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Boys lacrosse rules revisions focus on risk minimization

From the National Federation of High School Associations

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 31, 2008) - Beginning next season, boys lacrosse players must wear gloves that cover the palms. Gloves that have the palms cut out or were manufactured without palms will not be legal.

This clarification of Rule 5-5 is one of nine changes made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee at its July 15-16 meeting in Indianapolis.

"The previous wording of the rule did not specifically prohibit a player from wearing gloves manufactured without a palm," said Kent Summers, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee. "This revised wording clarifies that the gloves must cover the fingers and palms to minimize risk for players."

In an ongoing effort to minimize risk, Rule 1-9-2d was clarified regarding players wearing tinted eyeglasses. Players may wear tinted eyeglasses if they do not also wear a clear helmet eye shield. If a helmet eye shield is worn, the players must have clear glasses.

A note addition to Rule 1-9-1 states "The tooth and mouth protector shall be of any readily visible color other than white or clear and must cover all of either the upper or lower teeth with adequate thickness."

"This note aligns with the Point of Emphasis from the 2008 rules book and clarifies that a mouthguard that covers either the upper or lower teeth with adequate thickness is legal," said Summers.

Rule 1-7-4 was added to explain the diagram showing the tabletop test for determining a "relatively straight" crosse. The distance from the tabletop to the bottom edge of the head cannot exceed 2¾ inches at any point.

Three rules concerning substitutions were altered for clarification purposes. Rule 4-24-2f - which explained that special substitutions may take place while play is suspended, except when equipment violations occur - was deleted.

The verbiage of Rules 4-22-2a and 4-23-3 was revised to more accurately represent the intentions of the rules. Substitutions may occur when a goal is scored, a time-serving penalty is reported, a time-out is called or the timekeeper sounds the horn after a sideline out of bounds. This eliminates the need for coaches to call for a substitution horn after a goal or penalty. In addition, although a horn may sound, regular substitutions may not take place after play has been suspended for non-time serving violations or inadvertent whistles.

To align the rules book with lacrosse tradition, Rule 7-3 was changed to state "if the ball was in the goal area when play was suspended, play shall be restarted laterally outside the goal area nearest the spot of the ball at the time of the whistle." The ball should be brought to the alley for the restart instead of to the "top of the box."

Finally, Rule 7-6-4 explains that if neither team has possession at the time of simultaneous fouls, the ball shall be awarded according to the alternate possession rule, or, when a faceoff is pending in this situation, a faceoff will be held. This change clarifies that scheduled faceoffs take precedence and alternate possession should only be used to determine possession when there is no other way to award the ball.

In addition to the nine rules revisions, the committee also established three Points of Emphasis for the upcoming season: 1) mouthguards, 2) flagrant misconduct and 3) the NFHS Authenticating Mark on game balls.

Boys lacrosse had 71,524 participants in 1,588 schools during the 2006-07 season, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS.
This press release was written by Steve Appelhans, a summer intern in the NFHS publications/communications department and a senior at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, majoring in sport management.