The following statement by Warrior Sports regarding its lawsuit against the NCAA for its new men’s lacrosse stick specifications, effective in 2010, was released Tuesday to Lacrosse Magazine Online. To read LMO’s original story about the lawsuit, click here.
Last week, a federal judge denied Warrior’s request for an injunction, according to The Grand Rapids Press, noting that the firm and retail store named as a co-plaintiff in the suit waited six months to file against the collegiate sports association.
WARREN, Mich. - Warrior Sports announced this month that it has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the NCAA, stemming from a recent rule change made by the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee.
Warrior’s lawsuit also seeks to prevent the rule from going into effect. Joining with Warrior as a plaintiff in that case is Athlete’s Connection of Lansing, Mich., a lacrosse equipment retailer. Absent court intervention, the new rule, which sets stringent requirements for the dimensions of lacrosse heads, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010.
The new rule, announced in February of this year, contains the latest dimensional mandates for a lacrosse head, after having announced two prior versions of this rule change – one in September 2006, and the second in September 2007.
Prior to these rule changes occurring over an 18-month period, the dimensional requirements for a lacrosse head were essentially unchanged for decades. Historically, the only relevant measurements consisted of a top-to-bottom measurement of 10 inches, and a side-to-side measurement, at the widest point of the head, of not less than 6.5 inches.
The new rule, as ultimately configured by the NCAA as of February 2008, introduces three additional measuring points that dictate the shape of the lacrosse head. The measurements required by this rule are as follows:
Measurement from throat | Minimum distance from narrowest point on crosse
1.25″ | 3.0″ (all measurements)
3.0″ | 3.0″ (all measurements)
5.0″ | 3.5-4.0″ front and 3.5″ back
The widest point | 6.0-6.5″ front and 6.0″ back
According to an NCAA press release, the reason for the new head measurements rule is to “promote free dislodgement of the ball.”
“The NCAA has failed to provide any studies or any conclusive data that indicates the sport has a problem with free dislodgement of the ball from the lacrosse head. Nor has it articulated how this new rule will, in the least drastic method, solve this claimed problem,” said David Morrow, president of Warrior Sports. “Without any supporting data, and given that the NCAA changed the same rule three times in an 18-month period, you would have to conclude that this is a purely arbitrary rule change with no factual basis behind it.
“It appears that there are few, if any, lacrosse heads currently manufactured that will meet these new minimum measurements.
“We were disappointed that the NCAA did not respect the production limitations of manufacturers and did not allow for an appropriate phase-in period. That meant that manufacturers were expected to completely redesign, retool and introduce entire new product lines by next fall in order to meet the Jan. 1, 2010 date set by the NCAA. This ruling will result in significant and unnecessary expenses for manufacturers, dealers and players, as there will potentially be a ton of obsolete products out there, stuck in the hands of players who can’t use them or dealers who can’t sell them.”
Historically, most amateur lacrosse organizations, including the National Federation of State High School Associations, (NFHS) have followed the NCAA lacrosse rules. Currently, there are an estimated 290,000 amateur lacrosse players in the country.
“This is a concern for the entire sporting goods industry, not just Warrior, if the NCAA can, on a whim or as part of a secret deal, and with no supporting scientific or technical data, render an entire product line illegal for play, said Morrow.
NCAA men’s lacrosse rules currently in place to promote free dislodgement of the ball are referred to as “Stick Check Rules.” These rules provide for on-field tests, designed to ensure that the ball freely dislodges from a lacrosse head. One test involves holding the stick parallel to the ground and rotating it forward, to ensure the ball freely rolls out the side of the head. The other involves holding the stick perpendicular to the ground and tilting the head forward past 90 degrees, to ensure the ball rolls out of the bottom of the head.
The NCAA currently enforces these field test rules on a random and selective basis.