By Greg Johnson
The NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee at its meeting last week in Indianapolis recommended significant changes to the carding structure for players and coaches.
All rules committee proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which next meets via conference call July 13.
One recommendation by the committee would require short-handed teams to play one person down on the offensive and defensive ends of the field below the 30-yard restraining line. Or in other words, four players must remain above the restraining line in the defensive zone.
Committee members believe the new rule strengthens the penalty for a yellow card foul, which in turn encourages safer play.
In addition, the committee recommended that all yellow cards become two-minute releasable penalties. For example, if a player on Team A receives a card and Team B scores before the two minutes are served, the player on Team A will be allowed to return to the field after the goal.
If a team has multiple players serving yellow cards, only one player will be released following a goal.
Previously, players with yellow cards were required to serve a non-releasable three minutes.
“Since the penalty is stricter, and with the likelihood that a team could be scored on, we reduced the length of the penalty time and made it releasable,” said NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Committee chair Danie Caro, who coaches at Quinnipiac. “It is similar to what is done in ice hockey and men’s lacrosse.”
Another carding proposal requires players who are issued yellow cards to serve their penalties behind the substitution box, which is located five yards on both sides of midfield near the scorer’s table. Any player who returns to the game before her penalty is up will have to start serving another two-minute releasable penalty.
In other action approved by the committee, any yellow card issued to the bench will be given to the head coach, instead of the individual who may have been called for the infraction. Any time a head coach receives a yellow card, that team must have a player serve a two-minute releasable penalty.
“The head coach becomes accountable for the behavior on the sidelines,” Caro said.
The committee also recommended that two experimental rules that were implemented in the 2010 non-traditional fall season competition become rules.
The first states that the maximum number of players from each team allowed between the restraining lines during the draw be reduced from five players to three players. This includes the two players taking the draw. Committee members feel this rule will enhance player safety.
The other experimental rule recommended for full implementation involves the penalty administration for offsides by the attacking team. This change will give possession and free position at the spot of the ball, instead of four meters ahead of the restraining line as the previous rule read.
Other proposals passed by the committee included:
Officials will meet with both coaches at the same time at least 10 minutes before the start of the match.
“This way if one coach has a question the other coach can hear it and become part of the conversation,” Caro said. “This will be a standardized meeting.”
The committee elected Celine Cunningham (Stevens Institute of Technology women’s lacrosse coach) as chair for the 2011-12 academic year. Missy Doherty, Penn State women’s lacrosse coach, was named vice-chair.