Your Subtitle text

FOC Rules Response



Read below for all of the FOC MLL Players' responses to the recently proposed NCAA Rules Changes.  This is the most controversial event in the history of our specialized position.  See what the experts say on the matter.

If you're an NCAA player, stay ahead of the game and attend our College Skills & Rules Adaptation Clinic next Tuesday, August 14th in New Jersey.  Let the MLL pros guide you through these major changes that you will be judged on in fall ball and next spring.  Details are HERE

For players of all levels (including college) our final summer camp is August 13-15th in New Jersey for our Mid-Atlantic Skills & Rules Adaptation Camp.  We will be working heavily on all FO skill components and addressing each NCAA rules change in depth as well as giving a variety of innovating techniques to adapt quickly for success.  INFO HERE.
 


FOC MLL PLAYER REVIEW BOARD


GENERAL POSITION STATEMENT ON RULES CHANGES

TOWERS:
I support the rules committee in their desire to make the game better. For me, the issue is creating a fair set-up and cadence, consistently. Accomplishing this task has nothing to do with how the stick is gripped, moto or traditional.

The solution:
First, The officials need to line up just the heads (not the shafts as heads/shafts are offset differently) of each stick evenly (straight up - no lean, both sticks are throat to scoop and scoop to throat).  THEN place the ball between the 2 evenly lined up sticks and say "SET". This will insure no advantage on either side (any movement after "SET" is a violation. THEN blow the whistle. Problem solved, mission accomplished. This format would be easy for the officials to replicate each time and everyone could grip the stick however they want to. Let's make it happen.


GODFREY:
The rules committee is appointed to be an executive representation of the sport's best interests.  I trust that they did their due diligence in getting the consensus of NCAA coaches, players, officials, and fans alike.  They are under an extreme level of scrutiny and aversive reaction from the sport in the widespread rules change propositions.  If you think they were blindly bringing on a lynch mob against themselves, you’re probably wrong.  That was not an easy room to be in and I trust that their job was treated very respectfully.

It’s troubling to see how concerned people in this sport are with externals.  The pissing and moaning needs to stop before the sport becomes predominantly soft.  I don't think there's anyone out there that's a #1 fan of the majority of the rules change propositions, but changes are nothing new and we've always got by.  If a grip style or certain rule has been your saving grace and got you to All-America status or the college level, you're a one-trick pony and aren't truly fit for the sport's most sophisticated and challenging position.

Advice to all HS and college FO men who are experiencing an irrational, but somewhat understandable level of anxiety: be an alpha male and just win the draw any way the rules tell you to with whatever resources you have at the time.  Your relentlessness, adaptability, and resilience matter ten times more than any grip, technique, or stick that is allowed or prohibited. 

BUNKER:
I give credit to the NCAA. They are obviously trying to take control of a part of the game where they tend to have no control at all. Few referees know what the heck is happening at the face off X to catch the violators, so this is the NCAA's way to make a referees job easier. It makes sense, but I have to agree to disagree. The NCAA is working way too hard to micro-manage facing off which it shouldn't need to do. Bringing back the 'set' was a great move, in my opinion, in terms of limiting 'cheating,' but it was simple step that solved a large problem. The recently proposed rule changes could lead to astronomical changes to the art of facing off, but I feel they are unnecessary. With that said, I do applaud the NCAA for taking the time to really assess the issues with facing off, but I do not personally believe there solutions were the best ones available.

At the end of the day, enforcement starts with the referees, so that is ultimately a deciding factor.  Lastly, to say some HS and NCAA FO men are freaking out would be an understatement, but sometimes you have to roll with the punches and adapt...even if you don't want to.

 
GURENLIAN:

Like I've said time and time again.  The rules of the FO are fine.  The OFFICIALS need to uphold them.  If you start holding the officials accountable for letting things slip then rules don't matter much do they?  Hands off of the plastic, no using the elbow, no using the helmet, no withholding.  These should be called EVERY time not just when it feels convenient for the ref.

