Minnesota Lacrosse Umpires Association (MLUA)

Providing sports officials to girl's & women's lacrosse teams in the upper midwest US.


Question #1 – Shooting Space (Immediate Whistle)

Question #2 – Draw Out Of Bounds Administration

Question #3 – Intentional 3 Second Attempt

Question #4 – Player Equipment (Splints)

Question #5 – Pre-Game Meeting

Question #6 – Running Clock

Question #7 – Illegal Stick Placement

Question #8 – Held Crosse

Question #9 – Expired Half With Pending Free Position

Question #10 – Carded Player Placement

Question #11 – Draw - Players Standing On Restraining Line/Draw Circle

Question #12 – Offsetting Or Subsequent Foul

Question #13 – 10 Goal Differential / Running Time

Question #14 – Different Colored Bandana/Head Scarf 

Question #15 – Overtime In B-Squad and JV Games

Question #16 – Mouth Guards

Question #17 – Warding    

Question #18 – Communication or Unsportsmanlike Behavior  

Question #19 – Crosses “Up And Out”       

Question #20 – Face Paint

Question #21 – Shooting Space With Dropped Ball

Question #1  -  Shooting Space (Immediate Whistle)

Is there any time when an umpire would use a slow whistle (raised yellow flag) for a potential shooting space violation?

Answer -- No, never.   An Obstruction To Free Space or Shooting Space call is always an immediate whistle.  If the attack player is in the CSA, has the opportunity to shoot, is looking to shoot, and the defensive player is in shooting space, blow your whistle immediately.  And your whistle tone should be hard and loud.  A wise man once told me your shooting space whistle should be so loud that you “scare” the attack player into not shooting.  So do not delay -- call Shooting Space immediately.

Question #2  -  Draw Out Of Bounds Administration

On a draw, the ball goes directly out of bounds.  This is obviously a redraw (Rule 5, Section 14: When the ball goes directly out of bounds from a legal draw, the official will call time out and the draw will be retaken.)  But what if a player touches the ball right before it goes out of bounds?  Is it still a redraw?

Answer -- This is not a redraw.  Off of a draw, when the ball is heading towards the boundary, and is touched by a player before going out of bounds, it is treated like any other boundary ball (except for when a ball goes out of bounds off a shot).  The ball will be given to the player of the team who did not touch it last before it went out of bounds.

Question #3  -  Intentional 3 Second Attempt

Towards the end of the game, Team A has the lead and is stalling in their attacking end.  They are passing the ball on the periphery of their attacking zone and Team B is unable to get the ball away from the offense.  A defender runs in to the middle of the arc, not making an attempt to guard anyone, and their own coach yells at the umpires they are in “3 seconds” and demands to be called for it.  Must this 3 second call be made?

Answer -- This intentional 3 second attempt is a tactic to stop play, give a free position to the offense which might result in a goalie save and then they would have possession of the ball.   In this case, 3 seconds should not be called.  Calling it and putting the ball at an 8 meter hash would disadvantage the offensive team.  Give the advantage signal indicating you have seen the foul and are choosing not to call it.

Question #4  -  Player Equipment

Before the game, a coach complains the other team has players wearing hard braces/splints on their ankles and shins without padding, and this will endanger her players and wants them removed or padded.  The other coach refuses.  This has created a stressful confrontation between the coaches before the game has even started.  How do the umpires handle this situation?

Answer -- When an unusual situation like this arises, first determine if there is a rule which governs the situation.  This is a good example of why you should have your rulebook in your possession at the game.  Rule 2/Section 10 states:  “Hard and unyielding items (guards, casts, braces, splints) on the hand, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder are prohibited unless padded with a closed-cell, slow recovery foam padding no less than ½ inch thick.  Knee and ankle braces that are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production do not require any additional padding.”

Question #5  -  Pre-Game Meeting

In your pre-game coaches & captains meeting, can an Assistant Coach come to the meeting in place of the Head Coach?

