NCAA Women's Lacrosse Rules Committee Looks to Make Games More Efficient

PHOTO BY KEVIN P. TUCKER

Drexel's Colleen Grady burst onto the scene to help lead a potent Dragons offense in 2021.


The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee is considering rule changes that would aim to make games more efficient, according to NCAA.org.

Any rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Women’s rules will be discussed by the panel on July 21.

The focus by the Rules Committee is to maintain the 60-minute duration of the game clock while shortening the overall length of time it takes to complete a game. The focus is to lessen the number of clock stoppages in games. Minimizing timeouts and eliminating pregame stick checks (while also revisiting in-game stick check policies) are two of the changes under consideration.

“Our changes reflect timing efficiencies in order to best spotlight high-action playing minutes,” said Kathy Railey, NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee chair and associate athletics director, senior woman administrator and head coach at Stevenson. “We continued our effort to keep our game safe, while maintaining the many unique characteristics of NCAA women’s lacrosse.”

For the full release and insights as to what else the Rules Committee is considering, continue below.







Full Release

The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee proposed a package of rules changes with the goal of making the game more efficient, beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.

All rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss women’s lacrosse rules proposals July 21.

Shortening the duration of the game without taking away the 60 minutes on the game clock dominated the committee’s discussion. Committee members also wanted to maintain the freedom-of-movement principles that were established in the summer of 2017.  

Members of the committee, which met virtually last week, think fewer stoppages in the game can be achieved through the following modifications:

  • The game clock would continue running, while the possession clock would stop or reset, during the following:

    • Fouls committed below goal line extended.

    • Fouls committed above goal line extended more than 8 meters from the goal circle.

    • Alternate possession.

    • Offside fouls.

  • The possession clock would reset to 60 seconds if the offense retains possession of the ball after a save by the goalkeeper and rebound or if a shot hits the piping on the goal.

  • The game would be played in four 15-minute quarters instead of two 30-minute halves. Play would resume after two minutes, and teams would switch directions after each quarter.

  • Timeouts permitted by each team in regulation would be reduced to two per game. Currently, each team has three timeouts in regulation. 

  • Pregame stick checks would be eliminated.

  • Coaches would no longer be able to request stick checks during their team’s timeout.

Coaches could request stick checks at any point during halftime; during the five-minute or three-minute rest time before an overtime period; before the start of the draw before the official’s hands are on the drawers’ sticks; and in between quarters.

  • If the first stick check request is unsuccessful, the team would lose possession of the ball. If a second stick check request is unsuccessful, the team would lose a timeout. A team would have to have a timeout remaining to request a second stick check if the first stick check resulted in a legal ruling.

  • Teams would be allowed up to 12 eligible players on the field at the start of the draw. Once the official’s hands are on the drawers’ sticks, no substitutions would be allowed until a team gains possession of the ball, even if a team has fewer than 12 players on the field. Currently, teams are required to have 12 eligible players on the field before the administration of the draw. This change would eliminate any delay associated with that requirement. 

  • If a delay is caused in administering the draw and fault cannot be determined, alternate possession will be administered in lieu of resetting the draw or administering a redraw. The team awarded possession would be permitted to self-start. 

“Our changes reflect timing efficiencies in order to best spotlight high-action playing minutes,” said Kathy Railey, NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee chair and associate athletics director, senior woman administrator and head coach at Stevenson. “We continued our effort to keep our game safe, while maintaining the many unique characteristics of NCAA women’s lacrosse.”

Dangerous contact cards

The committee recommended making contact with a stick to another player’s neck an offense that warrants a mandatory card. Also, when a player is behind an opponent, cross-checking to the shoulders and back would also be punishable with a card.

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