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NFHS: Boys Lacrosse Rules Changes – 2024

via the NFHS website

FLN: NFHS released their language changes to the high school Boy’s rules, hence the version here where there are cross-outs and looking like a rough draft. At a future point, we’ll also see the 2024 NFHS Rules Interpretations video to educate the lacrosse community on what will be emphasized this upcoming season. Since USA Lacrosse has cancelled LaxCon, these videos will take on more importance as a communication tool.


1-6-1: ART. 1 . . . Field Players Crosse

The crosse shall be an overall fixed length of either 40 to 42 inches (short crosse) or 52 to 72 inches (long crosse), except for the goalkeeper’s crosse, which may be 40 to 72 inches long. The circumference of the crosse handle shall be no more than 3½ inches. The head of the crosse at its widest point shall measure between 6 and 10 inches, inside measurement, at the top and the bottom of the wall (Figure 2). There shall be one crosse 10 to 12 inches, inside measurement at its widest point, at the top and bottom of the wall. This crosse shall be used by the required designated goalkeeper. The walls of any crosse shall not be more than 2 inches high.

1-6-1 (NEW) 2: ART. 2 . . . Goalkeepers Crosse The measurements of the goalkeepers crosse shall be: Length 40-72 inches, head 10-12 inches wide, maximum 16 ½ inches long. Additionally, there are no restrictions on stringing, (other than a hanging length no longer than 2 inches) and no restrictions on pocket depth. Renumber remaining articles

Rationale: This change separates the stick to be used by the goalkeeper from all other sticks used. This proposal simplifies the reading of rule and eliminates confusion of legality of pocket, stringing etc. unique to the goalkeeper. 

1-9-1… ART. 1… Mandatory equipment. Each player shall wear the following pieces of equipment which shall be professionally manufactured, and not altered and shall be worn as the manufacturer intended.

1-9-1a… a. A protective helmet, designed for lacrosse, which met the NOCSAE standard at the time of manufacture and has a visible, exterior warning label regarding the risk of injury. Both the chin pad and chin strap shall be firmly attached to the mask as designed. The chin strap shall be worn under the chin and shall be firmly attached at all the helmet’s manufactured attachment points, securely enough so that the helmet is unable to be removed without detaching the chin strap from the attachment point(s).

 1-9-1c  c.  Protective gloves designed for lacrosse

1-9-1e  e. Arm pads designed for lacrosse (optional for goalkeeper)

            4. Numbers may contain contrasting color trim(s) not to exceed 2 inches (the number shall contrast with the body of the jersey) The body of the number shall be a single solid color that clearly contrasts with the body color of the jersey.

Rationale:  Clarifies the equipment used  

1-9-3… Art. 3 . . .Play shall be suspended immediately if a player loses any of the mandatory equipment in a scrimmage area.  Otherwise, the official shall delay the whistle but not drop a flag, in the same manner as set forth in Rule 7-8

Rationale:  This is now addressed in more specific detail in 4-24-7 from a previous rule change 

2-2… Each team shall designate a captain, or captains, who shall act as that team’s sole representative(s) on the field of play during the game. The captain’s privilege does not grant a captain the right to enter into an argument with or criticize any decision of an official. Should the captain leave the field of play, either the captain or the captain’s coach shall designate to an official the name and number of the replacing captain. If a team is without a designated captain at any time during the play of the game, an official may designate an acting captain. When a team has co-captains, before the game one of the cocaptains shall be designated as the official representative of that team on the field. 

Rationale:  Cleans up language to match the current practice 

2-7-2… ART. 2… The assigned chief bench official also shall be empowered to count crosses when requested and call the following: 

2-7-2i… i) Count crosses when requested. Too many long crosses on the field. 

Rationale: Counting crosses is included as item ‘i’ in list of things the CBO is empowered to call so is redundant prior to the list.  Also, should not need to be requested for CBO to make this call as none of the other CBO calls are restricted. 

2-8-1… ART. 1 . . . In the absence of a chief bench official, the official timekeeper will assume all timing duties. ART. 21 . . . The duties of the official timekeeper shall include: …..

Rationale:  The CBO should not be responsible for timekeeping

3-3… 3 . . . During the final two minutes of regulation play, stalling rules will be in effect for a team that is ahead by four goals or less.  Get it in/keep it in procedures will apply (see 431) .  The team that is ahead by four goals or less will be warned to “keep it in” once the ball has been brought into the respective goal area.

Rationale:  Clarifying language which currently does not include ‘get it in’ language. 

4-3-3i… ART. 3i . . .  Upon the whistle starting play, players shall not initiate a body check against their opponent; a body check against a crouched player is an illegal body check. 

4-3-3j… ART. 3j . . .  A violation will be called if a player picks up and carries the ball on the back of the stick. It is legal to clamp the ball with the back of the stick, but it must be moved, raked or directed immediately within one step. Immediately is defined as within one step. 

