INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 18, 2009). Beginning next season, boys lacrosse players must wrap their fingers around the handle of the crosse during a faceoff.
The clarification of Rule 4-3-4 was one of nine changes made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee at its July 14-15 meeting in Indianapolis and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
"Fingers may not touch the head of the crosse," said Kent Summers, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee, "and further, a player must wrap his fingers around the handle."
In other changes:
- A team which fails to have a properly-equipped goalkeeper on the field at the beginning of the game now forfeits the contest (Rule 2-1-1). A failure to have a properly equipped designated goalkeeper is also illegal procedure (Rule 6-5-2t).
- The rule on body checking (Rule 4-16) has been clarified to ensure more consistent enforcement: it now legal where either the opposing player is in possession of the ball, within five yards of a loose ball or when the ball is in flight within five yards of a player.
- Rule 6-3-2f now makes holding the crosse of an opposing party by "locking down" a defender's stick with an arm or any other part of the body is illegal.
Major editorial changes
- Rule 4-3-1 was clarified to more clearly state the rules on possession at the end of a period, awarding possession to the team that would have been awarded possession after the penalty or entitled to possession by a play-on. If neither team has a man advantage, the next period begins with a faceoff.
- Rule 4-6-3a now provides that "In the case of a loose ball declared out of bounds, the location of the restart is determined by the point where the ball broke the plane of the boundary line."
- Rule 4-9-2k was changed to clarify the procedure in Rule 5-4 Situations D and E. followed if a player adjusts the strings or crosse in any way before an official has inspected the stick.
- The rules committee added a new sentence to the first paragraph of Rule 7-3: "If the ball has crossed the end line prior to the penalty occurring, the ball shall be restarted at that spot." As a result, any simultaneous foul (either live ball or dead ball) will have the same restart location and clarifies last year's original change to this rule.
Points of emphasis
In addition to the nine rules revisions, the committee also established five Points of Emphasis for the upcoming season:
- pregame management and risk minimization;
- enforcement of current body check rules;
- reminding players and coaches that, although the NCAA has revised stick specifications beginning with the 2010 season, the NFHS stick dimensions have not changed;
- stalling; and
- crosse construction.
Boys lacrosse had 88,596 participants in 1,984 schools during the 2008-09 season, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS.
Source: National Federation of State High School Associations press release