Answer -- No, the Head Coach must attend the pre-game meeting.  Rule 3/Section 11 specifically states, “Prior to the game, the officials will meet with the Head Coach and captains of each team.”  The head coaches are ultimately responsible for their players’ safety and need to be the ones who certify their players’ equipment is legal under US Lacrosse rules; not having the head coach at the meeting could potentially have negative insurance implications.  So when you call out for captains and coaches to come to the pre-game meeting, call for “Captains and the Head Coach.”  If the head coach fails to appear, patiently wait until he/she does appear.  If a team has co-head coaches, the coach who comes to the pre-game meeting is the coach who will have head coaching responsibilities during the game.

Question #6  -  Running Clock

Team A is ahead by ten goals resulting in a running clock including the last two minutes of each half.  With time running down in either half, Team B is fouled resulting in a free position for them on the 8 meter.  While players are being set up in their proper positions around the arc, time expires and the horn goes off.  Even though Team B is down by ten goals and time has expired, their coach wants the free position shot allowed to be taken.  Should you allow this?

Answer -- No, this request should be denied.  Rule 4/Section 3 on page 23 of the rule book states “If a team is leading by ten or more goals, the clock will continue to run after goals and within the last two minutes of play in each half (no stop clock).  There are special provisions for this situation for some tournaments which use a central horn but these provisions are not applicable in regular season games.

Question #7  -  Illegal Stick Placement

During play, a player’s stick is found to be illegal.  An umpire removes the stick from play and places it at the scorer’s table.  When can that player try to fix her crosse?  When can that player have the umpires check her crosse and begin playing with it again? 

Answer -- Rule 5/Section 28b states “Should the crosse not meet specifications, it shall be removed from the game by the official and placed at the scorer’s table for the remainder of the half.  Personnel from the team may come to the table to fix/adjust the stick but the stick may not be removed from that area.”  Once the half has been completed, the umpire will come back to the table and check the stick at that time -- and no sooner.

When the umpire places an illegal stick at the table, the umpire should give the table person explicit instructions on this protocol.  Teams have been known to substitute another stick in the illegal stick’s place, adjust the illegal stick, and give it back to the player for immediately use in the game.  This is obviously not allowed and coach misconduct should be considered if this does occur.

Question #8  -  Held Crosse

“Held Crosse” is a common foul called during a game but there is nothing substantial in either the rulebook or manual which describes this type of foul.  What defines a Held Crosse and how is it administered?

Answer -- The only reference in the rulebook and manual to “Held Crosse” is found in the definition of Holding which is:  “To hold an opponent at anytime by holding, detaining, restraining, or pushing against her body, clothing, or crosse with an arm, leg, body or crosse.”

 Granted, this is limited information about the Held Crosse foul but it is typically called in the following two ways: 

1) When a player uses her crosse to hold her opponent’s crosse down when her opponent does not have possession of the ball, the umpire penalizes it as a minor foul.

2)  When the player does have possession of the ball, the umpire penalizes it as a major foul.  This often occurs when a player attempts to check the crosse of her opponent, follows through with the check and holds down the players crosse rather than recoiling upwards.

Question #9  -  Expired Half With Pending Free Position

During a stop clock game (no ten goal differential) when the time of either half is counting down, a scoring play develops, a foul occurs, and an umpire raises his yellow flag to allow the player to complete the scoring play.  As the player continues to goal, the horn then sounds ending the half.  Should the umpire still allow for a free position to be set up and completed?

Answer -- The half is over and the umpire should not allow a free position to be set up with no time remaining on the clock.  There is no provision in either the rulebook or manual allowing for a play to be started with no time remaining on the clock.  Although some sports have this provision, women’s lacrosse does not.  There are special provisions for this situation for some summer tournaments which use a central horn but these provisions are not applicable in regular season games.

Question #10  -  Carded Player Placement

When a player receives a yellow or red card, where does that player serve her penalty?  Can that player stand by her bench area or in the general substitution area?

Answer -- Rule 1/Section 10 states “The penalty area shall be directly in front of the scorer’s /timer’s table at the rear of the substitution area.  A player serving a penalty must sit or kneel in this area.”  The reason for this rule is so the officials on the field can quickly look over at the table area and determine whether the penalty is over and if that team is back to full strength.  Not insisting the penalized player to kneel or sit right in front of the table and allowing that player to meld in with her teammates in her bench area or with her teammates in the substitution area makes it almost impossible for the umpires to glance over to the sideline and determine if that penalty has expired and if an offsides call should be made.

