When it comes to sports with the similar attributes, no two sports are more dissimilar than men's and women's lacrosse. But at the NCAA National Convention this past January in San Diego, CA, the competition committee decided to change that for a more "homogeneous" appeal that would allow for more rapid growth for both sports.
Some concessions were made by both sides that will streamline the sport a bit more so that there won't be confusion from one game to the other, allowing for officiating to be the same in a cost-cutting measure and also to increase effectiveness. Below are some points that should appease both sides:
1 - Both teams will now field 11 players. Prior, the men's team had 10 players on the field and the women's team had 12 players.
2 - The field size will conform to the men's current standards. With a reduction of players on the women's side, the field size was not a point of contention.
3 - The game will be played with reduced contact on the men's side and increased contact on the women's side. The men's game will have less action with sticks, while the women's game will be allowed for higher contact, including more physical pushing that was previously disallowed.
4 - Because of the above changes, the women will be allowed to wear more pads for the increased possibility of injury. Some traditionalists did scoff at the change in physicality and alteration from a finess-type of sport, but overall many of the student-athletes polled actually wanted a more rough-and-tumble type of game.
The changes will not be implemented until the 2016 season so that fields can be altered and players can grow accustomed to the changes over the coming seasons.
"We believe that the changes made will allow the sport of lacrosse to grow exponentially over the coming years," Clarkson representative and NCAA committee member Joe Bushey remarked. "Sports such as soccer and basketball have uniform rules and playing surfaces that allow for players of all ages to understand the game from a very young age, and we felt that lacrosse was fracturing and splintering off too much. From a very young age, up-and-coming athletes will understand their sport better and should allow for a record growth."
There are still some kinks that need to be worked out prior to implementation. One bone of contention was the alteration of the uniforms, since the men's game has numerous paddings, helmets and different jerseys, while the women play with goggles, mouthguards and skirts/kilts. The 15-member committee was 100 percent in favor of uniformity in the uniforms, with one abstention, but no decision has been made on the future fashions for the sport.