Men’s lacrosse panel reverse decision on faceoff grip

A ruling that had banned the use of the “motorcycle” grip on faceoffs in men’s lacrosse has been reversed.

After reviewing membership feedback, the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee retracted a decision made at its August meeting and decided to allow players to use the grip on faceoffs.

That action and others will be forwarded to the Playing Rules Oversight Panel for review and voting on Sept. 21.

The committee had voted to eliminate the “motorcycle” grip due to a concern that this approach to the faceoff seemed to allow some players to use unfair tactics and gain an advantage. After hearing numerous comments from the membership, though, the committee voted to allow this style, but also approved a point of emphasis to focus on illegal tactics, particularly touching the opponent’s crosse with any part of the body.

“Many of our coaches voiced concern that removing this grip would basically eliminate some student-athletes from the game,” said Jon Hind, chair of the committee and athletics director at Hamilton. “Ultimately, we are trying to have fair faceoffs, and with the point of emphasis, we think that will help. This is an example of the rules process working, and we appreciate the membership feedback.”

The committee also clarified that tape of a contrasting color must be placed on the handle just below the throat of the crosse of the players taking the faceoff to assist officials.

A proposal to experiment in fall practices with moving the faceoff players farther apart was also rescinded. While the committee continues to be interested in experimenting with this aspect of the faceoff, there was some concern that this experiment might have an unintended result.

The proposal regarding shooting strings also was adjusted slightly after more research was conducted. The committee extended the allowable area to have shooting strings up to but not touching 4 inches from the top of the crosse. The initial proposal called for a 3 ½-inch limit.

“The committee members had their teams string their sticks and found that 3 ½ inches could cause some issues, especially with the enforcement of the standard,” Hind said. “Adding a little more room achieves the goal without unduly penalizing some sticks.”

The committee also discussed and clarified the proposed penalty enhancements relating to repeated faceoff violations.

First, the committee noted that the new rule calling for a penalty after three violations on the same team per half applies to both pre- and post-whistle faceoff violations.

Second, the committee clarified that on the third and any subsequent violation, the in-home would be the player to serve the penalty. Finally, violations by the wing players before or during the faceoff will count toward the three per half.

Perhaps the largest change the committee made – adding a shot clock procedure when a team is warned for stalling – earned the most membership support.

The committee did clarify procedures that relate to the calling of team timeouts, however. If the offensive team calls a timeout when the shot clock is engaged, the team will be granted the timeout. If there are more than 10 seconds remaining in the count, the shot clock will be moved to 10 seconds on the restart. If there are fewer than than 10 seconds, the count will continue from the point where it was stopped at the timeout.

If the defensive team calls timeout, the shot clock will be reset to 30 seconds on the restart.

The committee clarified wording for its rule relating to contact to the head, removing any reference to a deliberate action being required for this foul to be enforced.

“Without question, we are concerned about the safety of our student-athletes,” Hind said. “We have taken a strong stance on this rule, but felt we needed to remove the word ‘deliberate’ from this rule to be as clear as we possibly can.”

Finally, the committee’s points of emphasis for the 2013 season are:

Touching either crosse on faceoffs;
Illegal tactics when defending (for example, cross-check/hold); and
Sideline behavior.
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