Related note:  When a yellow card has been assessed to a player within the last two minutes of the first half, the umpires must make sure that player continues to serve the remaining part of her penalty in the 2nd half.  

Question #11  -  Draw: Players Standing On Restraining Line/Draw Circle

Before the draw, the non-draw umpire notices a player standing on the restraining line or the draw circle line.  The umpire repeatedly asks her to step back off the line. The draw umpire backs away with that player still standing on the line and blows her whistle to start play.  Should the non-draw umpire blow her whistle to stop play and penalize this player for early entry?

Answer -- There are two trains of thought here:

a.  The manual specifically states (2:10) “Illegal draws occur when a player steps on the line or enters the center circle or steps on the line or crosses the restraining line (touching the ground inside the circle or over the RL before the whistle.”  An umpire would not be wrong to blow this play up before it even begins.  And enforcing this rule will make the players learn they need to stay off the lines in the future.  

b.  If this player did not gain an advantage in the play, some umpires will not blow their whistle to stop play.  And at the next draw, that umpire will have a short conversation with this player and tell her to keep her feet off the lines so it doesn’t happen again.  Also, that umpire will communicate with her partner letting her know that she has warned the player of the potential draw violation and to watch for it before backing out of the circle.  And at that next draw, if she does not comply, immediately penalizing this player for early entry would be acceptable.  The US Lacrosse Philosophical Statement states “the game should flow as continuously as possible, not burdened by an inordinate number of rules requiring frequent stops during the game.”    This is one of those situations when an umpire could use some basic game management techniques, make sure the player does not gain an advantage on the draw, and ensure any future draws are conducted properly in accordance with the rules.

Question #12  -  Offsetting Or Subsequent Foul

On a draw, there is early movement by the Team A center.  As the official is giving the ball to the Team B center and placing the Team A center 4 meters away at a 45 degree angle, the official notices the Team B center is wearing jewelry.  How should these fouls be administered?

Answer -- These two fouls are considered “offsetting” fouls: fouls that are occurring or have been ongoing within the same time frame.”  The correct administration for offsetting fouls is a throw between those two players.  The alternative to offsetting fouls is a “subsequent” foul:  a foul which occurs after the initial foul has been called.   For a subsequent foul, the umpire would administer the foul based on the most recent foul committed.

Question #13  -  10 Goal Differential / Running Time

When a team scores to go up by 10 goals, when does the clock begin to run?  Immediately when the 10th goal is scored or at the next draw?

Answer -- Although neither the rulebook nor manual makes the distinction when the clock begins to run after a team goes up by 10 goals, the MLUA would like to take a consistent approach and have the clock run immediately after that goal is scored rather than wait for the next draw.   Part of your pre-game routine is to speak with the timekeeper to discuss their responsibilities including how to run the clock in this 10 goal differential situation.  Taking care of this before the game is preferable to yelling over to the table or up to the timekeeper in the press box during the game instructing them to run the clock which might embarrass the losing team and bring unwanted attention to the umpiring team.

Question #14  -  Different Colored Bandana

During the pre-game meeting with the coaches, the head coach of one of the teams wants a uniform violation called against the other team because one of their players is wearing a red, white and blue/American flag designed bandana.   Should the umpires enforce this?

Answer -- The rulebook and manual do not mention anything about bandanas, head covers, headbands or head scarfs.  These types of headwear are considered “accessories” and not governed by the rules of undergarments.   If these accessories are tight fitting and not free flowing, there is really no way for the umpires to limit a player from wearing any headwear with a different color and they should be allowed.     

Question #15 -  Overtime In B-Squad and JV Games

Should we have overtime in our B-Squad and JV games?

Answer -- Per our High School Assignor and MSHSL contact, Julie Carlson: There is NO overtime in B-Squad and JV games.

Question #16 – Mouthguards

What constitutes a legal mouthguard?

Answer:  Page 73 of the rulebook states:  “Mouth guards can not be clear or white or have protruding tabs except for the goalkeeper.”  And if a player has a clear or white mouth guard, putting colored tape on it does not make it legal.

