Conduct / Ethics
Obligations of Officials
Officials have the highest obligation to conduct themselves in accordance with the USA Lacrosse Code of Conduct and USA Lacrosse Code of Ethics, which are posted on the USA Lacrosse website but are also pasted here for your convenience. Please read, understand, and adhere to these important codes. Officials should avoid accepting game assignments where they have a conflict of interest. The Conflict of Interest section below contains general guidance from another officiating organization (TASO), which you might find illuminating even though the TASO guidance is not binding upon TXLOA officials, who are not required to be members of TASO.
The failure of an official to comply with the standards of ethics and professional conduct is grounds for disciplinary action, such as non-assignment of games, up to and including possible termination from TXLOA.
For high school games (varsity, JV) and for youth lacrosse games (2U, 4U, 6U, and 8U), the crew chief (aka, the "referee") is required to fill out a game report, which must include any ejection of a player, coach, or spectator or which must also include any incident that occurs that is not a normal part of the game, such as safety concerns of the location, problems with fans or coaches, suspension of the game due to weather/lighting, or overly aggressive team exhibiting violent play or teams that are committing lots of penalties.
Click this link to view or download the Incident Report in editable Adobe Acrobat form.
Click this link to view or download the Incident Report in Microsoft Word format.
Submit the completed incident report to the assigner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TXLOA Ethics Committee
Anyone wishing to ask a question, raise an issue, or submit a submit complaint can do so with the TXLOA Ethics Committee. A link to the Ethics procedures is posted at the following link:
Click this link to view the TXLOA Ethics and Professional Standards Committee Procedures in Adobe Acrobat format.
You can also send an email address to email@example.com if you wish to communicate directly to the Ethics Committee. The composition of the TXLOA Ethics Committee is posted on the "Contacts" pane at the left.
USA Lacrosse Code of Conduct
Players, coaches, officials, parents and spectators are to conduct themselves in a manner that "Honors the Game" and demonstrates respect to other players, coaches, officials, parents, spectators and fans. In becoming a member of the lacrosse community an individual assumes certain obligations and responsibilities to the game of lacrosse and its participants. The essential elements in this "Code of Conduct" are HONESTY and INTEGRITY. Those who conduct themselves in a manner that reflects these elements will bring credit to the sport of lacrosse, themselves, their team and their organization.
It is only through such conduct that our sport can continue to earn and maintain a positive image and make its full contribution to amateur sports in the United States and around the world. USA Lacrosse supports the following behaviors for those who participate in the sport or are involved in any way with USA Lacrosse. The following essential elements of the "Code of Conduct" must be followed:
Sportsmanship and teaching the concepts of fair play are essential to the game and must be taught at all levels and developed both at home and on the field during practices and games.
The value of good sportsmanship, the concepts of fair play, and the skills of the game should always be placed above winning.
The safety and welfare of the players are of primary importance.
Coaches must always be aware of the tremendous influence they have on their players. They are to strive to be positive role models in dealing with young people, as well as adults.
Coaches should always demonstrate positive behaviors and reinforce them to players, parents, officials and spectators alike. Players should be specifically encouraged and positively reinforced by coaches to demonstrate respect for teammates, opponents, officials and spectators.
Players should always demonstrate positive behavior and respect toward teammates, opponents, coaches, officials, parents and spectators.
Coaches, players, parents and spectators are expected to demonstrate the utmost respect for officials and reinforce that respect to players/teammates. Coaches are also expected to educate their players as to the important role of lacrosse officials and reinforce the ideal of respect for the official to players/teammates.
Grievances or misunderstandings between coaches, officials or any other parties involved with the sport should be communicated through the proper channels and procedures, never on or about the field of play in view of spectators or participants.
Officials are professionals and are therefore expected to conduct themselves as such and in a manner that demonstrates total impartiality, courtesy and fairness to all parties.
Spectators involved with the game must never permit anyone to openly or maliciously criticize, badger, harass, or threaten an official, coach, player, or opponent.
Coaches must be able to demonstrate a solid knowledge of the rules of lacrosse and should adhere to the rules in both the letter and the spirit of the game.
Coaches should provide a basic knowledge of the rules to both players and spectators within his/her program. Attempts to manipulate rules in an effort to take unfair advantage of an opponent, or to teach deliberate unsportsmanlike conduct, is considered unacceptable conduct.
Eligibility requirements, at all levels of the game, must be followed. Rules and requirements such as age, previous level of participation, team transfers, etc., have been established to encourage and maximize participation, fair play and to promote safety.
USA Lacrosse Code of Ethics
The mission of USA Lacrosse is to ensure a unified and responsive organization that develops and promotes the sport by providing services to its members and programs to inspire participation, while preserving the integrity of the game. USA Lacrosse grants the privilege of membership to individuals (players, coaches, officials and leadership) and organizations committed to the tenets of its mission. Inherent within all professional organizations is the potential for conflicts of interest, harassment, abuse of power, and other forms of unethical practice.
Through the establishment of an organizational Code of Ethics, USA Lacrosse has defined a set of guidelines to promote and protect the spirit of the game, safeguard the best interest of the participants, and establish and maintain standards of behavior. The Code is not intended to serve as a set of rules, but rather, to outline general principles and guidelines of aspirational virtues and proper ethical behavior for all members, volunteers, staff and any other individuals and organizations that chose to affiliate with USA Lacrosse.
The definition of ethical behavior is having an understanding of the difference between right and wrong and at all times choosing to do what is right. This definition should be applied at the individual level to those within the USA Lacrosse umbrella: employees, volunteers or individuals who represent USA Lacrosse within the community at large, as well as the corporate level pertaining to the actions of USA Lacrosse, as an organization.
