Rule 1—Field and Equipment
The rules regarding game balls changed in 2014. The rules regarding game balls are listed here:
NFHS Rule 1-5: The ball shall be white, yellow, orange or lime green and meet the current NOCSAE lacrosse ball standard at the time of manufacture. White balls shall be used unless both coaches agree prior to or during the game to use a yellow, orange or lime green ball.
Game balls shall be supplied by the home team. The ball shall include the NFHS Authenticating Mark. NOTE: All game balls must include labeling which states “Meets NOCSAE Standard. NFHS.”
1.5 SITUATION A: Prior to the start of the game, it is determined that the balls the home team has provided for the game do not include the labeling “Meets NOCSAE Standard.” They advise they do not have such balls available. RULING: (a) If the visiting team has such balls which may be used, or such balls are otherwise available, the home team is assessed a Technical Foul (award the ball to the visiting team on the opening face-off) and the game is played. The matter shall be reported to the sponsoring authority. (b) If the visiting team does not have such balls which may be used, and such balls are not otherwise available, the game cannot be played and the matter shall be referred to the sponsoring authority. The standards are established to minimize risk and if no such balls are available, the game cannot be played.
1.5 SITUATION B: During the course of the game, it is determined that a ball in play, or which has been used or is about to be used, does not include the labeling “Meets NOCSAE Standard.” RULING: The ball shall be removed from the game and no penalty assessed. If a goal has been scored using the ball, the goal is allowed, but the ball is removed from the game. NOTE: Repeated violations of this provision will be penalized as Delay of Game.
*1.5 SITUATION C: The officials arrive at a game and find that the balls supplied by the home team include labeling that says “Meets NOCSAE Standard” but the balls do not have the NFHS mark. RULING: The officials begin the game using the balls supplied by the home team with no penalty to the home team and inform the state association or sponsoring authority after the conclusion of the game.
*1.5 SITUATION D: At some point after the start of the game, the officials determine that there are no balls available with the label “Meets NOCSAE Standard.” RULING: The game is suspended and the officials shall notify the sponsoring authority. The sponsoring authority shall determine the result of the game or, if the game will be continued.
There are often questions about legal uniforms for varsity play. The NFHS rules, which currently cover varsity and JV play (JV as of 2013), are as follows:
g. Jerseys shall be of a single, solid color with the following trim specifications permitted:
- Collar, cuffs and waistband may be of contrasting colors, but not more than 2 inches wide.
- Side inserts may be of contrasting color(s), but no more than 3 inches wide, and extending vertically no more than the armpit to waistband.
- Numbers shall be centered vertically and horizontally and at least 8 inches tall on the front and at least 12 inches tall on the back.
- Numbers may contain contrasting color trim(s) not to exceed 2 inches (the number shall contrast with the body of the jersey).
- The jersey shall completely cover the shoulder pads.
- Duplicate numbers on jerseys shall not be permitted on the same team. Legal numbers are 0-99.
- Contrasting colored piping not to exceed 1/8-inch wide is allowed.
- Jerseys shall be of contrasting colors for opposing teams. The home team shall wear light jerseys and the visiting team shall wear its dark color jerseys. The visiting team is responsible for avoidance of similarity of colors, but, if there is doubt, the referee may require the home team to change jerseys
NOTE: Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, double-zero, 01, 02, 03, etc. are not legal numbers.
h. Uniforms shorts: All players on the same team shall wear uniform shorts of the same dominant color.
i. A visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark may not exceed 2¼ square inches and 2¼ inches in any direction on the jersey and/or pant/short. No more than one manufacturer's logo/trademark or reference on the outside of each item. (The same size restriction shall apply to either the manufacturer's logo/trademark or reference).
NOTE: An American flag, not to exceed 2 by 3 inches, and either a commemorative or a memorial patch, not to exceed 4 square inches and with written state association approval, may be worn on the jersey provided neither the flag, nor the patch, interferes with the visibility of the number.
1.9.1 SITUATION D: Team A is wearing jerseys that include the team name, mascot and/or individual players’ names. RULING: Legal. The uniform may include the school name, school mascot and individual players’ names.
1.9.2 SITUATION A: Prior to the beginning of the game (a) Team A is wearing jerseys that do not meet specifications; (b) A2 is wearing multicolored sweatpants. RULING: Illegal in both (a) and (b). In (a), the official should instruct Team A to correct the problem prior to the beginning of the game. If it cannot, the team would be penalized for illegal procedure and the ball would be awarded to the opposing team in its offensive half of the field at the Center Faceoff X. In (b), the official would instruct the player to remove the multicolored sweatpants prior to the beginning of the game. Sweatpants worn by teammates shall be of a single, solid color.