Rationale: Clarifies what an attempt is during a face-off. Further defines what a player can and cannot do for body checks and when they can start movement. 

4-6-3c… c . . .  When a loose ball goes out of bounds as a result of a shot or deflected shot at the goal, it shall be awarded to the team that had an inbounds player’s body nearest to the ball when it became an out-of-bounds ball, at the point where it was declared out of bounds. If two inbound players of opposite teams are equidistant from the ball when it goes out of bounds, play shall resume according to the alternate-possession rule. In determining which player is nearest, the ball is considered out of bounds when it crosses the plane of the end line or sideline.   

Other rules affected 4-3-2… ART. 2 . . . The faceoff is considered to have ended when the ball crosses the defensive area line or it has gone out of bounds in the center-field area. and the officials cannot determine who was responsible. If the officials cannot determine who was responsible for the ball going out of bounds, the ball shall be awarded by alternate possession if it has crossed the defensive area line or refaced if it went out of bounds in the center-field area. 

Rationale: Alternate possession should be used sparingly and in situations where there has been an error made by officials or a situation that is out of the official’s control (i.e. player injury, inadvertent equipment issues, etc during a loose ball situation).  These changes will simplify the rulebook for officials, players, and coaches.   

4-9-2… ART 2… A goal shall be disallowed: . . .  o. The ball is deflected or batted by the free hand of an offensive player. p. A goal will be allowed if the shot is released prior to the end of the period. 

4-9-3… ART. 3 . . . A goal will be allowed if the shot is released prior to the end of the period. If any of the following occur between the end of the period and the shot entering the goal, the goal will be disallowed: . . .

Rationale: More appropriate to incorporate language into ART 3 than ART 2(p)

4-22-1 PENALTY… ART. 1. . . For all restarts, the game shall resume as quickly as possible . . . PENALTY: Delay of game Illegal Procedure technical foul

Rationale: Foul is more appropriate as an illegal procedure. 

4-24-11 (NEW)… ART. 11. . . If a player has the helmet come off during play, play shall be suspended immediately, and the player shall leave the field until after the next dead ball following the resumption of play. 

Rationale:  The instances of players wearing their helmets improperly is rising rapidly. With risk minimization a major focal point of the rule book, helmets must be worn appropriately as the manufacturer intended with all straps securely attached. 


ART. 1. . . A player shall not initiate contact to an opponent’s head or neck with a crosscheck, or with any part of the body (head, elbow, shoulder, etc). Any follow-through that contacts the head or neck shall also be considered a violation of this rule.   

ART. 2 . . . A player who makes indirect contact to an opponent’s head and/or neck when the initial force of the contact is to the body of the opponent then slides up to the head and/or neck area. 

PENALTY: A one-minute non-releasable foul. An excessively violent violation may result in a longer non-releasable penalty or an ejection. 

ART. 4. . . A player shall not initiate a body check legally that slides up into or follows through to an opponent’s head or neck. 

Renumber remaining articles. 

Rationale:  The committee is seeing a reluctance to call a two-minute non-releasable penalty for incidental contact to the head/neck area. This change gives officials the ability to assess a penalty that would be more appropriate and encourage officials to make the call when contact occurs. 

5-6… A player may not use equipment that does not conform to specifications.  The fingers/palms of a player’s hands must be completely covered by the player’s gloves and the gloves may not be altered in a way that compromises the protective features of the gloves.  Use of illegal equipment or failure to properly wear mandatory equipment will be penalized as a non-releasable foul.

EXCEPTION:  Mouthpiece violation. (6.5.2x) 

Rationale:  Specific language on gloves does not belong in a general rule dealing with illegal equipment. 

5-10j (NEW)… ART. 10j. . . A team’s second violation of Rule 4-18-4: No defensive player, other than the properly equipped goalkeeper, can enter the player’s own crease with the perceived intent on blocking a shot or acting as a goalkeeper.

Rationale:  This is listed as a releasable Unsportsmanlike Conduct under Rule 4-18-4, but it is not listed under the actual Unsportsmanlike Conduct rule. 

6-1-1 PENALTY b… ART. 1b . . . b  If the ball is loose  If the team fouled does not have possession of the ball (either the ball is loose or the offending team is in possession) and there is no flag down award the ball to the team that was fouled.

Rationale: Adds more accurate detail. 

6-6-4 (NEW)… ART. 4. . . First team violation of Rule 4-18-4: No defensive player, other than the properly equipped goalkeeper, can enter the player’s own crease with the perceived intent on blocking a shot or acting as a goalkeeper. 

Rationale:  This is listed as a conduct foul under Rule 4-18-4, but it is not listed under an actual Conduct Foul rule.