A stick check in lacrosse is a common procedure used by referees. At the end of each quarter the ref will choose a crosse or stick of one player from each team to check for legality. Normally they will pick a stick that has had a lot of contact with the ball. Furthermore, each coach is allowed to ask for an equipment check of a chosen player for free each game. This is only permitted once per game unless the stick checked was illegal. Each check request from there will charge a timeout from the requesting team if the equipment is found to pass the check.
The referee will check five things when performing a stick check after as general look over the stick for obvious things such as a broken head or missing butt plug (seriously, the plug on the end of the stick… the butt plug).
- The widest point of the head must be at least 6.5 inches and no more than 10 inches though they are mainly checking for minimums in the check.
- The length of the head must be at least 10 inches.
- The length of the entire stick must be at least 40 inches for standard sticks.
- With a ball in the pocket and the stick parallel to the ground, the ball should begin to roll out of the head toward the ground, as the stick is rotated 90 degrees. The same test is performed with the stick perpendicular to the ground.
- With a ball in the pocket, no daylight should be visible between the ball and the bottom edge of the side wall.
In order to be allowed back in the game, an illegal stick must be adjusted. The possessing player is charged a one to three minute, non-releasable penalty. Furthermore, a player may incur a penalty if they adjust the strings or hit the head of the stick on the ground once the stick check has been requested.
For further info see referenced NCAA 2004 Men's Lacrosse Rulebook