New York Lizards Blog

Boys' High School Lacrosse Rules Updated for 2018

Posted by Tom Hallissey on Jan 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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The National Federation of State High School Associations Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee recently revised its officiating guidelines and points of emphasis for the 2018 season. From stick specifications to mouth guards, these rule changes aim to improve play and enhance safety.

New Lacrosse Rules and Points of Emphasis you need to Know

Field Dimensions

Under the new lacrosse rules, high schools have the option of a third type of field layout. The new unified boys and girls field aims to help school districts save money. It allows schools to line only one set of shared boys’ and girls’ lacrosse field markings. If applied, this will create a larger playing field with additional space behind the goal.


Pockets of non-traditional mesh will be permitted in boys’ high school lacrosse next year. However, these webbings must still conform to current stick stringing rules.

Mouth guards

In 2018, the foul for the failure to wear a mouthpiece will change from a personal foul to a technical foul to encourage players to follow this important rule.

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Under the new 2018 boys’ high school lacrosse rules, players who take face-offs must have a visible contrasting color between the head and top glove on their shaft. Face-off players are allowed to make contact first, but only legal contact is permitted. For example, body checks must be below the neck, above the waist and to the front side of an opponent.

Crosse Dimensions

The circumference of a player’s shaft is not to exceed 3.5 inches. Officials are instructed to make sure that the reverse surfaces of the crosses match evenly so that the top of a stick’s head lines up with its throat and both are perpendicular to the ground.

  • The crosse is limited to an overall length of 40 to 42 inches for a short stick or 52 to 72 inches for a long stick.
  • A goalie’s crosse may be between 40 and 72 inches.
  • The head of a stick at its widest point must measure between 6 ½ and 10 inches, inside measurement, at the top and bottom of the sidewall.
  • The walls of any player’s crosse may not be more than two inches high.

This rule was changed to address the issue of the ball getting stuck in a player stick.

At the Buzzer

The NFSHA will also now allow the lacrosse equivalent of a buzzer-beater. A goal will be counted if the shot is released prior to end of a time period. Previously, the association’s lacrosse rules stated that the ball must cross the plane of the goal before time expired.

A Modification of Stalling Rules

The stall warning will remain in effect until:

  • A goal is scored
  • A shot hits the goal pipes or any part of the goalie
  • The defensive team gains possession
  • The period ends resulting in a faceoff

After a warning, stalling will be called if the ball leaves the goal area in any manner other than a shot on goal or a touch by the defense.

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Resuming Play after a Penalty

In the event of a penalty in the offended team’s offensive half of the field, the ball will be placed in play at the spot where the ball was when play was suspended. If the ball was in the goal area when play stopped, the game will be restarted nearest to the spot of the ball at the time of the whistle, 20 yards laterally outside the goal area.

Uniform Colors

Beginning in 2022, the home team will be required to wear white jerseys, while the away team must wear a non-white color.

Slow Whistle

If there is a flag down during a slow whistle situation, the attacking team is no longer required to keep the ball in the goal area. If necessary, the official may call stalling in this situation.

“The committee believes the sport of boys’ lacrosse is currently in very good shape,” said James Weaver, director of performing arts and sports and staff liaison for boys lacrosse at NFSHA. “The committee is excited to continue looking into the health and safety of the sport, while minimizing risk during its growth.”

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