Rules for overtime needs to be fixed
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
There is too much confusion in collegiate overtime rules- or maybe overtime rules in general. In baseball and softball, there are extra innings so that is pretty natural, because you cannot really modify the game from any other levels except for an inning addition. For basketball, you get the standard five minute periods until the game is no longer tied at an extra session’s conclusion. However, in field hockey and women’s lacrosse everything gets confusing. Do not even get me started on men’s lacrosse overtime rules, as their sudden death overtime period is longer than the women’s game’s three minutes.
For women’s lacrosse, there are two halves for each three-minute overtime period, but here’s the thing: it is also sudden death, so the game could end mere seconds into the first half of overtime if a player finds an open lane all the way downfield and is able to find the net successfully. Just the concept of sudden death, sudden victory, golden goal, do or die – whatever anyone calls it – is maddening. You are on the edge of your seat throughout.
Field hockey adopted a change to its overtime rules recently, going with the aforementioned “sudden victory” session, or sessions. Now, there are two ten-minute overtime periods where, like in women’s lacrosse and some other sports, if you get the
ball in the net right away the game is over. But with all this overtime disparity, the jobs are so much harder for those live-tweeting, taking down game notes or operating the clock or scoreboard.
In non-inning sports, we need universal overtime rules. In the NFL they made the change as to where a field goal on the first possession of overtime does not end the game, and I think that’s pretty fair. Here’s the way to do it for field hockey and women’s lacrosse: get rid of the sudden-ending opportunities. If you go up two goals in the extra session, then you can call the game, but you need to give everyone a chance to win. Maybe there should be cross-committees to figure all this out.
When compared to other sports, such as basketball, where there is a set time for overtime, and overtime after that, there needs to be a balanced set of rules for overtime field hockey.