Upper Midwest Lacrosse Officials Association

Upper Midwest Lacrosse Officials

Rule 7—Penalty Enforcement


Play-on for lower levels

The play-on can be used at any level of play. We do not teach it to Level 1 officials, because in U15 and under games the offended team is typically less likely to be disadvantaged by a quick whistle than at the high-school level.
If you know all of the rules and mechanics regarding play-on, you are free to use this at any level.
Keep in mind that, despite confusion among some players and coaches, a play-on is not the same thing as a flag down (which is used at all levels of boys lacrosse in Minnesota).


Restart locations

Any time-serving penalty in the defensive end should result in a free-clear (unless there were simultaneous fouls). For any other restart, the ball cannot start inside the attack area unless play was stopped for an end line out of bounds (shot, pass, player stepped out, loose ball rolls out). Exception: On and end line shot out of bounds followed by a timeout, a dead-ball foul does not move the location of the restart to the alley.

The clearing team can restart with the ball inside the attack area, including restarting with possession in the crease, after a change of possession technical foul

A dead-ball timeout never changes the location of the restart. A live-ball time-out moves the ball to the alley if it was in the attack area but doesn't otherwise change the location. 


Basic penalty enforcement

A team may not play down more than 3 players at once due to penalty. Additional penalties "stack": the fourth and subsequent players wait next to the table until there is space in the penalty area for them to serve. The 7 players on the field must obey the offside rule: no one can cross midfield in this situation.

One goal by Team A releases all releasable penalties being served by Team B (unlike hockey). It does not, however, release the stacked penalties, the next one to three of which will begin serving when play restarts.


Technical foul wiped out by a goal

If there is a flag down for a technical foul and a goal is scored, the penalty is wiped out by the goal. However, if the flag is for a personal foul, the penalty is served even if a goal is scored. Personal fouls always result in penalty time being served unless the game ends before the foul can be enforced (although ejections and resulting suspensions are possible even after the final horn). 


Two NR USC fouls

Situation: A1 uses profanity and gets a 1:00 NR USC. Later, A1 uses profanity again and gets a second USC, which given what he said would have been a 1:00 NR USC if he hadn't already had one. Ruling: Since it's his second NR USC, he doesn't serve the 1:00 NR, he serves a 3:00 NR expulsion foul instead. Thus the total time served for the second foul is 3:00 NR, not 1:00 + 3:00 = 4:00 NR. 


Goalie penalties

Goalies serve their own penalties in lacrosse.

In running-time JV and Freshman (9/10) games, the officials may choose to allow the in-home to serve a penalty if there is no backup goalie, but only if the opposing coach agrees. It should be made clear to everyone that an exception is being made due to the running clock.

In 14U and lower games, the goalie will serve the penalty and the backup goalie will take his place. If there is no backup goalie immediately ready to step in (within 20 seconds of the penalty being reported) and if the penalized team chooses not to take a timeout in order to transfer goalie gear to another player, the goalie may stay in the game (as long as he has not been ejected) but the player who serves the penalty for the goalie will have serve a non-releasable penalty for double the length of the original penalty. The original penalty time is still assessed to the goalie in the scorebook.

At the varsity level, a goalie getting a penalty must serve even if there is no backup. Since a legally-equipped goalie is mandatory, if there is no backup that means that the goalie must transfer his chest protector, throat protector, and crosse to another player. The officials should be reasonably lenient in allowing time for this transfer (but if the offending team wants to get their starting goalie back in the game they must call a timeout or wait until the end of the period to switch the gear back).

A team is entitled to a 1-minute goalie warm-up only if the goalie in the game must leave due to an injury or a penalty (in any other situation, a timeout must be called in order to warm up a goalie). This warm-up should be granted even if they need time to switch goalie gear. 


Free clears

Free clears are awarded only in the following situations:

  • When there is a time-serving penalty in the defensive end of the field.
  • On goalie interference or a crease violation with possession in the crease.

Free clears are not awarded for other change-of-possession fouls, and they are no longer awarded for offside by the team in possession.


Bench USC fouls

A bench USC foul is charged to the individual responsible but is served by the in-home; the violator may not enter the game until the penalty expires even though he is not the one serving the penalty.

If two different coaches from the same team get USC fouls in the same game, no one is ejected from the game; this is different from the football rule. 


Penalty time in running-time games

There is no more time-and-a-half for penalties in running-time games.


Post-game ejections

Players and coaches may be ejected after the final horn, with appropriate suspensions to be served, as long as the officials have not left the immediate playing facility (e.g., the confines of a stadium). If they have left the immediate playing facility and there is an incident, it is not an ejection, but a report must be filed and disciplinary action will likely follow.