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  • Writer's pictureLoren Richmond Jr

Rule Changes Announced for High School Boys in 2022

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has announced 15 boys’ rules changes that will be effective for the 2022 high school season. USA Lacrosse and the NFHS collaborate annually on rule changes.

Most prominent among the changes are new timing guidelines in instances of significant score differentials, modifications to the faceoff protocol, adjustments in penalty time, and equipment requirements.

Rule 3-1-2 now states that after the first half, any time the score differential reaches 12 goals or more, the game will be played with a running clock and only stopped for a team time-out, official’s time-out, or injury time-out. Additionally, all penalties that occur during a score differential situation will be administered as running time. Once a game reaches running time, the clock will not go back to standard timing even if the score differential goes back under 12 goals.

“This change mirrors other sports like high school football that have a running clock in a lopsided game,” said Rick Lake, men’s lacrosse director at USA Lacrosse.

Rule 4-3-3 was modified so that the official conducting the faceoff will now start the procedure by placing the ball on the midfield line at the spot on which the faceoff will take place before instructing the players to prepare for the faceoff by saying “down.” Additionally, all fingers of both hands shall be gloved and wrapped around the crosse with the hand closer to the head of the crosse in a palm-up position. Players shall stand as they get into position for the faceoff and remain standing until the whistle sounds to start play.

“Placing the ball on the ground was one of the COVID modifications made for last season and was helpful in providing players with a visible marker for where they should set up for the faceoff,” Lake said. “The requirement for a standing neutral grip and prohibiting a motorcycle grip will result in a fair and safer faceoff, and now aligns with the NCAA rule.”

One additional faceoff modification was that upon the whistle that starts play, each player must attempt to play the ball first before they may body check their opponent.

“Faceoff players playing the ball first was not something that appeared in the initial release of the NCAA rule changes, however, it was later added and enforced as a point of emphasis. Therefore, the NFHS committee added this same language to the rules to ensure enforcement,” Lake said.

Among other rules changes coming to boys’ lacrosse in 2022:

● The concept of “stacking” has been clarified to help administer penalty time for multiple players from the same team serving penalties at the same time (Rule 7-2).

● A protective cup or pelvic protector is now required (previously recommended) for all players. Wearing this piece of equipment will be the player’s responsibility and mirrors other NFHS rule sets (Rule 1-9).

● Adjusted the language to be consistent in all sections of the rule book by referencing the required equipment as a tooth and mouth protector (rather than a mouthpiece).

Also, as a reminder, the implementation date requiring that shoulder pads are designed for lacrosse and meet NOCSAE standard ND200 is January 1, 2022. This follows the rule change from 2019 which required goalie chest protectors designed for lacrosse that meet the NOCSAE ND200 standard. USA Lacrosse encourages all players to purchase shoulder pads that meet NOCSAE ND200 before the upcoming January implementation date.

Read the full post from the NFHS on the 15 rules changes for 2022.

Questions about the high school rule changes can be submitted via email to

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