Two years ago Quinnipiac University cut Women's Volleyball and added (the much less expensive) Competitive Cheerleading in it's place. The women's volleyball team sued and the end result will essentially decide if in the eyes of the law competitive cheerleading is a 'sport' rather than an activity. Several schools, Maryland for example, have Competitive Cheerleading as a varsity sport. Like the sport of Women's Crew, Competitive Cheer is of relatively low cost to operate, but more importantly to athletic administrators, these teams maintain a large roster size which helps with Title IX proportionality. While a small number of schools have added Competitive Cheer to their varsity sport offerings, and some have considered it, it is likely that growth of varsity cheer has been slowed by it's lack of NCAA Emerging Sport status and the ambiguity of its 'sport' label.
This outcome will be important to the sport of lacrosse because when and if a university considers adding the sport of Men's Lacrosse, they will likely plan to add a women's varsity sport as well. That women's sport may not necessarily be Women's Lacrosse, especially if the school already has the women's game at varsity status. The option to add a women's sport that is in high demand, has low cost, and maintains a large roster size could make the decision to add Men's Lacrosse a little easier on university administrators. Regardless, allowing Competitive Cheer to be considered a varsity sport seems like a win-win; more female athletic opportunities, and the potential to assist with some much needed growth on the mens side of D1 collegiate athletics.
A somewhat unexpected announcement earlier this week was made when a new professional indoor league known as the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL) was introduced at a press conference in Norfolk, VA. Teams are currently being considered in the mid-atlantic region, and a somewhat strange aspect of this league is that it will be non-profit. The league has said they envision themselves to someday be a minor league for the NLL.
The formation of this league does raise some basic questions. Is lacrosse popular enough to support 4 professional leagues (MLL, NLL, LXM, ALL)? Does the NLL really need a minor league? Is the indoor game in itself popular enough to support a second league? Only time will tell but one would think that the ownership of this league could receive better exposure, and help better grow the game, if they invested their money in expansion teams in the more established MLL or NLL, rather than try to launch something this ambitious. But who knows, maybe this league will be truly successful, or maybe it will get as far as NLL Outdoor.
-Tramboni Leaves Cornell For Penn State
-Lacrosse Grows in Shelburne, VT
-Petition For Lacrosse in Miami-Dade Public Schools
-First Year D1 Program Mercer Coach Jason Childs Interview
-Lacrosse Growth in Shreveport, LA
Summer is mostly a slow time of the year for lacrosse news (with the exception of the MLL) but we will continue to post news related to lacrosse growth as we get it.
-Lacrosse Growing in St. Louis Area
-City Lax Brings Lacrosse To Inner City Denver
-Did a Big East Schedule Affect Syracuse Negatively?
-Toe to Toe, a Movie About Lacrosse, Released Online
-BRIDGE Team Competes in Ohio
-Lacrosse Catching on In Aspen
-Lacrosse Growth in Central PA
-Kholberg Sports Group Acquires Maverick Lacrosse
-Women's College Lacrosse Searches for Parity
-Lacrosse the Nations Helps Impoverished Children
-MLL ESPN Schedule
UPDATE: 6/7/10 it's official
Some rumors are floating around that first year program Jacksonville University will join the MAAC for the 2011 season. While this would certainly be good for JU, it shows the need for some sort of southern lacrosse conference similar to the role played by the Great Western Lacrosse League for many years. Universities such as Mercer and Presbyterian need a home as well and a southern lacrosse conference could help encourage other small D1 southern universities to add the sport (Stetson, UNF?) if they had an AQ to play for. How about this for a southern lacrosse conference:
+ a new program in the future or
No matter what happens, unless you are Johns Hopkins, (or 'Cuse or an ACC caliber school) being an independent is not a pathway to success in Division 1 lacrosse. Schools like Mercer and Presbyterian need to be proactive in either joining a conference or helping to form one to ensure the future success of their programs.
If someone told you in March that this years NCAA Championship game would be between a Big East school and an ACC school you'd likely guess Syracuse vs. Virginia. However, that wasn't the case, with Duke facing off against Notre Dame to see who would get their first title. In the end Duke was victorious in a low scoring (in fact the lowest scoring ever) overtime affair. Given that the final two schools were two BCS universities with national brand names, the game likely drew more national interest than usual. However, some felt the defensive focused game was a boring experience and not the game lacrosse fans wanted played out on a national stage. Others also complained about the later start times, as ESPN appears to be slowly pushing the game towards prime time. And although Baltimore fans promised to deliver, the attendance figures were in line with last years finals weekend in Massachusetts.
-Tufts Defeats Salisbury For First Ever DIII Crown
-Spreading Upstate Lacrosse
-Lacrosse Growth in Illinois Town
-New Jersey May Do Away With High School Tournaments
-Michigan Growth Reflects National Trend
-Will Radford Lacrosse Return in the Future?
-Women's Flag Football Blossoms in Florida as a Varsity Sport
-Florida State First School to Add Varsity Beach Volleyball