The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and USA Lacrosse have announced boys’ rules changes that will be effective for the 2024 youth and high school seasons. USA Lacrosse and the NFHS collaborate annually on rule changes.
Safety and rule enforcement were the prominent themes in this year’s rule changes and points of emphasis. Specific focus was given to stick and equipment enforcement clarifications aimed at enhancing player safety. Additionally, a point of emphasis on checks involving the head and neck is reinforced at the high school level of play with the addition of a one minute non-releasable penalty.
“The rules committees worked collaboratively to clarify and strengthen the rules and enforcement available for officials to tighten up some areas of concern around safety, equipment, and dangerous contact,” said Caitlin Kelley, senior director for sports administration at USA Lacrosse and liaison to the NFHS and USAL Boys’ Lacrosse Rules Committees.
Rule 1-6-1 and the new 1-6-2 now distinguishes the field player crosse specifications from the goalkeeper crosse specifications into two separate articles in the rulebook for greater simplicity.
Rule 1-9-1 clarified the language regarding mandatory equipment, adding that equipment must be worn as the manufacturer intended. Additionally, all equipment must be specifically designed for lacrosse.
The committee added language to Rule 1-9-1h4 that notes jersey numbers shall be a single solid color that clearly contrasts with the body color of the jersey. The Youth Rules, while recommending the adoption of the NFHS uniform standards, still allows more leeway on uniform requirements.
The committees added language to Rule 2-2 that now allows for multiple captains to be designated before the start of the game.
Rule 2-7-2 was adjusted to specify that the CBO should be counting the number of long crosses on the field without the need for it to be requested by a coach.
Rule 3-3 was modified by adding the language of “get it in” which is commonly used during play but was not previously included in the rulebook.
Rule 4-3-3i now defines what is considered an illegal body check during the faceoff, and the word “immediately” was removed from Rule 4-3-3j in order to offer greater clarification.
Rule 4-6-3c and 4-3-2 were adjusted to reduce the number of instances that rely on alternate possession. The committees wish to limit alternate possession to situations where there has been an error made by officials or a situation that is out of the official’s control.
Rule 4-24-11 is a new rule that specifies when a player has his helmet come off during play, play shall be immediately suspended, the player must leave the field, and the player cannot return until the next dead ball following the resumption of play.
New Rule 5-4-2 was also added to provide officials an additional one minute non-releasable penalty option for incidental contact to the head/neck area. Note: This new one-minute penalty option was not approved for youth play as the youth committee felt that the stronger two-minute penalty remained a better option to control play.
The committees also added clarifying language to Rule 6-1-1 regarding penalty enforcement against a team not in possession of the ball.
Rule 6-6-4 regarding a defensive player, other than the properly equipped goalie, entering the player’s own crease with the intent of blocking a shot or acting as a goalkeeper, was added as a new conduct foul. It was previously listed as a conduct foul under Rule 4-18-4 but was not listed in the conduct foul section of the rulebook.
One specific rule change for the youth level is the allowance of one-handed stick checks for 12U and 14U youth play. The committee felt that the penalties around slashes were in place to ensure rules for safe play and that development of one-handed checks at this 14U and 12U level was an important part of the safe progression of skills for the players.
USA Lacrosse training materials for the 2024 season will be updated in the near future and can be accessed online at www.usalacrosse.com/boys-and-mens-rules.
A complete listing of the boys’ high school lacrosse rules changes are available on the NFHS website.
Questions about boys’ rule changes can be submitted via email to email@example.com.