Greater Houston Youth Lacrosse Association

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2019 Rules and Regulations of the

Greater Houston Youth Lacrosse Association

Section I – Definitions

Organization –  An independent system that fields at least one team within the Greater Houston Youth Lacrosse League (GHYLA). Each

Organization in GHYLA will operate and maintain its teams and be responsible for its own sign-up registrations, insurance, equipment, fields, and coaches. GHYLA Organizations will operate their own boards, conduct fundraisers, and maintain their own separate finances. Each Organization of the GHYLA will abide by all decisions voted on by the Board of Directors or otherwise stated in the Bylaws by the Executive Committee. Each member Organization must have one Director on the GHYLA Board and is entitled to one vote.

Team –                       A single squad of players within an Organization.

Section II – GHYLA Administration

GHYLA will be comprised of Organizations that are independent, each with its own board of directors and financial resources to fund its respective program.

All GHYLA Organizations must sign the “Compliance Agreement” which certifies that all coaches and staff have read and understand these rules, and agree to abide by them. Failure to sign this agreement will result in the exclusion of the Organization from GHYLA.

The name Greater Houston Youth Lacrosse League (GHYLA) refers to the league, as a whole. Organizations operate under their own name with their own identity. GHYLA allows Organizations to share in the planning and decision making while playing under its rules and regulations

GHYLA has a policy that we DO NOT share the coach’s or players contact lists with anyone. This is a matter of privacy. People who give their e-mail addresses to GHYLA have an expectation that their contact information will not be passed on to for-profit Organizations or companies.

Section III – Organization Costs

The GHYLA Board of Directors will determine dues and fees for each league or playing division. Every Organization in GHYLA will pay these dues and fees for its teams to the Treasurer prior to the first game of the season on the date announced by the Executive Committee. Failure to pay regular fees or dues shall cause the team’s games to be forfeited until all fees and dues are paid.

Each GHYLA Organization will pay for officials at all regular season home games. Officials’ fees may vary depending on how teams are aligned within the GHYLA (by division, conference, etc.). Failure to pay officials’ fees in a timely fashion shall cause the team’s games to be forfeited until all official’s fees are paid.


All home field scheduling and home field usage costs are the responsibility of the home team Organization. All playoff and tournament-style league-wide play shall have been paid for by the league as part of the GHYLA organizational dues. The league shall pay for fields, officials, trophies, other awards, and other related costs to such events. GHYLA member teams will each be allocated an equitable share of these costs as determined by the GHYLA.

Section IV – Organization Eligibility

The GHYLA will be comprised of independent Organizations playing together as a league. Any Organization that wishes to play in GHYLA will be welcome to join as a member Organization if agreed upon the GHYLA Board, as specified in Article 3 of the Bylaws.

Any vote on a new Organization admitted to the league will be taken after a current season ends but before a new season begins. A simple majority vote is needed to accept a new Organization into GHYLA based on the criteria set forth in the GHYLA Bylaws.

Each new member Organization will be on a one-season probationary term. At the end of the probationary term the GHYLA Board will then take a vote at the end-of-season meeting. A majority vote will be required to give the new member Organization regular status.

No Organization may be disciplined (including expulsion) from GHYLA without a majority vote by the GHYLA Board of Directors. This vote will take place at the end-ofseason meeting or during a specially convened meeting by the Executive Committee. 

A vote to discipline an Organization (including expulsion) may be called if one or more of the following conditions are met:

  1. An Organization shows a repeated disregard for the By-laws, rules, and codes set forth by the GHYLA Board. This can be quantified by an unusually high number of grievances brought against an Organization and formally submitted to the GHYLA Board.
  2. Repeated attempts are made by the GHYLA Executive Committee to get the offending Organization to comply, and the offending Organization fails to take reasonable action or fails to make reasonable progress to address the issue.

Unresolved issues requiring GHYLA intervention will be reviewed at the end-of-season meeting. If a resolution is not reached, the GHYLA Board of Directors shall call for a silent majority vote regarding expulsion. The result of the vote will be final.

If an Organization is expelled, a letter from the GHYLA Executive Committee will be sent to the expelled Organization president detailing the reasons. An expelled Organization can re-apply for membership after serving a one-year suspension.

All GHYLA member teams are required to carry team liability/medical insurance. If a team or Organization is found not to have liability insurance, the team will be immediately suspended from all league activities. Requiring the coaches and players to have a current US Lacrosse membership satisfies this liability/medical insurance requirement.

