Eastern MA Lacrosse Officials Association
Eastern MA Lacrosse Officials Association

Key NFHS and NCAA Rule Differences by Category

Eye shade

  • HS—single, solid stripe below eye socket and above cheek bone
  • NCAA—no restriction


Goal mouth/diving

  • HS—no goal mouth used, any diving before/during/after shot and lands in crease and any goal is disallowed
  • NCAA—if goal mouth present, no goal if contact with crease/goal mouth either before or after goal is scored, contact with goalie in goal mouth could be penalized if not caused by defender illegal contact
    • If no goal mouth present, confirm with coaches how crease calls to be made/penalized


Mercy rule

  • HS MIAA—12 or more goals in 4th quarter, goes to running time for rest of game
  • NCAA—game can conclude by mutual consent of head coaches after completion of 3 quarters


Wearing of equipment
  • HS—equipment worn as the manufacturer intended, 
  • NCAA/NILOA--equipment worn as intended
  • At all levels
    • mouth guards worn properly, all chin straps buckled, worn on chin
    • Notify at lineup what is expected
    • If needed, announce at a dead ball to both teams to comply
    • If needed, take ball and award to other team, announce why
    • If needed, flag down technical foul
      • Chin straps—during dead ball tell player to snap on, offer to assist them if needed
      • Mouth guards—to make this call be sure if it was not worn correctly or if it came out during live ball play
      • Equipment worn as the manufacturer intended


Illegal stick

  • HS—all violations are 2 minutes, non-releasable, corrected stick can return to game
  • NCAA—deep pocket is 1 minute, non-releasable, corrected stick can return to game; all other violations are 3 minutes, non-releasable, stick remains at table for rest of game


Calling for timeouts—at both levels, when dead ball on field of play due to play on or crease violation, only team entitled to ball can call timeout (player on field or head coach)

  • HS—during live ball, team with ball can request when anywhere on field
  • NCAA—during live ball, team with ball must be across their offensive restraining line; dead ball stoppage within field, only team with/entitled to ball can call timeout


Face off violations

  • HS—award ball, violator does not have to leave field, no limit on number of violations
  • NCAA—award ball, third and subsequent violation in a half on a team is time serving delay of game technical foul


Advancing ball/shot clock

  • HS—20 seconds to cross center line with or without possession, once possession in offensive half then 10 seconds from center line to goal area
  • NCAA—across midline before 60 seconds on shot clock CONFIRM NUMBER OF SECONDS
    • If no shot clock, confirm with both coaches what counts to be used and who will keep the count, typically a 20 second clearing count and then 60 on game clock for valid shot WHAT ELSE


Shot clock resets, for NCAA only

  • If shot clock between 61 and 80 and play stopped for penalty, play on award of ball, shot clock is reset to 80
  • If shot clock between 1 and 60 and play stopped for penalty, play on award of ball, shot clock is reset to 60
  • Valid shot (hits goalie or pipe) resets shot clock to 60 regardless of actual time on shot clock
  • Defensive injury stoppage, shot clock goes to XX, offensive injury stoppage, shot clock stays same as when stoppage occurred


Over and back called if ball returns to defensive half and last touched by offensive team (a shot negates over and back call)

  • HS—once ball enters goal area
  • NCAA—once shot clock at or below 60 seconds


Helmet comes off—regardless of what caused it to come off, kill play unless a shot in flight, allow shot to conclude then kill play

  • HS—player comes off field until next dead ball after restart
  • NCAA—if offensive player loses helmet, comes off field until next dead ball after restart
    • If defensive player loses helmet, technical foul, time serving foul if possession by offensive team, if loose ball or possession by defensive team, ball awarded to offensive team, player comes off field until next dead ball after restart


Goalie out of crease restarts

  • HS—5 seconds to return to crease
  • NCAA—no delay, regular restart


  • HS-Opposing team must either be at restart 5 yards from the ball or if within 5 yards of ball at restart they must reach 5 yards from ball before defending ball/player
  • NCAA-No teammates of player with ball allowed within 5 yards


Flag down slow whistle, continuation

  • HS—until second flag on offending team, foul by offended team, offending team gains possession
  • NCAA—until foul by offended team, offending team gains possession, additional flags may be thrown


Non-goalie in crease to block a shot

  • HS—if shot in flight, kill play after shot completed, if shot results in goal, foul wiped out, if no goal scored, time serving technical for the player in crease
    • For second time on a team, same as above but if no goal scored, time serving unsportsmanlike, releasable for the player in crease
    • If possessed by offensive team but no shot, kill play immediately, time serving technical for player in crease
    • If loose ball, kill play immediately, award to offensive team
  • NCAA—no restriction


Stalling/Get It In, Keep It In

  • HS—in last 2 minutes of game the team ahead by 4 or fewer goals is in Get It In/Keep It In or when officials judge team not attacking the goal
  • NCAA—no restriction due to use of shot clock


Warding off

  • HS—ball carrier with 2 hands on stick can use arm/hands to direct opponent’s stick away, contact on opponent’s body is warding off
  • NCAA—ball carrier with 2 hands on stick may hold, push, control stick or body of opponent (not head/neck)
  • Both levels, ball carrier may not use head to initiate contact on opponent—ward or possible spearing/illegal body check


Other differences below but penalties not to be called unless circumstances force it:


Improperly lined field—notify home coach of issue, no penalty if not corrected unless visiting coach makes it an issue (try to talk visiting coach out of it), if still an issue, give home coach time to correct, if not corrected then award ball to visiting team

  • HS—illegal procedure, no face off, award ball to visiting team
  • NCAA—if corrected but start delayed, illegal procedure, no face off, award ball to visiting team; if not corrected, 3 minute non releasable on in home
  • Notify assignor after game
Face off sticks
  • HS--contrasting color between head and top glove, by shaft color, paint, single wrap of tape
  • NCAA--contrasting color to head, gloves and shaft by paint or single wrap of tape on shaft down 6 inches from head, tape not to touch head 
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