everything else is the same.  This allows the FOO a clean release to his goal.

Note: This allows the Faceoff Official an easier release when the ball quickly moves to his goal or the far sideline, he no longer needs to sidestep the FOGOs in order to get to his position. EVERYTHING ELSE remains the same