Section V – Player Divisions, Team Eligibility, Player Eligibility, Rosters, Coaches Eligibility, First Aid

The Greater Houston Youth Lacrosse League will be based on the following divisions primarily based on grade and with the age limitations noted. No player who is fifteen (15) years on August 31st in the year prior to the start of the regular season, which usually begins in late January or early February, or who is enrolled in school in the 9th grade or above shall be allowed to play in the GHYLA. A valid birth certificate must be produced for the Executive Committee within seventy-two (72) hours upon request. The age limitations are intended to protect the safety and well-fare of the children. A player who does not meet the age restrictions for his own grade or an Organization that desires to have player participate in a lower division may petition the Executive Committee for a waiver by contacting the GHYLA President.

Teams shall be as follows:

  1. 8th Grade: Team: An 8th Grade Team shall be a team whose players are:
    1. In the 7th or 8th Grade during the season of competition. 
    2. Not members of a team from another GHYLA member program.
  2. 6th Grade Team: A 6th Grade Team shall be a team whose players are:
    1. In the 5th or 6th Grade during the season of competition
    2. Not members of a team from another GHYLA program.
  3. 4th Grade Team: A 4th Grade Team shall be a team whose players are:
    1. In the 3rd or 4th Grade during the season of competition
    2. Not members of a team from another GHYLA program.
  4. 2nd Grade Team: A 2nd Grade Team shall be a team whose players are:
    1. In K, 1st or 2nd Grade during the season of competition
    2. Not members of a team from another GHYLA program.


*Playing up a grade level - players are allowed to play one grade level only with signed parental consent.  To exemplify, a 6th grader may play at the 8U divisional level; however a 5th grader may not. Likewise, a 4th grader may play up at the 6U divisional level but a 3rd grader may not.  Finally, a 2nd grader may play up at the 4U divisional level but no other grades lower than 2nd can.  

In each grade-level division (other than 2nd Grade), a Team may be designated “D1” or “D2”.  Each D1 Team will be eligible to participate in the end of the season Playoff Tournament.  No player may play on more than one D1 team. D1 rostered starters may not play down on a D2 Team.  However, D2 rostered players may play up on a D1 team, as a special designation, to comply with the 10 + 4 rule.  No player is permitted to play on two teams in multiple Grade-based divisions without the approval of the Executive Committee and subject to the rules below.  No player is permitted to play more than one grade year up, a must do so through written parental consent.

Rule “10 + 4” Team Eligibility  -In order to promote the safety and well-being of all GHYLA players, GHYLA has enacted the “10 +4” rule wherein in order to field a team at the 6U, 7U and 8U divisions, all GHYLA clubs participating must have a minimum of 10 players, plus 4 additional players that are substitutes.  If such a team cannot be formed with the required minimum number of players (i.e. 14) by a particular GHYLA member club within ten (10) days of their registration closing or rosters being due to GHYLA for that particular season, then that member club must release its’ prospective players at that particular age division upon request by a parent so that any particular player making a request can attempt to play with the closest nearby program performing a Mapquest test who has the appropriate age-level team.    


GHYLA Member clubs cannot mandate or force its’ players to play a grade level up if that GHYLA member club cannot field a team at a particular divisional level.  The option of playing a grade level up can be presented to the parent of that particular player and ultimately the decision lies with the parent of that particular player.  For example, if a GHYLA member club does not have a 4U or 6U team, GHYLA member clubs cannot mandate or force players to play a divisional level higher at a 6U or 8U level in order to force that particular player to stay within that particular GHYLA program.  Additionally, if a team cannot be fielded at a particular level by a GHYLA member club, certain players have the option of playing a grade divisional level down with the approval of GHYLA.  To exemplify, 5th graders could be waivered down to the 4U level by a member club if that team does not have a 6U level team as long as approval is obtained from GHYLA and the parents of that particular child agree.  However, 5th grade players that have played any select level lacrosse will not be allowed to waiver down to the 4U age level division as that would constitute an unfair competition advantage. 


GHYLA strongly recommends that all GHYLA Club members that have players playing a grade level up with the permission and approval of their parents obtain signed releases from those parents and players due to the size difference and skill variation.  

Head coaches must have their team’s official roster with player’s name, address, grade and game jersey number available on game day to verify his players’ eligibility. Only the opposing head coach can challenge a player’s status. The head coach must then follow the procedures relating to grievances included within these rules.  In the event that official rosters are not filed on time, all conference games will be entered as a 0-1 loss if a team wins the game, until the roster is filed.  If both teams have not filed their rosters, it will be a 0-0 tie.


