Olivet College (MI) to Begin Women's Lacrosse in 2011

Olivet College has announced it will sponsor a varsity women’s lacrosse program, beginning in the spring of 2011. The Comets fielded a club women’s lacrosse team during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Brian Jacob and David Tanis, who served as co-head coaches for the club teams, will continue the same role for the varsity team.

“We are very excited to elevate our women’s lacrosse program to the varsity level,” said Olivet Athletic Director Heather Bateman. “We are going to compete as an independent team at the NCAA Division III level.”
A 15-game varsity schedule is being put together for the 2011 season.
“I am extremely excited for Olivet being one of four NCAA schools in the state of Michigan to offer varsity women’s lacrosse,” said Tanis. “Women’s lacrosse has really seen a lot of growth over the past five years and schools associated with Olivet’s Community Connection Grant are among the best in the state. Brian and I believe we can build a strong program at Olivet with local, home-grown talent by creating a positive environment for our high school recruits to compete at the next level.”

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How to Get Your Favorite BCS School to Add Division 1 Men's Lacrosse: Donate $90 Million Dollars

Do you dream of the day where Florida, Texas, and UCLA sponsor Division 1 Men's Lacrosse?  That dream could be a reality depending on how deep your pockets are.  Unfortunately, the way Division 1 athletics is in this day and age (football/basketball revenue focused) combined with a deep recession, results in athletic departments that are hesitant to add any new money losing sports (unless required for gender equity reasons).

However, in rare instances, like when an alumni has TBoone Pickens type money, these BCS schools may consider taking the plunge.  Take Penn State for example, which recently announced they would be adding varsity Men's and Women's Ice Hockey thanks to a $90 million dollar donation.  Why 90 million you may ask?  Doesn't that seem a bit high?  Well look at it this way.  Based on this list, one could expect the combined operational cost for Men's and Women's Ice Hockey programs to be as high as $1.7 million.  When taking into consideration new auxiliary costs associated with the creation of these programs (salaries for academic support positions, equipment managers, athletic trainers etc.) let's say an even $2 million to run both programs.  

So if the Men's program costs $1 million annually, that program could be fully endowed for $20 million dollars assuming about 5% of endowment assets are used each year.  Do the same for the Women and you've got two fully funded potential powerhouse programs, plus $50 million left for a new facility.  Now I have no idea of what the actual breakdown of this donation will be, in fact this article implies that only $13 million would be used towards scholarship endowment and the remaining $75 million would go towards a new facility.  Either way, what us lacrosse dreamers should take away from this is that to add Men's Lacrosse at a D1 BCS school, it would likely be expected that an alumni (or friends group) would need to contribute significant funds toward program endowment for not only a new men's lacrosse program, but also for a new women's sport as well.  In addition, it would likely be expected that significant funds would also be required for facility upgrades, or a new facility altogether. Simple plan no?  Let's get fundraising.

High Point University to Add Men's Lacrosse For 2013

High Point University is adding men's lacrosse as its 16th varsity sport, HPU president Dr. Nido Qubein announced as part of $2.1 billion University growth plan on Wednesday. The team will take the field in the 2012-13 academic year.

"We are extremely excited to add men's lacrosse and see the positive impact the sport will have on High Point University," said Athletic Director Craig Keilitz. "Our goal is to field a nationally-ranked men's lacrosse program, and I'm confident that High Point University will attract the coaches and student-athletes that will get us there. Lacrosse is a fantastic fit for High Point University."

"In addition, we are confident that men's lacrosse will help continue to increase national awareness about High Point University and attract excellent students who will keep advancing our national reputation. Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports and a great number of our current students are from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, where it is especially popular," said Keilitz.

High Point University will hire a head coach for men's lacrosse by the spring of 2011. The coaching staff will spend the 2011-12 academic year recruiting players, scheduling and building the program. Men's lacrosse will have the maximum number of scholarships and coaches allowed by the NCAA.

"We intend to give our lacrosse program all of the resources needed to be one of the best in the nation," said Keilitz. "We will have the maximum number of scholarships and coaches and we will provide all of the necessary facilities. Vert Stadium is an outstanding venue that is perfectly suited for lacrosse and we are looking at turfing options that will further enhance the facility."


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Nike and the MCLA Form Partnership

According to a press release from the MCLA, Nike has entered into an agreement to become the leagues 'brand of choice'.  While the article does not go into specifics in regard to exactly how the MCLA will benefit, from a strictly business standpoint this is a smart move on Nikes part.  Like ESPN, Nike is investing in lacrosse while the sport is still in its infancy, hoping that someday (20, 30 years?) lacrosse will grow up to be the third major collegiate sport.  Imagine if there is a day where MCLA teams are turning varsity by the droves, one would guess that it is Nikes hope that these teams maintain their brand loyalty post varsity transition. 
ESPN is making a similar investment in the sport.  ESPN currently broadcasts over 60 NCAA games a year, plus all MLL games on their various family of networks.  Does anyone think ESPN is able to sell enough in advertising during these games to offset the operational cost of broadcasting them?  Of course not.  The short term goal of ESPNs investment in lacrosse is using it to increase viewership of their newer channels such as ESPNU and ESPN3.com. In ESPNUs case ESPN uses that viewership as leverage against cable providers when negotiated carriage agreements.  But in the long term one would think that ESPN would like to do with lacrosse what they did with college basketball in the 80's, the X-Games in the 90's, and the World Series of Poker in the new millennium...bring it to the masses, and more importantly, make it accepted by the masses.

Rochester Rattlers to Return to MLL?

There has been buzz for a couple months now that the Rochester Rattlers may return to the MLL.  The Rattlers left two years ago and moved to Toronto to become the Nationals.  One question that looms is if Rochester did return would they simply replace the Chicago Machine and the MLL would remain at 6 teams?

"The Major Lacrosse League Rattlers existed from 2001 to 2008, won their only crown in their final year but moved to Toronto after the sports group's problems. The Brigade, Rochester's first indoor football team, lasted from 2000 to 2003 but drew small crowds and fought the lower-league stigma the RazorSharks and Raiders do. A new outdoor lacrosse team in Rochester to replace the Rattlers wouldn't have that problem. The MLL and NLL feature the best players in the world."


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