Lacrosse Rule Changes for 2000

There have quite a few rule changes for 2000, especially on the women's side.  Follow the links below to see what's new this spring.

Would you like your own copies of the men's or women's rule books?  Visit the the US Lacrosse web site (click on their logo at the left) or call 800-486-5530 (or, in Baltimore, 410-243-5530).


Men's Rule Changes Women's Rule Changes


Men's Rule Changes for 2000
The most significant change in the Year 2000 NCAA Men's Rule Book is not a rule change at all.  Actually it is a set of drawings in Appendix I that detail the crosse dimensions that officials use during equipment checks.  Those drawings are shown below the rule changes for 2000.

Also, to help with improving statistical accuracy, rules concerning record keeping have been moved to Appendix II.  This makes the records keeping rules easy to find.

Major Rules Changes

  • Exemption for limitation of side wall on gut-wall model crosse eliminated.  Gut-wall crosses have disappeared, so this definition has disappeared as well.

  • Added definition of side wall of crosse.  Since the days of the gut wall, the current wall needed to be defined.  In addition to a word definition of the side wall, a drawing has been added with arrows showing it.  Basically, the side wall is the straight (sides) of the head.

  • Side wall of crosse limited to two inches.  Now that the side wall has been defined, its size has been limited.  The side wall can't be more than 2" wide.  Think of it this way.  With the crosse lying flat on a table, the side wall should not be more than 2" high when viewed from the side.

  • Additional nonreleasable time added to continually abusive player count in maximum of five allowable.  This change involves counting personal penalties toward the five that result in the the player fouling out and having to leave the game.  This means that a player getting a non-releasable penalty after receiving a personal penalty will be assigned an additional penalty in the count.  In the past, if the penalty time was all served at the same time, it only counted as one penalty.  Now each additional non-releasable penalty (unsportsmanlike conduct) will add to the tally.

  • Hiding the 10th man in the special substitution area is illegal procedure.  The old "sleeper" play has now been classified as illegal procedure.

  • Maximum of three players permitted in special substitution area at one time.  First, one needs to understand that the special substitution area refers to what was formerly called the penalty box.  Therefore, this change means that a team having more than three players serving penalty time will have the additional penalties beyond three served AFTER the first of the three players in the penalty box has been released.  Those serving "delayed" penalties are still required to leave the field immediately, although they can be substituted for while they're waiting to serve.  When one of the current penalties expires (and there is a consecutive penalty to be served), the player whose penalty has expired must make an "on the fly" exchange, with the originally penalized player's substitute coming off the field.  Meanwhile, the originally penalized player takes up residence in the special substitution (penalty) area.  Yes, it's a little complicated!
Stick Check
  • As noted above, Appendix I of the 2000 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rules contains several illustrations that "show how officials conduct stick checks to determine the legality of crosses regarding the dislodgement of the ball and minimum dimensions" (p. 90).  LaxPower has obtained permission from the NCAA to reproduce these drawings, which some players and coaches may find helpful.

    The basic minimum dimensions for the head of the crosse and the length of the crosse are shown in the illustrations below.

    All illustrations are reprinted with the permission of the NCAA.

  • The drawing below illustrates the rule that applies to having a pocket that is too deep.

  • Finally, the two drawings below pertain to dislodgement of the ball from the crosse.  They may be a little easier to understand if you can think of the drawings rotated 90° counterclockwise.  Imagine that the stick is held parallel to your waist.  Then the drawing on your left reflects the crosse having been rotated from level with the ball rolling to the side wall, and drawing on the right reflects the ball having fallen out after further rotation of the crosse.


Women's Rule Changes for 2000
One rarely sees so many significant rule changes in one year!  Women's lacrosse with substitution "on the fly"?  With helmets?  Okay, they didn't add helmets--and they most assuredly do NOT want helmets in women's lacrosse.  Most of the changes for 2000 are outlined and discussed briefly below.  Quoted statements are from 2000 Women's Rules: Official Rules for Women's Lacrosse by US Lacrosse.

Rules Changes

  • Playing area.  The rules used to say that there needed to be 9m (10 yds) of playing space behind each goal circle.  The word "playing" has been deleted.  Please note, especially for the three paragraphs that follow, that the diagram of the playing area on page 12 of the rule book is NOT drawn to scale.  For example, the benches are obviously not on the end lines, and visible guidelines (see below) need to be on both sides of the field.

  • Restraining line.  The restraining line is not new to women's lacrosse.  However, as stated on page 5 (and in the special colored insert on page RL-1) of the new rule book, "The restraining line will now be used at all levels of play."  The insert contains "all pertinent restraining line information" and should prove helpful to coaches and players who are dealing with this rule for the first time.

  • Visible guidelines for playing boundaries.  Women's lacrosse has always had boundaries, just not visible ones.  Under this new rule, all fields must have solid or dotted "visible guidelines . . . to indicate the agreed upon playing boundaries" (p. 9).  The lines will be on both sides of the field and must be "at least 4m [13' 2"] from a change of surface, fence, or obstacle."  The rule is otherwise unchanged.  So, for example, if a player crosses over the line and is starting to lean back in, no call will likely be made.  It is possible that the player could run the entire length of the field outside the line (but very close to it) even while being marked.  However, if at any point she steps further away from the line in order to avoid a check, she would then be called.  And as before, if a player is asking for a pass when she is positioned outside the line, it is a foul if the pass is made.

