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Lacrosse—the fastest growing game in the country—is attracting more athletes and gaining new followers. More than 70 NCAA lacrosse games will be broadcast this season, leading to concerns about holding the interest of the sport's expanding fan base.
Anyone who watches lacrosse or basketball is familiar with what can affectionately be called "stall ball." This is when the team in the lead chooses not to attack the goal and instead plays "keep away" from the defense. In an Ohio State lacrosse win over the University of Denver last February, the Buckeyes held the ball on the offensive end without attacking the net for nearly five and a half minutes. Last year, Maryland beat Syracuse to advance to the national semifinals, but only after being warned 10 times for stalling.
Some are itching to increase the pace of college lacrosse games by adding a one-minute shot clock (as observed in the MLL), along with a 30-second limit for advancing the ball into the offensive box after gaining possession. Another proposed rule would force a leading team at the end of a game to keep the ball in the offensive box or turn it over.
So far this year, a number of teams have used scrimmages to experiment with different shot clock variations—a 30-second shot clock activated after a warning, a 60-second shot clock in the first half and a 75-second clock on every possession in the second half. The clock trials will be reviewed by the NCAA men's lacrosse rules committee in August before new rules are put into effect for the 2013 season.
If some variation of a shot clock is instituted next year and games speed up in the final minutes, who will benefit the most...other than fans? Certainly, uptempo teams, those that already average more than 10 goals a game, stand to gain an advantage. Teams like Notre
Dame, which rely more on defensive prowess and strategy, may or may not. Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan dismisses the idea that lacrosse needs to be faster. What do you think? Let us know via Twitter @STACKMedia.