US Lacrosse announced the 2018 rule changes and points of emphasis for youth and high school girls’ lacrosse. The US Lacrosse Rules Committee worked in collaboration with the National Federation of State High School Associations to develop the rules and points of emphasis.
The points of emphasis for 2018 highlight safety and the quality of the game:
Illegal Defensive Positioning: Emphasize the three second and shooting space rules to ensure that offense has the ability to create safe shooting opportunities.
Contact in the Midfield: Deliberate illegal contact (cross-checks/pushing) made to the body on players in a defenseless position must be carded.
Crosse in the Sphere: Stress that it is the responsibility of the defender to keep her stick out of the sphere and throat area of the ball carrier. Violations are a major foul, and repeated violations may be carded.
Professionalism: The rules committee continues to encourage all coaches, players, officials and administrators to conduct themselves in a professional manner before, during and immediately following all contests.
Several changes to the rules concern the draw, including the draw setup, which will require players to keep their crosses parallel to and above the center line. Players on the draw circle and the restraining line will be allowed to have their sticks touch the ground, making the draw consistent with other elements of play. Early starts by players not taking the draw will result in the ball going to the non-offending team at the spot of the ball, not the spot of the foul. An illegal draw by a player will result in a free position at the center line with the offending player placed four meters away and illegal draws by both players will result in a redraw.
Other changes include allowing the optional use of a 120-yard unified field for both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse to allow schools the option of lining one set of shared field markings, disallowing stick checks during timeouts and allowing table personnel to use a horn to notify officials of a timeout request by a coach.
At the youth level, rule changes include requiring pelvic protection for goalies, establishing guidelines for a goalkeeper free clear, and clarifying language that allows for legal contact during play, as long as the contact does not physically force an opponent off of her position or path.
The committee will monitor closely the combination of self-starts and free movement at the NCAA level for potential future implementation at the youth and high school level and has agreed to some level of self-start in 2019.
Additional changes to equipment and stick-string specifications will be issued in early September.