Question #17 – Warding          

What constitutes a “warding” foul?  How much contact is necessary for the umpire to call warding?

Answer -- Rule 6/Section 2 on page 46 of the rulebook describes warding as “Guarding the crosse with one arm.  If one hand is removed from the crosse, the free hand may not be used  to ward off an opponent, deliberately or otherwise, with or without contact.  Elbows may not be used to protect the crosse.”  So the umpire need not see contact or displacement to call this foul.

A few other things to consider about warding:

a.  It is a minor foul, not a major foul -- so administer accordingly.

b.  Warding is not to be confused with the natural running movement of the free arm when the attack player is handling the crosse with one hand.

c.  Watch for the wild, intimidating swinging of that offensive player’s arm and elbow.   The defensive player should not be discouraged or intimidated by ball carrier to approach the ball carrier and play proper defense.

d.  Often, a warding foul is precipitated by a defensive foul which causes the offensive player to try to protect herself by warding.  Try to see and call that initial defensive foul if it occurs.

Question #18 -  Communication or Unsportsmanlike Behavior      

When a defender is screaming “ball, ball, ball” at the ball carrier, is this an example of unsportsmanlike behavior and should it be carded?

Answer -- Three prominent high school coaches (Judy Baxter from Eden Prairie, Alex Ross from Apple Valley and Ana Bowlsby from Benilde) all agree this is not typically a cardable offense.  Coaches try very hard to get their players to communicate better and they have never seen a case when a card should have been issued for simply calling out the ball carrier and calling the commands for an effective defense.  Of course, there may be situations when a player has gone too far, and hopefully, the umpire will step in when the line has been crossed.

There are more clear cut cases when excessive screaming should be stopped immediately and potentially carded.  For example: the goalkeeper has the ball in her circle and is looking to make a pass to a teammate.  The defender stands on top of the goal circle and screams excessively at the goalkeeper.  This serves no purpose other than to intimidate the goalkeeper and it should not be allowed.  Before carding, the umpire could give a verbal warning to the offender, and if it persists, a yellow card assessed.

Question #19 -  Crosses “Up And Out”

Before starting play, when do players need to have their sticks “up and out” of the plane of each of the following areas: Arc, Penalty Lane, Restraining Line, Draw Circle?

Answer -- Arc & Penalty Lane:  Yes, all players’ sticks need to be “up and out” of the planes of the arc and penalty lane areas.   Rule 7/Section 14 states:  All bodies and crosses must be cleared from the 8 meter arc and the penalty lane.

Draw Restraining Line and Draw Circle: No, players positioned on the restraining line and draw circle waiting for the draw to occur are not required to have their sticks “up and out” of the planes of those areas.

Question #20 -  Face Paint    

A coach complains about players on the other team wearing face paint and thinks it is unsportmanlike.  Should the umpires have those girls remove the face paint before the game begins?

Answer -- Although intimidating, unsportsmanlike and taunting behavior can be penalized, there is nothing in the rulebook which specifically mentions face paint as being illegal.  We will be referring this issue to the MSHSL Coaches Association for their guidance.  Until they rule on this issue, face paint is allowed.

Question #21 – Shooting Space With Dropped Ball

An attack player in possession of the ball is several yards away from the goal.  She passes the ball to her teammate standing just inside the top of the arc whose stance and body position indicate she is looking to catch and immediately fire a shot towards the goal.  During the pass, a defensive player moves in to shooting space right in front of the goal circle in the direct path of a potential shot.  Rather than catch and shoot, the attack player fails to gain possession of the ball and it falls to the ground.  The umpire, believing possession and a shot was imminent, attempts to protect the defensive player, blows his whistle and calls shooting space.  Is possession necessary for shooting space to be called?

Answer -- Yes, for shooting space to be called, the shooter needs to have possession of the ball.  Consider this an inadvertent whistle.  The closest person to the ball when the whistle is blown will get the ball and play restarted.  Because the defender will still be in shooting space when the play is restarted, the umpire should warn her she must vacate the shooting space area immediately when the whistle is blown and also warn the shooter not to dangerously propel the ball.  If neither the offensive player nor the defensive player is closer to the ball when it drops to the ground, then a throw will be taken.