See the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Uniforms document for more information.
A goalie must have a crosse whose length is legal for the level of play and whose head is between 10 and 12 inches wide at the widest point. Every goalie must wear:
- A lacrosse helmet (no hockey helmets are allowed).
- A throat protector.
- A chest protector
- Lacrosse gloves.
- A mouth guard.
For U15 and lower games, a golie must wear:
- Arm pads.
- A protective cup.
A goalie may wear:
- Sweat pants (subject to the uniform rules for that level of play)
- Shin guards (these should not increase the blocking area of the body).
- Shoulder pads.
- Rib pads.
- Football pants with or without pads (subject to the uniform rules for that level of play)
A goalie may not wear:
- Hockey goalkeeper gloves.
- Hockey blockers.
For other protective equipment, the officials will generally look at whether the equipment provides an unfair advantage by significantly increasing the blocking surface of the goalie's body. So, well-fitting breezers would normally be allowed, but breezers several sizes too big would not.
Tinted eye shields are not allowed under any circumstances by rule, even if there is a note from a physician. Clear, molded, and non-rigid eye shields are permitted. Tinted or clear eye glasses may be worn under the helmet but tinted glasses may not be worn with an eye shield. This is a safety rule and will not be waived under any circumstances.
Field safety issues
There are still reports coming in of teams that do not have six yards from the bench sideline to the table and bench areas and six yards from the far sideline to the nearest spectator, as well as reports of unpadded obstructions on the end line. These are important safety issues that must be addressed if the game is to be played.
Under NFHS rules, if the fields are illegal, the officials are to hold the game if it can be done so safely and then file an incident report with the MSHSL. If the goals are illegal and are not corrected, it is a 3:00 non-releasable penalty on the home team (to be served by the in-home).
The most common field issues are dashed lines on the sides of the attack area (should be solid) and the midline not extending through the midfield logo (this is a technical foul if not corrected prior to game time). On artificial fields with permanent lines, these can be fixed with tape or temporary paint.
A complete summary of equipment rules and penalties is posted InsideLacrosse.com.
There continues to be confusion about illegal crosse penalties. The short version is that a deep pocket is 1:00 non-releasable and the stick can return if adjusted. For any other violation, the penalty is 3:00 non-releasable and the stick cannot return to the game. It is a myth that it can return if the violation is “fixable”; the actual distinction is whether the violation is a deep pocket or not. The only exception is detailed in this situation:
5.4 SITUATION I: During the crosse inspection, the officials discover that the ball does not roll freely from the pocket, with the ball either remaining in the pocket when the head is rotated toward the ground or the ball sticking momentarily before rolling out. RULING: 3:00 nonreleasable penalty and the stick is removed from the game whether the ball is being held by the head or by the stringing. COMMENT: If the pocket is too deep and the officials feel that the pocket depth is the reason the ball will not release, a 1:00 nonreleasable penalty may be assessed and the crosse may return if adjusted.
Key points about mouth guards include:
- A mouth guard violation is a 1:00 non-releasable equipment personal foul (not a technical foul as it is under NCAA rules) but not an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
- Mouth guards need not be attached to the facemask.
- They may cover all upper teeth or all lower teeth; a mouth guard that is worn out or cut so it doesn’t cover all of the upper teeth or all of the lower teeth is illegal.
- They must actually be worn in the mouth to cover the teeth; biting on the corners or “fish-hooking” is not acceptable.
- White and clear mouth guards are not legal.
- Players attempting to deceive the officials (e.g., by wearing fake mouth guards) will receive a 1:00 NR unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a 1:00 NR equipment penalty.
Note that a player missing a mouth guard during live-ball play should result in an immediate whistle and flag (and not a flag down/slow whistle) since to allow play to continue creates a dangerous situation.
Hockey helmets may not be used for any field lacrosse games, nor for any indoor/box lacrosse games played under moified field lacrosse rules. There are no waivers or exceptions to this for teams based in the United States. In the rare cases where we have teams from Canada playing in Minnesota, their helmets must meet the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards, which means that players must have:
- A NOCSAE-certified lacrosse helmet and facial protector, approved as a complete unit for lacrosse or
- A CSA-approved ice hockey helmet with the appropriate CSA-approved facemask for lacrosse or
- A CSA-approved ice-hockey helmet with a CSA-approved facemask for ice hockey that (a) covers the wearer's entire face to the lower line of the jaw and prevent the ball or the head of the stick from touching the face of the wearer and (b) is finished so that it does not create a risk of injury to the wearer or another person when used as intended.
Youth equipment and uniform rules
See the Youth Rules FAQ page.