ORTOLANI:
If they kept the same rules as they exist and just enforce them we'd be fine. For example, the no elbow rule still hasn't been enforced. Referees should attend FO seminars, clinics, and camps so they know what is actually happening. chancing anything isn't going to eliminate anything. It will just change what cheats guys are using. 

RAGONESE:
The NCAA is trying to micromanage too many facets of the game where a simple addition of a shot clock would fix all of the off season complaints. Instead they come and bother the FO man because it is the easiest for them to do.  I disagree with every proposed rule because we have seen time and time again that the issue doesn't sit at the X.


NO MOTO GRIP ALLOWED
REJECTED, 5-2

TOWERS: Yes
I applaud no moto grip.


GODFREY: No
Pinning the stick?  That can be done with similar ease and effectiveness with traditional grip.  The elbow, I don’t use it.  It is used to help aid the clamp, not pinning an opponent’s clamp down.  Any elbow use leads to withholding.  Yes, grabbing the ball is rampant with moto grip but there's a multitude of ways to do it without moto.  But everyone is getting bent out of shape about this.  It’s not the first FO move that matters when you're battling a top guy that you're not winning right off the clamp.  What matters are the re-jams, the second, third, and fourth moves of a give FO attempt.  And FYI...frequent fast breaks happened long before the popularity of the moto grip.  I'm against its outlaw, but FO will survive if it is outlawed. 

BUNKER: No
This rule appears to make no sense at all. First off, all the talk has been about pace of the game and making it more exciting. Moto leads to more fast breaks, which is more unsettled situation and more goals. For the NCAA to say the way you hold your stick is illegal seems absurd to me. I honestly think the rule was proposed by coaches that do not understand face offs or have a track record of little success at the X. Coaches either need to recruit better face off guys or make sure the FO guys are taking the time to actually learn how to face off properly. It takes hours upon hours of individual time to master facing off. It's not something you can only practice during full field scrimmages, which typically accounts for a maximum 15 minutes of total practice time.

GURENLIAN: Yes

I think you would see cleaner draws if we eliminated the moto grip but the danger of experimenting with that in the fall is that your draw men can't practice their style all of the fall.  If it's not eliminated in the spring then you've set them back an entire semester from practicing correctly. 

ORTOLANI: No

This is the same as a shooter being told to shoot overhand and can't ever shoot sidearm.  If they're concerned with injuries arising from use of moto grip, injuries come from any FO grip.  You just break different things with moto.  With cheating, it's going to happen with any grip and any rules.  

RAGONESE: No

Tell your star lefty attack man he can only shoot righty from now on because he is better than everyone else. you will still see the scrum at the X with or with out moto. 

MATTES: No
Taking away moto grip is ridiculous.  I understand that it will make the faceoff quicker in terms of less of a grind in there and the ball will come out quicker but what it will do is lead to more cheating and grabbing the sticks I think.  Also, I think that the regular grip puts more stress on the wrist and can cause injury.


30-SECOND TECHNICAL ON 3RD FALSE START IN A HALF

APPROVED, 5-2

TOWERS: Yes
I support this.



GODFREY: Yes
I support this but am not sure that is properly addresses the issue.  You don’t want guys going early?  Make it a long interim period between set and the whistle.  Watch the Olympic swimming with players getting set on the starting blocks with the verbal cadence followed by a clear delay in time then jumping off when they hear the beep.  Any MLL player is lying if they say they don't go on "set" and from what we are hearing from our D1 NCAA players, there's not been too much enforcement on this lately. 


BUNKER: Yes
I tend to like this rule, because it limits guys from timing the whistle. It will benefit those face off guys who have truly worked on their technique and
reaction time, which facing off should be at the end of the day. Too many try and anticipate the whistle, which anyone can do. This will really require face off men to perfect their abilities and skills.

GURENLIAN: No
This rule is terrible.


ORTOLANI: No

Again, it goes back to proper enforcement of rules. Sometimes guys false start by accident instead of illicitly to prevent fast breaks. I don't think they should put a number on it. Slow the whistle. In Australia when I played there for a year after college, after the 'down' call officials would fix what was needed to be fixed with setup, then call 'set', then step back and not blow the whistle until they were clear of the draw area.  That timing was great.

