The NCAA men’s lacrosse rules committee has spoken. The game is too slow. Looking to increase the pace of play in the sport, the committee has recommended a 30-second countdown for teams to take a shot after the referee has issued a stall warning, and major changes regarding faceoffs and substitutions.
Shot Clock After Stall Warnings
Under the proposal, when a team is given a stall warning, a shot must be taken within 30 seconds. The count will be administered by the on-field officials and there will not be a visible clock. A valid shot is defined as an attempt to score that is on goal (e.g., saved by the goalkeeper, hits the goal cage, goal scored). If the 30 seconds expires without a shot on goal, the ball will be awarded to the defensive team. The “get it in, keep it in” call has been removed.
The protocol referees will follow is below:
- Officials signal a stall warning and start the 20-second timer.
- At the end of the 20-second timer, a 10-second hand count is administered by the official closest to the ball. This official has responsibility for the count until a shot is taken or the time expires.
- During the 30-second period, situations where a shot goes out of bounds and the offensive team maintains possession will be handled in this manner:
- With more than 10 seconds remaining in the count, the timer continues to run and the procedure continues.
- If the timer expires before the restart, a 10-second count will be administered beginning on the restart.
- With less than 10 seconds remaining, the official shall hold the hand count when the whistle blows and continue the count on the restart. For example, if the ball goes out of bounds with eight seconds remaining on the count, that count continues on the restart. The official shall communicate the amount of time remaining on the restart.
- A shot that hits the goal cage or is saved by the goalkeeper and then possessed by the offensive team nullifies the stall warning and the game continues.
- In a flag down situation, the shot count will continue until it expires or a shot is taken.
- Stalling will not be called during a man advantage.
- If a shot hits a defensive team player other than the goalkeeper, it will not be considered a shot on goal.
The committee also clarified that it is the responsibility of the team in possession to try to create a scoring opportunity. There are exceptions to this requirement: If the offensive team has the ball in the attack area and the defensive team is not playing the ball, a stall warning will not be issued until either (1) the defensive team attempts to play the ball or (2) the offensive team brings the ball outside the attack area.
However, a stall warning may be issued when the offensive team has the ball outside the attack area or below the goal line extended regardless of whether the defensive team is playing the ball.
The committee had several lengthy discussions regarding pace of play, which included adding a shot clock.
“We did put in some components of counting, but did not feel a mandated count on each possession was in the best interest of the college game,” said Jon Hind, chair of the committee and athletics director at Hamilton. “By creating this procedure, it puts a timing component into the game, but only when it is necessary.”