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Ask the Experts: 15 Boys’ Rules Questions

April 9, 2014    7165 Views

Stephen Berger | sberger13

15 Boys' Rules Questions

Dirk Dewachter

Related Story:
2014 Boys’ Lacrosse Rules: What You Need to Know

From time to time, participants submit questions about the US Lacrosse Youth Rules or National Federation of High School (NFHS) rules. To provide clarity on the 2014 rules, three of our resident experts — Walt Munze, US Lacrosse National Rules Interpreter, Eric Rudolph, US Lacrosse Men’s Game Rules Committee Chair, and Kent Summers, NFHS Rules Editor — have provided answers to 15 the most frequently asked questions so far this season.

Hopefully, the 15 questions and answers below will assist coaches and officials in more uniform enforcement of the rules and provide greater rules insight for all participants this season. You can download a copy of the Youth Boys’ Rules or purchase a copy of the NFHS rulebook on our boys’ rules homepage.

Note: All page references are relative to the 2014 NFHS Boys Rulebook.

  1. Since substitution is on the fly, does the scoring table administration need to have a horn at the table?

    Yes. According to rule 2-1-12 (page 20), the home team is required to have a timing device, a table and a working horn.

  2. During a man down situation, can a player be brought up to the wing area for the faceoff?

    No. Rule 4-4-3 (page 32) stipulates that there must be four players in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area during all faceoffs in penalty situations, except when a team has three players serving penalties.

  3. Can a team ever be required to play with less than seven players as a result solely of penalties?

    No. Rule 7-2f (page 72) stipulates that no more than three players can be in the penalty area at any time. Thus, a team cannot play with fewer than seven players solely because of penalties.

  4. What is the new rule affecting the stoppage of time during the last two minutes when there are multiple fouls?

    Rule 7-8-2k (page 79) specifies that, during a flag down situation (slow whistle) the officials will stop play to enforce penalties if a subsequent defensive foul occurs “during the final two minutes of regulation play with the team ahead possessing the ball in the goal attack area, unless a scoring play is imminent.”

  5. What is the penalty for a player who targets a player in a defenseless position? Or hits to the neck or head of a player?

    Rules 5-3-5 and 5-4 (page 52) stipulate that the penalty for either will be a two or three minute non-releasable foul with the possibility of ejection if the hit was excessively violent.

  6. Can a game be played without the use of NOCSAE approved balls?

    No. Beginning in 2014, all game balls must include the label that states “Meets NOCSAE Standard.”

  7. How many balls should be placed around the field?

    Rule 2-10-1 (page 25) states that, at the start of each period, a minimum of four balls should be spaced beyond the end lines and four balls on both sidelines.

  8. Can a player paint his face or write words on his face?

    No. Rule 1-10-1h (page 18) states that eye shade that is not a solid stroke or includes words, numbers, logos or other symbols is not allowed.

  9. Have the measurements of the substitution area changed?

    Yes. Rule 1-2-7 (page 8) provides for the substitution area to extend 10 yards on either side of the center line.

  10. Has there been any change to the offside rule?

    Yes. Rule 4-10-1 (page 37) states that a team is considered offside when it has: [a] more than six players in its offensive half of the field (including players in the penalty box) [b] more than seven players in its defensive half of the field (including players in the penalty box).

    Note: A team is no longer offside solely because they do not have three players on the offensive side or four players on the defensive side.

  11. Has the substitution horn been removed from the game?

    Yes. A revision this year to rule 4-21 eliminates the requirement to sound the horn for substitution when play is suspended.

  12. Can a faceoff player have tape on the handle extending up onto the plastic of the head?

    No. Rule 1-7-5 (page 13) states “any crosse used on a faceoff may not have tape on the plastic throat of the head."

  13. A team, having had possession of the ball in their defensive half of the field, is attempting to advance the ball across the center line when the defensive team commits a foul which starts a play-on. Is the 20-second timer reset because of the foul?

    Yes. If the 20 seconds had started when the play-on is called, the 20-second timer must be reset to allow a full 20 seconds after the play-on.

  14. A team, having had possession of the ball in their offensive half of the field, is attempting to advance the ball into the goal area when the defensive team commits a foul, which starts a play-on. Is the 10-second timer reset because of the foul?

    Yes. If the 10 seconds had started when the play-on was called, the 10-second timer must be reset to allow a full 10 seconds after the play-on.

  15. If a team is three men down on a faceoff, is the faceoff player offside when he touches the center line to faceoff?

    No. Since the team is allowed to bring a player up to face off, as long as the player is down for the faceoff, he should not be called for offside if his foot or hand is on or slightly over the line. Once faceoff is over, the normal offside rule would be enforced.

Did we miss your question? You can find additional resources and information online at

Stephen Berger serves as men’s game director at US Lacrosse and is entering his ninth season in Major League Lacrosse. He is a midfielder for the Boston Cannons.

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