RAGONESE: Yes

I don't care for it particularly as it seems we are taking a step back to where we were in 2007 but if one rule were to pass I would choose this one. 


MATTES: Yes
The one rule that I don't mind with is having a penalty for false starts.  This will stop guys from trying to jump the whistle each time.   What will need to get cleared up is what happens with teams who alternate faceoff men.

QUESTIONS: Is it 3rd violation per team per half or just per player?  If per team, a team could repeatedly offend by rotating players in to foul and never truly get the penalty.  Now this is a stat to keep, and will it be officially kept? Like hoop fouls?


PROCEDURE PRIOR TO WHISTLE, PLAYER STAYS ON FIELD
APPROVED, 6-1

TOWERS: Yes
This is a great rule change.



GODFREY: Yes
The 6v5 opportunity was not frequently used for transition but more for a free clear.  It absolved FO men of accountability of a full lacrosse skill set and did not promote the full, well-rounded development as FO specialists as complete lacrosse players.  I fully support the elimination of a player having to leave the field after an early start.

BUNKER: Yes
I like this rule as well because it will force face off men to be more athletic. In the college ranks too many FO men are FOGOs. I prided myself in the fact that I was my team's best Dmid my last 3 years in college. An athletic FO man will pick up the ball and run right past the 'violator' after the infraction. This will require face off men to be athletic, fast, quick, and have greats sticks as well. 

GURENLIAN: Yes
We should never of had to leave the field following a procedure call.



ORTOLANI: Yes

I'm glad it's going back to the case of guys staying on the field after they go early.  Refs had to make new rules because they were scared to enforce old rules.  Just slow the whistle down and you'll get less guys going early since it will be obvious when they do.

RAGONESE: No
We already addressed this a few years ago and I don't know why it's being revisited.  Now teams can get an advantage again by purposely offending the whistle in certain situations and then taking advantage of a positional match-up (LSM vs. FO on the clear). 



MATTES: Yes
I like this a lot better than the player having to leave the field.  I never thought the mandatory 6v5 was a good rule.  If you get called for going early then you should have to be forced to play defense or, if you're lucky, follow the pole or opposing FO man off.


 NO SUPPLEMENTAL WING MEN ON A MAN-DOWN DRAW
APPROVED, UNANIMOUSLY

TOWERS: Yes
I support this change.


GODFREY: Yes
Great rule.  The only thing that's better than taking an EMO FO is running a fast-break on a draw.  You'll keep seeing coaches put out defensive specialists or poles to take an EMD draw, but that will only make it easier for the specialist to win it and take advantage of the man-up situation.  This is an excellent overall choice because it's a major deterrent to any personal fouls or penalties after goals since it magnifies the liability the time-serving team has. 

BUNKER: Yes
I like this rule because it really represents what a man up/down face off is. Before, by allowing an attackman to enter the draw but staying on-sides, the face off didn't seem that different. Now a team is actually affected at the X during a penalty, and as a result must deal with it. 

GURENLIAN: Yes
This is great and I love it.


ORTOLANI: Yes

I like EMD. It's a 3v2 and makes the offending team suffer a true penalty. 


RAGONESE: Yes
This is a positive change.
 


MATTES: Yes
This is a good rule change.  I never liked having an attackman up on the wing.


NO TAPE ON THE THROAT OF STICK HEAD PLASTIC

REJECTED, 5-2

TOWERS: Yes
I support this.



GODFREY: No
I understand why they are doing this but it is the wrong approach.  Get officials across the board to strictly prohibit hands on the plastic if that's what the objective is here.  You don't need to prevent an element that players use for added grip, or in my case, the means by which the head is attached to the shaft.  I've never used a screw to keep heads on in case I need to switch out a broken head quickly during a game. 


