Orange Watch: It’s time to tweak a couple of rules in Division I men’s lacrosse

Lacrosse could use a couple tweaks in the rules
Lacrosse could use a couple tweaks in the rules

Item: We agree with temperamental Denver lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney, who eased past Roy Simmons Jr. with his seventh NCAA national championship in 2015, when he says the sport needs a permanent shot clock, and allow for players to fall into the goal crease after an acrobatic shot on the cage.

Following Denver’s loss to Maryland in the semifinals of this past weekend’s NCAA lacrosse tournament at Gillette Stadium, Pioneers coach Tierney was lamenting a late call in which a Denver game-tying goal was waved off with 9.2 seconds to play when the Pioneers player fell into the crease after scoring. The call came less than a minute after a Maryland goal was waived off for the same reason and would have given the Terps a two goal margin.

“Honestly, we need a shot clock in this game, and we need to let the dive (a player flying through the air and landing into the crease area) be back in the game,” Tierney said after his team was ousted by this season’s eventual national champion Terrapins.

“It’s silly,” Tierney continued. “It’s silly to see a kid make an effort. And their guy too, by the way, seconds before that. I’m not just saying our guy. To see young men work as hard as they do and make that kind of athletic effort and have some guy in stripes say ‘no, no, no’.”

» Related: Syracuse lacrosse’s dream season ends with nightmare against Towson

Ever since the famous “Air Gait” goal by Gary Gait in the 1988 NCAA semifinal win over Penn when Gait leapt from behind the cage to stuff the ball into the net, there’s been talk about letting players fall into the crease after scoring a goal, or not.

In this day and age with players more athletic than ever, many one-time scholastic multisport standouts making the permanent switch to lax, outstanding athletic effort should not be penalized in the course of shooting on net no matter where a player lands on the field.

As to the 0:30 shot clock, since being inserted as part of the game in 2013, it’s been completely arbitrary as to how long during a team’s offensive possession it takes until the referees signal to start the clock, as there’s no doubt that in close games the officials opt to call for the clock quicker than during the other three quarters.

The NCAA rules committee should consider a permanent shot clock on each offensive possession, perhaps a 0:60 time period or even 0:45 to speed up the flow of play and negate the faceoff advantage that sometimes tilts a game’s outcome based on total possessions.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth 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.