2015 Boys Lacrosse Rules Changes


“This change will allow the defense to restart play more quickly and will keep the game moving,” said Kent Summers, director of performing arts and sports and liaison to the rules committee. “It also addresses risk minimization by maintaining the requirement for all players to be at least 5 yards from the ball carrier on the restart.”

Other changes concerned with minimizing the risk of injury include Rules 1-7-3 and 2-1-3.

With a revision in Rule 2-1-3, a game no longer can be continued if a team has fewer than seven on-field players because of lack of available players, injuries, penalties, etc. The result of the game shall be determined by the state association or appropriate sponsoring authority.

Following are other changes approved by the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee (rule references are from the 2014 NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules Book).

Rule 1-6-2: …With the ball in the crosse, horizontal to the ground at the deepest point of the pocket, tip the crosse forward 90 degrees to ensure that the ball rolls out of top end of the head.

Rationale: With current stick specifications, a pocket can be strung in such a way that the ball will not easily roll out of the pocket, and could even completely prevent the ball from rolling out of the head. The two current stick field tests will not necessarily catch this. The addition of this procedure will assist officials in making the correct determination.

Rule 1-7-3: ART. 3 . . . Any strings or leathers are limited to a hanging length of 2 inches. All hollow crosse handles must have their open end covered with an end cap manufactured for a lacrosse stick. In both cases, the crosse shall not be considered illegal; however, it shall be removed from the game until corrected.

Starting in 2016, Any additional strings or laces (e.g., shooting strings, V channels) must be located within 4” of the top of the crosse. No more than one side wall string on each side is allowed.

Rationale: Risk minimization and consistency with other rules codes. This revision will allow the ball to become dislodged more easily, thus lessening the risk of slashes and cross-checks currently used to dislodge the ball. Creates more active play and improved passing. This is consistent with other rule codes.  We are adding a picture to illustrate the detail.

Rule 2-1-3: ART. 3 . . . If, because of injuries, players out on ejection fouls, penalties or any other reason, a team cannot keep 10 players in the game, that team may continue the game with fewer than 10 players, with onside and stalling rules remaining in effect. However, a game shall not continue if a team has fewer than seven on-field players. The result of the game shall be determined by the state association or appropriate sponsoring authority.

Rationale: Risk Minimization

Rule 2-7-1 & 2: SECTION 7 Chief Bench Official

ART. 1 . . . When assigned by an assigning authority, an official acting as the chief bench official shall have supervision over the timer’s table and complete jurisdiction over the timer, scorer, coaches area and both benches. The chief bench official (CBO) shall wear the same uniform as the other officials and shall have a whistle, flag and horn. The horn shall be provided by the home team.

ART. 2 . . . The CBO shall supervise and have complete jurisdiction over the timekeeper, penalty timekeepers, scorers, coaches, substitutes and any other persons within the bench areas, the substitution area and the penalty box.

The assigned chief bench official also shall be empowered to count crosses when requested and call the ­following:

     a. Violations of the coaches-, bench- and table-area rules.

     b. Any unsportsmanlike acts that occur within the coaches, bench and

         table areas.

     c. Any illegal-crosse exchange.

     d. A player who has been substituted for not leaving the field of play at

         the table area or bench area.

     e. Offside.

     f. Too many or too few players on the field.

     g. Delayed substitutions.

     h. Time-outs.

     i. Count crosses when requested.

     j. Violations related to substitution.

If the CBO becomes aware of any of the above infringements, he shall, depending on the circumstances, either throw a signal flag or blow his whistle, and apply the appropriate penalty. Additionally, when the CBO becomes aware of a player committing an act of flagrant misconduct, then, if the act is away from the current area of play and is unlikely to have been seen by the on-field officials, the CBO shall either throw a signal flag or blow his whistle, as appropriate. When a whistle has stopped the play, the CBO shall inform the referee of what has happened and the CBO shall make the appropriate call.