Ethical considerations are integral, not optional, elements of all sports activities and apply to all levels of participation. USA Lacrosse encourages all members to acknowledge and follow ethical guidelines and demonstrate integrity by voluntarily agreeing to adhere to a moral or ethical code.
Participation in the sport of lacrosse provides a powerful vehicle for a participant’s personal growth and development, teaching the value of respect, fairness, teamwork, communication, responsibility, truthfulness, non-discrimination, honesty and integrity. These values serve as the core ideals for the USA Lacrosse Code of Ethics.
Respect is defined at the individual, team and corporate levels. Individuals should value the opinions, views and roles of others who work to further the mission of the organization. All should safeguard the dignity, privacy and freedom of individuals regardless of their race, color, creed, socio-economic status, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or nationality. Respect defines the value that USA Lacrosse, as an organization, places on honoring the history of the sport, and demonstrates the regard it shows to the various and disparate constituencies that have come together to form USA Lacrosse to further the growth and development of the sport.
Fairness is making decisions without favoritism or prejudice. USA Lacrosse firmly believes that the concept of fairness is fundamental to sport. Anything that creates an unfair advantage violates the spirit, as well as the integrity, of the sport of lacrosse.
Teamwork is defined as a cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of individuals who work collectively in the interest of a common goal. USA Lacrosse believes there is significant value in promoting teamwork, both on and off the field, in every segment of the sport. All members of USA Lacrosse, its staff, and volunteers should adopt and promote the philosophy that greater success can be achieved when individuals sacrifice their desire for personal accomplishment in favor of the benefits of their team.
Communication is an attempt by individuals to create shared understanding. Communication is an active ‘two-way street,’ requiring a balance of articulating, listening, writing, reading, observing, questioning, analyzing, and evaluating. Communication is verbal, nonverbal, or written, sent through various media, and transmits a thought provoking idea, gesture, or action. USA Lacrosse members, employees and those individuals or groups representing USA Lacrosse, should communicate with clarity, honesty, timeliness, and openness. Communication should include all pertinent information shared transparently with all appropriate recipients. Clear, honest, timely communication allows collaboration and cooperation to occur, building a stronger game and community for sport.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest is present in any instance in which the actions or activities of an individual representing or acting on behalf of USA Lacrosse could result in actual or perceived personal gain or advantage, and/or have an adverse effect on the interests, mission or integrity of USA Lacrosse. Individuals who represent and serve USA Lacrosse, at the local, regional or national levels have a duty to disclose any financial interest or personal obligation that may, actually or perceptually, affect the independence of their judgment. [Note: Please read the optional TASO Conflict of Interest document for additional suggestions for when you might have a conflict of interest.]
All members of USA Lacrosse, its staff, and volunteers are obligated to comply with all applicable laws. Violation of the law is not tolerated. USA Lacrosse reserves the right to review such violations, which may result in revocation of organizational and/or member status.
TXLOA Social Media Policy
As lacrosse officials, we recognize that we represent not only ourselves as individuals; rather we also represent our co-officials, the TXLOA administration, the leagues/teams for whom we work, the rulemaking/governing bodies for the sport of lacrosse, and our local community. Our actions have an impact on others, regardless of whether we are officiating a game on the field or we are just sitting at home behind a computer writing emails or making social media postings about a game. We must recognize that as officials, anything we say or write about a game, rule, player, or coach carries a certain weight and/or credibility by virtue of our status as officials.
As certified officials, we are presumed to be authorities on the rules and mechanics of the game. We must also be 100% unbiased in our actions – both by deed and by perception. In order to protect the integrity and reputation of all officials and the game itself, WE MUST REFRAIN FROM MAKING DEROGATORY OR INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS ABOUT ANYTHING RELATED TO LACROSSE. We must not record, transmit, or publish – either by word, recording, film, internet, or any form of social media (including Facebook, Twitter, lnstagram, et al.) – anything that could reflect poorly on TXLOA and the institutions we represent.
Before you send any message or post anything to a social media site, you must stop, think, and ask yourself, “Are my words appropriate in all respects?” and “What impact will my words have once my posting goes viral across social media and the internet?” Be mindful that once you click the "send" or “publish” button, you cannot retrieve your message after it has been forwarded to others. You must assume that anything you write will eventually find its way to the person, coach, team, league, governing body, etc., that you are criticizing. If you think your message might reflect poorly on TXLOA, then do not send or post it in the first place.
Of particular concern are the following items:
Comments that could be deemed to be in any way critical or derogatory about a player, team, coach, league, conference, assigner, official, or any institution that we represent.
Comments that may in any way be construed to be racist, sexist, or otherwise prejudiced against any group.
Comments that are mean spirited, derogatory, insulting, or otherwise inappropriate.
Actions or words which could be construed as bullying, intimidation, or threats.
Comments about the game assignments we receive.
Comments about the game assignments given to other officials.
Comments about any game, a particular play, or the application/interpretation about any rule or mechanic that arose during a game.
Decisions made by those in authority, including the leagues and governing bodies.
Acts or statements that violate the TXLOA bylaws or code of ethics.
The above list is not all inclusive; other actions not listed above could also be violations of officiating protocol. Depending upon the nature and severity thereof, as determined by the sole discretion of the TXLOA Board, inappropriate behavior by TXLOA officials could result in one or more of the following outcomes:
Formal investigation by the TXLOA Ethics Committee.
Letter of instruction/reprimand.
Removal or reduction of game assignments.
Disqualification from consideration for playoffs or all-star games.
Suspension of membership in TXLOA.
Expulsion from TXLOA.
Any other action deemed appropriate by the TXLOA board.