Orange Watch: Some proposed rule changes for NCAA lacrosse

Item: Let’s keep lacrosse, the fastest sport on two feet, just that – fast!

Does lacrosse need a faceoff after each goal is scored?

In the original days (1891) of Dr. James Naismith’s invention of the game basketball in Springfield, Mass., there was a jump ball after each made basket (score), before the rules evolved and the team that was scored upon inbounded the ball and went on offense.

lax2JUICE

Do we need faceoffs after every goal?

Would possession, perhaps at midfield, maybe back at the top of its own box, to the team that was just scored upon in lacrosse hurt the sport?

» Related: Syracuse defeated by Duke in championship game

No sour grapes here concerning the faceoff disparity and its direct effect on Duke beating SU Monday for the NCAA championship. There has been a season (2008) in which the ‘Cuse was a respectable 58% at the ‘X’and won a national title, so hats off to Duke and Brendan Fowler (62% faceoff success rate), the first-team All American at his position, who’s mastered the art of sticking the ball to the backside of his stick, and either flipping it to himself or in the direction of a charging teammate to gain, or in the case against SU, maintain ball possession.

It’s just that the faceoffs can so dramatically tilt the field; a lot of the competitiveness can be removed if basically one team has the majority of the scoring opportunities.

In addition, there has to be more consistency as to when to begin the “silent” 30 second shot clock if a team appears in the official’s eyes to not be making attempts to shoot on cage. The time of possession has fluctuated, sometimes wildly, before “clock on” was declared in all six games we covered in-person this season.

On the women’s side, not another year should go by without implementation of a shot clock. A team leading at the end of regulation in possession of the ball has absolutely zero incentive to shoot on net.

It’s come into play the last two seasons for SU coach Gary Gait and his team. A year ago against Northwestern in the NCAA championship game loss, and last week in the semifinal defeat to Maryland as the Terrapins basically ran out the final 2:50 of play leading by one.

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“The women’s game is an incredible (60 minute) game, fun to watch,” Gait said after his squad’s season ended. “It shouldn’t be 50 minutes, or 55 minutes, of great lacrosse and then keep away for the rest.”

“There’s certainly been many games this year that have been hard to watch and not very exciting for fans, and for the players to play. It’s time for our NCAA rules committee to step up and pull the trigger on doing something (instituting a shot clock) about it.”

Asked by Orange Watch if he was optimistic if that would happen for 2014, Gait could only remain hopeful that the rules committee would take the coaches recommendation for a shot clock seriously when it convenes this summer.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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