As Gordon Corsetti likes to say, the Unnecessary Roughness penalty is for the hit that makes the crowd go “ooooooooohhhhh.” It is imperative that these hits be penalized, particularly at the Youth Level. A body check that has met ALL of the requirements of a legal check (two hands on the crosse, above the waist, below the neck, from the front to side and with the body not the crosse between the hands) may still be ruled illegal if the official deems that it was unnecessary .
So what does unnecessary mean? Injuries will occur as a result of physical play and may well occur as the result of legal contact. You will hear fans, players and coaches complain that lacrosse is a contact sport. Lacrosse is a game of speed and skill and includes a varying degree of physical play. But the goal of contact should be to dislodge the ball or redirect the player. No player is entitled to do bodily harm to another player. Therefore it is imperative to know what you are looking for and more importantly when to be on the look out for rough play.
There are a number of situations where these hits tend to occur with regularity.
- During an extended loose ball, especially one near the crease. Players are taught to “clear the crease” in the event of a loose ball. While this usually means employing the “man-ball” technique, with the ball so close to their goal, players often resort to plowing through the scrum and leveling a big hit.
- Late or excessive hits on the shooter: Remember, the Lead has the goal and the end line The Trails’ MOST important responsibility is the shooter.
- The Buddy Pass: a pass thrown high or wide to a player or who is lead into the path of an oncoming defender. IN each case the player is left defenseless.
- The hit on the goalie out of the crease. We have all heard the crowd bellow “goalie’s out of the crease, get him!” This is a very difficult situation as an official as it can radically change the tone of the game. The goalie has no special privileges once he is outside of the crease, but he may not be targeted for injury by the other team. Contact with the goalie, even legal contact, can incite his teammates to retaliate in order to “protect their guy.” It is imperative as the trail to watch the entire play. There is no rush for you to get down to the other half of the field. The Lead has it. It’s a one man game until you get in position! Make sure that all is well before you move on.
The Unnecessary Roughness foul is written to specifically address this type of contact. Player safety is the PRIMARY concern for all officials.
This video below demonstrates a classic example of the “buddy pass” and Unnecessary Roughness.
NFHS Rule 5:9 Unnecessary roughness includes the following:
ART. 1 . . . An excessively violent infraction of the rules against holding and pushing.
ART. 2 . . . Deliberate and excessively violent contact made by a defensive player against an offensive player who has established a screening position.
ART. 3 . . . Any avoidable act on the part of a player that is deliberate and excessively violent, whether it be with the body or crosse. This may include a legal body check.
ART. 4 . . . A check delivered with the gloved hand or hands may not be delivered with a punching blow.
Note: in the 2013 Youth Rules, Unnecessary Roughness is a Non-releasable penalty!
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me.