Different lacrosse rulebooks are used by the different playing divisions
Boys' lacrosse in Greater Houston is played using different sets of rules, depending on the age-group. The high school varsity and junior varsity teams play by the NCAA rulebook with a few minor modifications imposed by the Texas High School Lacrosse League (THSLL). The K-8th grade youth teams play by the NFHS Rules as the underlying base rules with the USA Lacrosse Youth Rules superimposed on top of them. Plus, the youth league has its own modifications and waivers against the NFHS/USA Lacrosse Youth Rules.
A great resource is the "cheat sheet" showing all of the differences between the various lacrosse rulebooks and age/playing divisions. However, the Spring Branch/Memorial Sports Association "in-house" league rules are not included in the cheat sheet. For the SBMSA in-house rules, go to the link toward the bottom of this page.
View the lacrosse rules cheat sheet in Excel (after clicking this link, you can also download the file by clicking the "Down Arrow" in the upper right-hand side of the page)
View the lacrosse rules cheat sheet in Adobe Acrobat (contains red font for the key differences; non-white fill color means the rule wording is new for this season)
New officials will be certified as "USA Lacrosse Level 1" officials. The TXLOA Lead Clinician (i.e., head trainer of officials) will assess your performance as an official and determine which of the seasoned Level 1 officials are ready to move up to USA Lacrosse Level 2 or Level 3.
The following pre-game checklists are recommended by USA Lacrosse:
3-Person Mechanics pre-game checklist (i.e., using three officials per game) - <CLICK HERE>
2-Person Mechanics pre-game checklist (i.e., using two officials per game) - <CLICK HERE>
Advanced Officiating / Game Management and Two- and Three-Person Officiating Mechanics Manuals
The following "Game Management" manual was produced by USA Lacrosse in 2019. The manual contains an excellent summary of hints and tips to help you improve on how you manage the game as either a crew chief or another member of the crew. If you follow the advice in this manual, you will officiate like an experienced official that you might see on a media broadcast. This manual is a must-read for newer officials who want to move up to officiating higher levels of games. Also, you should read and follow the Mechanics Manuals, which provide advice on positioning, what to watch for, where to be looking on the field, how to conduct the pre-game certifications, etc. They are the standard reference manuals for how to officiate the sport of boys/men's lacrosse.
Advanced Officiating / Game Management Manual (2019) - <CLICK HERE>
Two-person Mechanics Manual (2020) - <CLICK HERE>
Three-person Mechanics Manual (2020) - <CLICK HERE>
Getting a copy of the rulebooks
The high school boys in Greater Houston play by the NCAA rulebook but with exceptions published by the THSLL. You can order a printed copy of the NCAA men's lacrosse rulebooks from NCAA Publications website. The NCAA rulebook is revised once every two years. The current edition is the 2021-2022 NCAA rulebook, which will be for the two lacrosse seasons starting in January, 2021, and January, 2022. However, it is always a good idea to have a printed copy of the rulebook as part of your lacrosse official equipment bag, so you can refer to it at a game if you are uncertain of a particular rule or situation. The THSLL rulebook (aka, the "waivers") can be downloaded from the THSLL Rules website. The THSLL modifications to NCAA rules are usually located in Appendix A of the THSLL League Rulebook.
The youth lacrosse teams (8th graders down to kindergarten) in Houston play by the USA Lacrosse Youth Rules but again with locally mandated waivers. The USA Lacrosse Youth Rules are really just a subset of the major rule differences to the NFHS Rules, so you will need all of the following to officiate boys' youth lacrosse games: (1) NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook, which forms the foundation for all of the boys lacrosse rules, (2) USA Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules, which contains the exceptions to the NFHS rules to make the playing rules appropriate for youth players, and (3) GHYLA Waivers, which are the local rule exceptions to (1) and (2) that have been mandated by the local lacrosse league for Greater Houston, which is the GHYLA. The GHYLA waivers are only available electronically. If you desire a hard copy of either the THSLL waivers or the GHYLA waivers, you must print them yourself.
A few youth games are held in the Spring Branch/Memorial Sports Association (SBMSA) League, which is an "in-house" league for the Spring Branch/Memorial school district. The SBMSA has adopted a special set of playing rules. If you are assigned to one of these games, you must adhere to the following rulebooks: (1) NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook, which forms the foundation for all of the boys lacrosse rules, (2) USA Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules, which contains the exceptions to the NFHS rules to make the playing rules appropriate for youth players, and (3) SBMSA Waivers, which are the local rule exceptions to (1) and (2) that have been mandated by the SBMSA league.
Summary of Rulebooks and Waivers:
NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rulebook - click this link ---> NCAA Rulebook <hard copy (about $10) or electronic copy (free) are available>
THSLL League Rulebook (appendix contains the rule modifications/waivers)- click this link ---> THSLL League Rulebook <electronic copy is free, but you must print your own hard copy, if desired>
NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rulebook - you cannot get a free *.pdf version of this rulebook, but you can order a hard copy from the NFHS website. click this link ---> NFHS Rules.
USA Lacrosse Boys Youth Rulebook - you can download a free *.pdf version of this rulebook. You can also order a hard copy from the US Lacrosse website. click this link ---> Boys Youth Rules.
Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association (SBMSA) Rules - click below for the in-house league rulebook waivers for the Spring Branch/Memorial league games:
1st-2nd Grade Divisions ---> SBMSA Boys Lacrosse Rule Waivers 1st-2nd
3rd-6th Grade Divisions ---> SBMSA Boys Lacrosse Rule Waivers 3rd-6th
In summary, if you officiate ONLY high school games, you will need only the NCAA rulebook and the THSLL League Rulebook (which contains the waivers in Appendix A). If you officiate ONLY youth games (K-8th grade), then you will need the NFHS Rules, USA Lacrosse Youth Rules, and the GHYLA Waivers. If you officiate both high school and youth games, you will need all five of the aforementioned rulebooks/waivers.