For the Glove of the Game: Equipment Violation Calls Attention to NCAA Rule


Ohio State faceoff specialist Matthew Fritz's gloves were a topic of conversation Friday night due to their mismatching colors.

An obscure NCAA men’s lacrosse rule requiring all players to wear the same-colored gloves became a hot-button topic Friday night during a nationally televised game between Maryland and Ohio State.

The visiting Terps rallied from a three-goal deficit to defeat the Buckeyes 12-11 in overtime. Braden Erska scored the game-winning goal.

But the real drama unfolded toward the end of regulation.

After Maryland tied it with 2:09 remaining, coach John Tillman called the officials’ attention to Ohio State faceoff specialist Matthew Fritz’s gloves. They were white with gray and scarlet trim. Some players wore gray gloves with scarlet and white trim, meaning the Buckeyes were in violation of Rule 1, Section 21 of the NCAA rulebook, which states, “All players on a team shall wear gloves of the same dominant official team color unless safety reasons require a different color glove to be worn.”

The officials called Ohio State for illegal procedure and awarded Maryland the possession. While it did not affect the outcome of the game — Jack Koras’ shot was blocked and the Buckeyes had a chance to win it in the final seconds of the fourth quarter — coach Nick Myers clearly took umbrage with the gamesmanship. He could be seen yelling toward the Maryland bench before play resumed.

“The colors of the glove? C’mon. That’s ticky-tack,” Big Ten Network analyst Mark Dixon said during the broadcast.

Dixon is also a lacrosse official.

“That is ridiculous,” he said. “Color of the glove does not give you an advantage. This is silly. … Maryland has poked a bear here with this glove color situation.”

Play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati asked Tillman about the decision in a live post-game interview.

“The game was going on. Somebody had mentioned, ‘Hey, why are they using different gloves?’ I said, ‘That’s a good question.’ So I just asked the ref. ‘Don’t they all have to use the same gloves?’ I left it that,” Tillman replied. “He was like, ‘Do you want a glove check?’ I go, ‘No. I’m not asking for a glove check. I’m just asking a question.’ Those guys met and they made a decision.”

“I didn’t ask for anything,” Tillman added. “I was kind of disappointed by what happened. People didn’t have the facts of what happened. All I did was ask a question. During a game, I’m going to ask officials, ‘Hey, was that a push? What about that?’ We have conversations and that was just one thing that came up. They made their decision. That’s not for me to decide. I ask them a couple of things, like about some picks and things like that during a game. I’m always going to have those conversations. All coaches do.”

It certainly made for some compelling TV, not that there was any shortage of that Friday night. All four Division I men’s lacrosse games were televised nationally.

On ESPNU, Shane Knobloch delivered the game-winner on a crafty off-hip runner in overtime to lift No. 13 Rutgers to a 13-12 win over No. 18 Michigan.

On CBS Sports Network, Navy sprung a top-20 upset for the second straight week, as Henry Tolker scored a career-high six goals and Pat Ryan made 23 saves in an 11-10 victory over No. 10 Loyola.

On ACC Network, No. 3 Virginia got back on track with a 19-12 win at No. 11 North Carolina despite being without Tewaaraton candidate Connor Shellenberger, who was out with what the team called a lower-extremity injury.


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