BUNKER: No
The NCAA doesn't really understand why players don't like this. Yes, tape on the throat makes it difficult for refs to see if your hand is grabbing too high. But for most face off men, the tape is for grip. Maybe they will allow tape, but it must be a color different than the head and the glove. This also plays into the fact they want to pay more attention to grabbing the plastic. This is very tough to refs to catch as gloves tend to extend out past the players hand and gives the appearance that the plastic is being grabbed. For this rule, as long as the 2 players are both grabbing none of the plastic or at least the same amount, then that's fine. But if I were in college, I would practice right away without grabbing the plastic, because it does make a difference.

GURENLIAN: Yes
No tape is fine but only if it results in a higher level of enforcement of players not getting an advantage with hands on the plastic.  I'm all for a pre-game inspection of sticks for players from both teams.

ORTOLANI: No

You're not supposed to grab plastic to begin with. If you enforce the rules then you don't need this. I'm not a guy that chokes up too much anyway. 

RAGONESE: No

Seems strange to outlaw tape on only the FO mans stick. ALL players should have to abide then as anyone using tape is using it for the same reason and that reason is grip. 

MATTES: No
Not being able to tape the top of your stick is absurd.  It is the refs job to enforce the hand on the plastic rule in the first place.  You can't have a rule for tape on your stick for faceoff men and not other players.  If you add this rule it needs to be implemented to all players and not just faceoff men.


12-INCH SEPARATION BETWEEN PLAYERS' STICKS
REJECTED, 6-1

TOWERS: No
I strongly oppose this rule.


GODFREY: Yes
I may be in a vast minority here, but this is the only rule change I've been waiting for over the last several years that many other changes have been made.  People's initial response to this is as if the distance is 4 feet and players will get a running start to spear each other.  12 inch spacing will really put each player only 5.25 inches away from the ball since the ball is 2.5in in diameter.  Not a far distance to travel.  Players' helmets will likely be lined up in the same place they were with 4in spacing between players but just have their hands back. 

If anyone thinks they can't execute the same moves from this they're dead wrong.  It will get these players built on the gimmick of merely putting pressure on their pinched stick and then having a clamp.  The beauty of this is that it will get footwork more involved in the play and begin to treat the FO as a true groundball situation which it essentially is even before the whistle.  I don't think this tryout rule will end up going through but it would revolutionize FO in the best way if it does go through.


BUNKER: No
I am not a fan of this rule as to will only lead to concussions. As of now, I lead with my head, and to imagine people with greater distance to travel, it sounds like it is too far of a distance. 

GURENLIAN: No
Being a foot away from the ball is too dumb to actually acknowledge.  If your goal is to take away the "wrestling" portion of the draw then you'd fail miserably if you create an instance where guys are diving into one another from a foot away.

ORTOLANI: No

It's like lining football lineman up and they smash into each other 40 times a game.

RAGONESE: No

Against. This would degrade the position to two players spearing each other. The rule would last 1 year max if it passed. 


MATTES: No
I think the rule to line up further away from the ball is going to lead to more early movement violations as well as more violent play with guys diving head first into one another.  This in itself can lead to more neck and head injuries.




NEXT TUESDAY!  AUG. 12 IN BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ  INFO/REGISTRATION HERE

Prepare for the college season against other top collegians as we examine the implications of all the major rules changes for the fall and 2013.  Included will be: Moto Grip Alternatives, 12-inch Spacing Techniques, and many other implications of the rules proposition.  DO NOT get left behind for lack of adaptation to the new FaceOff environment at the NCAA level!  This clinic will be led by MLL pros.

Mid-Atlantic Skills & Rules Adaptation Camp
August 13-15 at Snyder Park in Berkeley Heights, NJ (9am-2pm) MORE INFO
This is a full 3-day camp for players of all ages.  We will be heavily addressing the 2013 NCAA Rules Changes throughout the camp and preparing players for a strong ability to adapt to the new environment as well as honing their skills.

Major League Lacrosse player staff includes:
 
Greg Gurenlian - LI Lizards                   John Ortolani - Boston Cannons       
Nolan Godfrey - Denver Outlaws            Jerry Ragonese - Charlotte Hounds        
Craig Bunker - Rochester Rattlers         Chris Mattes - Denver Outlaws


TO REGISTER, VISIT THE PAGE HERE