by Jeff Husted

Executives from across the MASL convened in Kansas City for the MASL’s annual Fall Meetings. The festivities began late in the morning as attendees began to arrive at the meeting facilities.

Today’s meetings began with a focus on the field of play. Head of MASL Officials Ryan Cigich discussed some of the upcoming points of emphasis for the upcoming season. These are rules that may have already been in place, but the referees will be putting a special focus on implementing these rules.

The focus of these points of emphasis will be on hits and contact above the shoulder, embellishment and the overall pace of play. Protecting the safety of the players while enhancing the entertainment of the game was crucial to the focus of these rules.

Some of the other items discussed were routine in nature, but extremely important to the league’s season. With the change in the league’s calendar to start in December, important roster dates were established. Players can be transferred from one team to another up until February 21, 2019. Outside of that, teams can sign players who aren’t under contract to their team until March 7, 2019.

Also established in today’s meetings was a new Disciplinary Committee to handle any on-field incidents that require extra attention. The committee will consist of an experienced former player, experienced former referee and league executives. The purpose of the committee is not to re-referee the games, but instead to give support and extra attention to sensitive aspects of the game like violent conduct, embellishment, contact above the shoulder, mass confrontation and players leaving the bench during an altercation.

The steps taken in today’s meetings bring the MASL in-line with the many other leagues in regards to player safety and discipline.

On the field, there were several other changes that will be seen throughout the league this year:

  • Goalkeepers
  • Three-line rule exemption – Goalkeepers will now be exempt from the three-line rule when distributing the ball with a throw.
  • Goalkeepers cannot cross the midfield line with the ball until the 4th quarter of the game.
  • Goalkeepers will be limited to 4 seconds with possession of the ball.
  • 6th Attacker
  • A player who is on the field as a 6th Attacker will now have to serve any timed penalty called against them. Previously, they were treated as a normal goalkeeper and a field player could serve their timed penalties.
  • 6th Attacker must be a designated field player and not a back-up goalkeeper.
  • Time outs
  • Teams will now have two time-outs to use at any time in each game.
  • ‘Media time-outs’ will still be used in each quarter and not be charged to any team
  • Playoff Roster Expansion
  • In the regular season, teams are allowed to dress 15 players each game.
  • In the playoffs teams will be allowed to dress 16 players, as long as that extra player is a designated goalkeeper.

Meetings will resume tomorrow as the league’s owners look beyond this season and how to continue to grow this game.