Level 1 Coaching Certification

It is mandated that all Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches that are age 18 or over of any member club who wish and desire to be present on the sidelines of any GHYLA sanctioned game or scrimmage will be required to have at a minimum the Level 1 Certification and all component parts provided by US Lacrosse.  If a head coach or assistant coach is under the age of 18, that person will be required to have at a minimum the Level 1 Junior Certification offered by US Lacrosse.  This rule is being enacted to foster and promote a better understanding and knowledge of the game for all GHYLA coaches as well as aiding in the betterment of the communication between officials and the league. 

Exceptions to this rule where Level 1 Certification is not required for any GHYLA sanctioned game or scrimmage are as follows:

(1) Volunteer scorekeepers, time keepers or set-up and clean-up crew of any kind of any member club; (2) Sideline monitors;

  1. Any other non-coaching personnel aiding in set up, clean up or stat keeping duties of a club during a game or scrimmage; 
  2. Any trainers or medical personnel of any member club;
  3. Any assistant coaches or volunteer coaches that participate and assist during practices only.

Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches will be given a one-year grace period to complete the Level 1 in-person instructional clinic provided by US lacrosse starting January 1, 2019; however all background checks and video course requirements for Level 1 certification must be completed before the start of the regular season of GHYLA in January, 2019. Any member clubs who are found to violate this rule will suffer the following penalties and sanctions:

  1. The underlying game will be forfeited in favor of the non-offending member club at a 1-0 score; and
  2. Automatic suspension from the playoffs for that season where the offense has taken place.

At each game, the home team Organization will have present at least one person certified in “CPR and First Aid” and hold a valid current card. Each team will have a properlystocked first aid kit with emergency plan and a cell phone on the sidelines of all GHYLA league games and practices. If possible, each team should have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on the sidelines. For purposes of contacting emergency vehicles, each team will have the property address of the playing field available at all times.

Section VI – Boundaries, Player Waivers

Organizational Boundaries

The GHYLA requires its member Organizations to abide by the boundary guidelines established by the GHYLA. All players shall join the team that is zoned to provide players to the applicable public high school program.

The alignment of GHYLA members to specific public high school boundaries shall be determined annually by the GHYLA Board of Directors. This alignment shall be set as early as practicable following the vote of new members and must be confirmed no later than the first day October of each year. The alignment is intended to follow the THSLL guidelines, though the GHYLA Board of Directors in its boundary vote may elect an alignment that differs from that of the THSLL. In cases where member Organizations cannot agree on boundaries in their area, each Organization will submit its proposal for its boundaries for that area to a vote of the Board of Directors, which will determine by majority vote the boundaries for such Organizations.

Boundary Changes

Any player impacted by a boundary change will have a one-time opportunity to choose an affiliation with his previous team or the newly-zoned team.


Player Waivers

All players must play for their appropriate GHYLA member team. Determination of the appropriate member team for players that attend a public school or private school which is not a GHYLA member club is based on where the player’s home address is located within the GHYLA approved boundaries. GHYLA boundaries have been developed with consideration of the Greater Houston area ISD zones.  Players that attend a private school that is also a GHYLA member club may elect to play for their school in lieu of their assigned boundary GHYLA member club. GHLYA boundaries can be located on the GHYLA website.  For compelling reasons only, a player may request a waiver from his zoned team to the closest geographic alternate team within the GHYLA organization, using a Mapquest test. Players will not be allowed to simply pick and choose a team they desire, or want to play for, without geographic limitations.  For a waiver to be effective, the waiver must be submitted prior to Final Roster submission date of each season to GHYLA and have the initial approval of both of the organizations involved.  All waivers must then be submitted in writing to the GHYLA Secretary, and Final Approval will be determined by the Executive Committee.  Any waivers submitted after the submission of the final rosters to GHYLA are invalid and will not be considered.


Organizations have three (3) days to respond to waiver requests or submittals by parents or players.  A player, or member Organization, is permitted to appeal a waiver to the GHYLA Executive Committee, if the originally submitted waiver is not equally approved by both organizations or timely decided, by submitting an appeal to the Secretary or President of the GHYLA.  Upon request for an appeal, the Executive Committee of GHYLA will convene and review the evidence submitted and will render a decision in a timely manner, to minimize any interference with the commencement of the season, and any roster deadlines required by these rules. For a waiver appeal to be considered approved, and thus effective, it must be ratified and approved by a two-thirds (2/3rds) majority vote of the Executive Committee. Any Final determination of the Executive Committee will be binding on the player and/or Organizations involved.  Once any player is granted a waiver for a particular season, from an Organization, that waivered-in Organization becomes the zoned Organization for such player for that particular season ONLY.   