RationaleMore accurate description of the duties and authority of the chief bench official and risk minimization.

Rule 2-10-1: ART. 1 . . . The home team shall supply an adequate number of balls on each end line. At the start of each period, a minimum of four balls should be spaced equidistant from each other 5 yards beyond the end lines and four on both sidelines the sideline opposite the benches. On the bench side, a minimum of four balls should be placed at the scorer’s table.

Rationale: Clarifies that the balls on the bench side are needed only at the table and not along the sideline.

Rule 3-1-2: ART. 2 . . . After the first half, any time the score differential reaches 12 goals or more, starting with the whistle resuming play, the clock will only be stopped for a team time-out, official’s time-out or an injury time-out. If the score differential is reduced to fewer than 12 goals, then normal play will resume. All penalties that occur during a score differential situation will be running time. In this situation, running penalty time begins with the next whistle resuming play.

Rationale: More accurately stipulates when the running clock begins.

Rule 4-22-1, 2, 3: ART. 1 . . . Once the official has signaled the ball ready for play, the official shall resume play within five seconds. Play may be resumed immediately after the ball is signaled ready for play if a player of the team awarded the ball is in position (see Articles 2 and 3) outside the goal area and officials are in position to officiate the restart.

ART. 2 . . . Any violation on the defense that occurs while the ball is in the goal area will result in the ball being awarded to the offended offensive team laterally outside the goal area.

ART. 3 . . . Any violation on the offense that occurs while the ball is in the goal area will result in the ball being awarded to the offended defensive team laterally outside the goal area. The defense may restart play with the ball in the goal area or in the crease.

ART. 4 . . . No restart shall take place with any player within 5 yards of the ball carrier.

ART. 5 . . . The goalkeeper shall be given a maximum of five seconds to re-enter the crease on any restart.

Rationale: Risk Minimization. Allows the defense to restart more quickly and keeps the game moving.

Rule 5-5: ART. 5 . . .  A player may not use a crosse that does not conform to required specifications. Use of an illegal crosse carries a one- or three-minute non-releasable penalty. A crosse found illegal due to a deep pocket will carry a one-minute non-releasable penalty. A player using a crosse found illegal for not meeting any required specification other than a deep pocket will receive a three-minute non-releasable penalty (exception:  hanging string length and end caps as in Rule 1-7-3). A player using a crosse found illegal because it was altered to gain an advantage will receive a three-minute non-releasable penalty. Any crosse ruled illegal and resulting in a three-minute penalty will remain in the table area for the remainder of the game.

Every crosse on a team is subject to inspection, and the crosse need not have been in the game to be inspected.

Rationale: This clarifies that an illegal stick will result in a penalty for not meeting specifications, even if unaltered.

Rule 6-4: No offensive player shall move into and make contact with a defensive player for the purpose of blocking a defensive player from the man he is playing, nor shall the offensive player hold his crosse rigid or extend his crosse rigid to impede the normal movements of the defensive player. If contact is made between offensive and defensive players as a result of the offensive player’s setting a screen, the offensive player shall be stationary before the contact occurs, with his feet no wider than shoulder-width apart.

Rationale: This provides consistency with other rule codes.

Rule 6-5-2e: e. Entering the game from the penalty area before authorized to do so by the timekeeper. The player shall be returned to the penalty area to serve his remaining time, plus 30 seconds. If the ball is loose or in possession of the player’s own team, it shall be awarded to the opposing team and the player leaving the penalty area early does not have to serve an additional 30 seconds. In the event that a goal is scored by the opponent, the unexpired penalty time is nullified, but the player still shall serve 30 seconds for illegal entry into the game and the 30-second penalty is erased.

Rationale: This provides consistency with other rule codes.

Rule 6-5-2w: w. Take a dive or feign a slash to the head or body in order to deceive the official and draw a penalty.

Rationale: This provides consistency with other rule codes.