  • Team substitution area.  Added this year are two team substitution areas 2 meters wide, one between each bench and the scorer's table.  If substitution occurs during play, "it must occur through the team substitution area by the scorer's table, with the player coming off the field before her substitute may go onto the field (this includes the goalkeeper)" (p. 22).  There is no stoppage of play for substitutions except after goals.  N.B. A substitute does not have to go in right away for the player leaving the field.  For example, she might enter when an opponent is running up that side of the field and pop out of the TSA and check her.  Or she might wait until her team gains possession of the ball and break from the TSA in an attempt to receive a pass on her way to the goal.  Other changes in substitution procedures are also outlined in revised Rule 9 (pp. 22-24).

  • Substitution "on the fly."  Here is a big change.  Teams can now substitute "an unlimited number of players at any time during play (including overtime), after every goal, and at halftime" (p. 22).  Teams must have "substitution cards/batons at the scorer's table" to signify the exchange.  This "on the fly" rule will certainly change how the game is played in some respects.  It is easy to substitute on the fly for players on the same side of the field as the bench.  The situation is certainly different for players on the opposite side, and substitution on the fly will have to be done more carefully for them.

  • Movement of coaches.  Coaches may still move along the full boundary line but "on the bench/table side of the field only" (p. 13).  They cannot be on the side of the field opposite the benches or behind the goal, and they may not walk directly in front of the other team's bench area (as before) or either team's substitution area (new).  Coaches are still supposed to "remain below the level of the scorer's table extended," but with many field set-ups, that rule is somewhat impractical and tends to be enforced with considerable flexibility.

  • Starting line-ups.  The official scorer is still supposed to record the starting line-ups 10 minutes prior to the start of the game, but now the rule book explicitly adds, "Changes to the starting line-up cannot be made until the game starts" (p. 52).  Changes can be made only using the normal substitution procedures (i.e., no alterations of the starting line-up can be made until after the game is underway).  The penalty for a violation is a free position instead of a draw.

  • Scoring play.  With "a second time" removed, Rule 19-A-4c3 now reads that a scoring play is over when (among four other conditions cited) "the attacking team passes or carries the ball behind the level of the goal line and stops the continuous attempt to score" (p. 47).  The deletion was made because some officials were waiting until the player went behind the goal line a second time, when continuous movement toward the goal (i.e., a "continuous attempt to score") would not likely permit the ball to be taken behind the goal a second time without the play having already blown up.

  • Leaving the field on a yellow card.  A player who receives a yellow card "must leave the field for 2 minutes of elapsed playing time" (p. 50).  The official timer is responsible for tracking the two minutes and telling the scorer when the player is allowed to return.  Should the player attempt to "return before the penalty time has elapsed, it will be considered misconduct."  The rule change should tend to discourage stick checking when the stick is in the head area and should generally reduce stick checking (as opposed to "body checking") at the high school level (also see "checking in youth lacrosse" below).

  • Uniform.  Previously, visible undergarments worn under the top had to be "the same predominant color as the top" (p. 19).  Now they can be "white for the home team, black for the visiting team."  We assume, however, that this would be reversed in those situations in which the home team wears its road or darker uniforms to accommodate a visiting team that, for example, may be traveling a considerable distance and playing two games in two or three days (without the opportunity to launder their uniforms).  One other small uniform change (p. 18) is that the bottom of the goalkeeper's uniform can now be black (or, as before, "in agreement with the team's predominant color").

  • Uniform/equipment violations.  If a player has been removed to fix or otherwise correct a uniform or equipment violation and if she "is not ready to re-enter when play is restarted, she must re-enter through the team substitution area" (p. 20).  What, you mean you won't wait while I remove the five studs from each ear and run to my car to get my mouth piece?  No, thank you, we'd rather play lacrosse.

  • Y.E.S. Lacrosse! Youth Rules.  These rules "have been completely revised and updated" and now appear as a part of the official rules (in a separate section beginning on page 89).  Guidelines are provided for age groupings, and three different levels of playing rules are available (from Level C for younger players to Level A for older and more experienced players).  This section should prove to be extremely helpful to people working with youth lacrosse.

  • Checking in youth lacrosse.  Checking the crosse of an opponent is not permitted for players on teams below 7th grade.  For 7th and 8th grade teams, only "modified checking" is allowed (p. 36).  This is defined as "checking the stick only if it is below the shoulder level.  The check must be in a downward motion and away from the body" (p. 59).  The rule book adds, "crosse to cross contact is not necessarily a violation of this no checking rule" (p. 36).  As explained later (p. 88), a defender in good position could force an attack player to cradle into her stick and thereby cause contact.  Similarly, a defender may use her stick to try to block or intercept a pass.  If the attacker makes contact with the defender's stick in the act of attempting to pass or catch the ball, the attacker (as in the first example) initiated the contact, and no violation of this rule has occurred.

  • Holding the ball in youth lacrosse.  Players at all levels may not hold the ball for more than 5 seconds when they are closely guarded or marked (i.e., an opponent within a stick's length) "and the defense is in position to legally check were checking allowed" (p. 92).  The Y.E.S. Lacrosse rules go on to note (p. 93):
    If the player with the ball takes the stick to the other side of her body and thus away from the defender making a legal check impossible, the 5-second count would be over.  If the defender adjusts her position to where a legal check could be made . . . [or] if another teammate joins the defender and . . . is in good position to check, the count starts over again.  The purpose of this rule is to encourage good defensive positioning and to make the offensive player aware of her defender.

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Dr. Laurence Feldman, Executive Director
Dr. Robert Kroshefsky, Director of Men's Lacrosse
Dr. Daniel Larsen, Director of Women's Lacrosse

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