Waivers must be submitted on an annual basis by every player requesting a waiver, for the Executive Committee to assess and determine if compelling reasons still persist.   Players will not be grandfathered in just because they have played for a member club of GHYLA that they were not zoned to in a prior season and this rule applies retroactively to all players beginning January 1, 2019.  No Club may carry more than four (4) waivered in players per season.  And no team within a club may have more than two waivered players.  Copies of all waivers submitted for each season will be kept in a binder designated “WAIVERS” by the Secretary of GHYLA as well as an online document repository and are available for review by any member team of GHYLA upon written request.  In addition, GHYLA member programs must include a copy of the approved waiver in the player’s game-day sideline binder.  

All GHYLA clubs are permitted a total of four (4) waivers per year for all of their respective D1 and D2 teams.  Furthermore, not more than two (2) waivered in players are allowed on any particular team per club (i.e. a GHYLA club is only allowed to have two (2) players playing at a D1 level 8U team for that year). However, these waivered in limitation rules will not apply if a GHYLA Club that is closest to another particular GHYLA club cannot field a team at a specific divisional level and those players out of necessity are forced to play for the closest zoned GHYLA club. 

Examples of compelling reasons would be:

  1. If the GHYLA member club a player is zoned to, sets restrictive limits on the number of players it intends to field at a particular grade level, and said player is not allowed to register, 
  2. OR a member club of GHYLA does not have enough players at a particular grade level to field a team at that level.  


Any member team of GHYLA that has found to have violated this rule either by accepting a player not zoned to their program without the necessary waiver or by circumventing this rule on their own accord will thereby lose playoff eligibility for that season upon which the violation occurs and any game that non-waivered player(s) participates in will be forfeited to the opposing team in 1-0 victory.

Section VII – Game and Practice Regulations/Officials

Each Organization will provide its own home field and will be responsible for field markings and field supervision. It is also encouraged that all home fields have access to toilet facilities for all participants

Each Organization that does not have an operating scoreboard must furnish a regulation clock as well as a penalty clock and horn with an adult to run them.

The home team is responsible for accommodating the visiting team by making sure that the home team has a different colored jersey than the visiting team. Each Organization must submit its team jersey colors for home games to the GHYLA Coordinator before its first regular season game. In the interest of cost, it is desirable to use one color for home and away. However, the use of pinnies or reversible jerseys is acceptable.

All GHYLA member teams must provide a site administrator, as defined by U.S. Lacrosse, for every game.

Each Organization will operate its home field as the host and may elect to offer concessions. It is not a requirement that an Organization offer concessions. All teams must make sure that all trash on their sidelines is cleaned up after each game.

Section VIII – Ethics

In any document one can find loopholes or ways to get around a rule. It is up to the individual Organizations to police themselves so as not to break the spirit of the bylaws, rules, and regulations. An Organization is only as good as the people in it who are willing to play above board in an honest and trusting manner. The GHYLA was created to bring together strong independent youth lacrosse Organizations that are willing to work within an environment of mutual cooperation in which the advancement of Lacrosse, and not just the individual Organization, is the main priority. The dynamics of youth lacrosse demands that a youth lacrosse league be operated in this manner. This allows the community in which the Organization resides to better serve its local area, grow within that area, and have a sense of ownership with the community.

Member Organizations are expected to induce a spirit of high ideals in their teams. Member Organizations are expected to practice the highest standards of sportsmanship and coaching ethics.

Altercations between parents, players, coaches, officials, or any other spectators will not be tolerated. Organizations must police themselves and make it clear to their Organization that bad behavior will not be tolerated.

The highest degree of ethical conduct is expected of all that participate in the league. This includes strict adherence to both the letter and the spirit of the rules and regulations. The use of alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco products, and the use of profanity at GHYLAsanctioned events is prohibited.

Section IX – Playing Rules

Playing rules will be the US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules, as amended by any waivers adopted by the GHYLA. Adoption of waivers will be voted on by the GHYLA board of directors as early as practicable and prior to the beginning of the regular season. The GHYLA will advise officials of any waivers before the start of the regular season.  For the 2019 Season the GHYLA will be using the US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules, as modified by the Grade-level based nomenclature of these rules and regulations.

Section X – Playoffs

Each year at the Pre-season meeting, the Board of Directors shall determine the basis for eligibility and format for playoffs for each division.