The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee, at its July 16-17, 2007 meeting in Indianapolis, approved several rules revisions to minimize risk in high school boys lacrosse.
The rules revisions, effective in 2008, subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. Heading the list of revisions is Rule 2-1-1, which states that a team must begin the game with at least 10 players, or it must forfeit. "We want to focus on minimizing risk in this situation," said Ron Belinko, chair of the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee. "The change was also made with consideration to uniformity with other NFHS rules codes."
Rule 1-6-1 was also revised to minimize risk for participants. It states that there must be one crosse with a measurement of 10 to 12 inches inside at its widest point at the bottom and top of the wall, and this crosse shall be used by the required designated goalkeeper. This rules revision was enacted to clarify that a properly equipped goalkeeper must be on the field at all times.
A series of rules revisions deals with the uniform. The first of these is Rule 1-9-1g, which emphasizes that the jersey must completely cover the shoulder pads, making it easier for the officials to call the game and prevent potential injuries. Rule 1-9-1l indicates that all players on the same team must wear uniform shorts of the same dominant color. Previously this was not addressed, although the color of compression shorts was specified.
To close out the uniform rules revisions, Rule 6-5-2u addresses uniform violations. If a team cannot correct a uniform violation prior to the start of a contest, a technical foul is assessed, and the ball will be awarded to the opposing team at the start of the game.
"Once the game begins, the uniform violations will not be penalized, as this differentiates them from illegal equipment violations and takes care of the problem prior to the beginning of the game," said Kent Summers, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee.
Six other rules revisions were approved by the committee. Rule 1-6-2 clarifies that a ball stop is not required when playing. In determining which player is closest on a shot, Rule 4-6-3a states that the ball is considered out of bounds when the ball crosses the plane of the endline or sideline. Rule 4-6-3c then explains that when a loose ball goes out of bounds as a result of a shot or deflected shot at the goal, it shall be awarded to the team with an inbounds player's body nearest to the ball when it went out of bounds, at the point where it was declared out of bounds. In this rule, the stick is not considered part of a player's body and now clarifies that the stick has no part in the determination of who is closest to the ball.
The final major rules revision, Rule 6-10-2a, clears up confusion by saying that the offensive stalling warning, other than in the last two minutes, remains in effect until a goal is scored or the defensive team takes possession. The committee also identified the major points of emphasis for the 2008 season. These include mouthguards, the NFHS authenticating mark and flagrant misconduct. Boys lacrosse had 65,044 participants in 1,395 schools during the 2005-06 season, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 13, 2007)
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