Presbyterian To Drop Men's Lacrosse

While no one would want to admit it lacrosse fans can't be too surprised that Presbyterian College has decided they will drop their Men's Lacrosse program.  Presby lacrosse has always been in a tough situation.  In 2006, shortly after the then Division II school began varsity Men's Lacrosse, the university announced it would transition to Division I.  Presbyterian's administration obviously had ambitious dreams for their athletic department and transitioning to Division I they felt was an important next step.  But what to do with that new Men's Lacrosse program?  Men's Lacrosse was probably a great idea when they were a Division II tuition based athletic department, but where did the sport fit in the Division I revenue based model?  Well it didn't and especially not in Clinton, SC.  However, one would assume the predicament that PC  faced at the time was how do you consider cutting a sport you just added?  That would look really bad.  So PC moved forward elevating Men's Lacrosse with all of their other sports figuring they'd give this Division I lacrosse thing a shot.  Well it didn't work out too well.  With no conference, little university support, and only the occasional win here and there, Presby found little success in the world of Division 1 Men's Lacrosse.  Ironically, this past fall the NCAA failed to approve PC's Division I transition report, so all their sports will have to wait at least one more year for post season eligibility.  Highlighted in the report are gender equity problems the NCAA took issue with, a possible catalyst for the reason Men's Lacrosse was dropped.

While no one wants to see a Men's Lacrosse program dropped anywhere, in the big picture where this hurts is the damage it does to any emerging potential for a southern lacrosse conference.  With Mercer and High Point recently moving to Division I the talk of a southern conference had heated up.  But with the loss of Presbyterian that dream could be all but dead until another Division 1 southern school steps up to the plate.  Given the potential for a conference to open up the doors for the sport to the south, it is disappointing that Presbyterian used the lack of Men's Lacrosse sponsorship by the Big South Conference as a reason for discontinuing, rather than seeing the big picture and potential for the sport in the future.

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Anonymous said...

I appreciate the obvious time and thought you put into your commentary on the situation. Most of the Lacrosse message boards simply copy/paste the press release from PC and blast away at what a "stupid decision it was" and how "terrible a school PC is anyway," along the way mis-quoting persons, spreading rumors, showing complete lack of understanding of the school's position etc...

I agree with you that it probably would have been best to make this decision 4 years ago when we moved D-I to start with. I also generally agree with the statement about gender equity issues - having one less men's sport will make it relatively easy to comply with title 9. However, the NCAA did not cite discrepancies between men and women's scholarships. It was the lack of female head coaches on staff.

As an institution, PC also insists on athletes undergoing the same academic rigors as all other students, rather than having "personal tutors" that do all their work which is rampant at major D-I schools. The NCAA read this as the school not caring about it's athletes. Clearly a misunderstanding. We will do better describing ourselves to the NCAA this time and will move forward.

In any case, it sucks that we had to drop men's lacrosse but it was a decision that was inevitable and I appreciate your thoughtful analysis rather bashing a school simply because they had to drop a sport.