High School and Youth Girls’ Lacrosse Rules Changes Announced for 2024 Season

USA Lacrosse Magazine

July 17, 2023

The move from halves to quarters and an adjustment to the determination of free position location based on the spot of the ball when the violation occurs were among the changes supported by both the high school girls’ and youth girls’ lacrosse rules committees for the 2024 season.  Additionally, the NFHS committee eliminated the pause on self-starts for the high school level.

The high school rule changes have been approved by the board of directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and for the youth level by USA Lacrosse.

While the NFHS did not make a change prohibiting stick-to-body contact, USA Lacrosse will make this change to Rule 10-1r at the youth level based on developmental needs and safety.

“We want to minimize stick-to-body contact as well as educate coaches and officials on stick-to-body contact fouls in order to shrink the risk of injury for players,” said Caitlin Kelley, senior director for sports administration at USA Lacrosse and liaison to the NFHS and USAL Girls’ Lacrosse Rules Committees.

Regarding Rule 2-4-5, the committee added clarification that while cross inspections (stick check) may still be requested at any time while the game clock is stopped, requests prior to the start of the draw must now be completed before the official’s hand is in contact with both centers’ sticks. This adjustment clarifies the cut off point for a stick check request to avoid interruption to the start of the draw process.

Rule 2-6-1 now requires goalkeepers to wear shorts or pants manufactured with integrated thigh padding for increased protection and greater risk minimization.

Rule 2-7-1 was modified to state that all players must wear a tooth and mouth protector (intra-oral), and field players must not wear mouth protectors with protruding tabs. Additionally, color restrictions on tooth and mouth protectors were removed.

Rule 2-7-4 NOTE and Rule 2-9-5 were modified to state that compression shirts that meet the NOCSAE ND200 lacrosse standard at the time of manufacture are now permissible, and compression shirts that meet the NOCSAE ND200 lacrosse standard are not required to adhere to the color requirements of undergarments.

Rule 2-9-4e clarifies what identifying references can be used on the uniform jersey and where it can be located, aligning with other NFHS sport rules. These new requirements will not apply to Youth Rules, which will continue to have broader allowances pertaining to uniforms.

Rule 4-1-1 changed the maximum regulation playing time to 48 minutes divided into four 12-minute quarters, with two minutes between quarters. Teams will change ends on the field at the start of each quarter. The Youth Rules Committee also adopted the move to quarters, but the youth rules will continue to allow some flexibility in the duration and segmentation of playing time, provided that they do not extend past established parameters.

Rule 4-2-2 EXCEPTION was clarified regarding protocols for official time-outs while the 10-goal rule is in effect, and Rule 4-2-3 was adjusted to allow coaching during an injury time-out.

Regarding self-starts, Rule 5-4-1 now allows a player fouled outside of the critical scoring area to continue without coming to a stop when self-starts are allowed, matching the pace of play and eliminating the potential inadvertent advantage created when the defense can set up. Youth Rules will continue to require players to momentarily pause when self-starting for safety, education, and game management.

Rule 5-4-5 now eliminates a false start penalty when a player self-starts when it is not an option and allows officials to reset play without a penalty assessed.

Rule 10-1y – Three Seconds PENALTIES, now identifies the free position location when the spot of the ball is in the critical scoring area below goal line extended, in the 8-meter arc, and between the 8-meter arc and the 12-meter fan.

USA Lacrosse training materials for the 2024 season will be updated shortly and can be accessed online at www.usalacrosse.com/girls-and-womens-rules.   

A complete listing of the girls’ high school lacrosse rules changes is available on the NFHS website. https://www.nfhs.org/activities-sports/lacrosse-girls/.

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