The 2020 boy’s high school lacrosse season will experience some changes in the lacrosse rules that were approved during July 2019. Some of the changes to the rules will make players happy, while other’s may cause some discomfort. It’s going to be an interesting 2020 boy’s high school lacrosse season, and the NFHS is hoping to make lacrosse even more exciting.
No More “5 Yards”
The most notable change to the boy’s high school lacrosse rules is an alteration to the “5 yards” rule used for restarts. The previous version of the rule had refs waiting until all defensive players were outside of 5 yards from the restarting player before blowing the play live. Now, refs will ignore the positioning of defensive players and allow for a restart to begin with a defensive player within 5 yards. The kicker is that the defensive player within 5 yards must allow for an open lane to the goal and not defend the player until the restarting player creates a 5-yard gap.
NOCSAE Or No Play
Currently, you now must wear shoulder pads and chest protectors that were specifically designed for the sport of lacrosse. So sorry to the offseason football players who were reusing their other shoulder pads, and apologies to the guys who practically were wearing sports bras for shoulder pads. You now have to wear shoulder pads and goalie chest protectors made for lacrosse, but that’s not all. Starting in 2021, goalies will all need to get chest protectors that pass the NOCSAE ND200 standard. All players will have to follow the same for shoulder pads starting in 2022. Brands will be releasing pads that abide by this standard coming in the fall of 2019.
Stick Check Standard
The violation for an illegal stick used to depend on factors to determine the length of the penalty, but the rules are changing to a standard system. Now, illegal sticks of all kinds will be a two minute, non releasable penalty. You can also take that illegal stick and still use it if the infraction is fixable. So a pocket that is too deep can be tightened up, or a legal head can be taken of an illegal shaft and used elsewhere. The ability to fix certain issues isn’t new; however, fixable issues were treated differently before this rule change.
An Old School Throwdown
Throwing your lacrosse stick in any way during the course of a game is now always in an infraction. The target of your lacrosse stick really will determine your punishment. If you’re throwing your lacrosse stick at a person or the ball, you will be assessed a non releasable penalty between one and three minutes. The rule states player or game personnel, but we’re guessing throwing a stick at a fan would be just as much of a penalty. Throwing your stick in all other instances is considered an illegal procedure.
Always Play Man Down
One new rule change takes away the responsibility of the referee of having to penalize a team for not having enough players on the field. You may always play “man down” if you choose, but you’re going to have to commit to that lifestyle. If you are “man down” without the need and correct the situation during live play, you may be assessed a delayed substitution penalty. This is because you could possibly get a great jump on the ball or start a clear right out of the box, and a delayed substitution can not allow for an advantage through a delayed entry to the field.
Shortening the Dictionary
NFHS decided to eliminate the three following “Play of the Ball Definitions”:
- “ball in flight”
- “team possession”
- “completed pass”
Protect Our Boys
This rule, 4-24, is an absolute “no-brainer”; which is a terrible pun to put, but a needed one. Now, when a player is exhibiting the symptoms of a concussion, it will be an official’s time out to deal with the situation and have the player assessed. It’s honestly baffling that this wasn’t already falling under the present official’s time out rules; however, this could just be a further point of emphasis. Overall, it’s a rule we can’t complain about at all because it should get players medical attention quicker and more often if they possibly have a concussion.
Rule Changes Etc.
There are also rule changes to slow whistle techniques presently used by referees. These rule changes won’t necessarily affect how players play, but they may help players get the jump on defenders. Slow whistles normally prevent you from taking advantage of players who are out of position. With these current changes that are supposed to “streamline the game,” we may see an even faster version of high school lacrosse in 2020.