Introducing Lacrosse to Atlanta Youth

Ever pulled off an “ankle breaker,” “around the world,” or used an “A” stick? L-R:Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Boys Lacrosse Coach Corey Carter, Decatur Army President Bert Miller, MLK High School Girls Lacrosse Coach Ramon Rivers. Most DeKalb County kids would say no. Bert Miller, who runs Decatur Army Youth Athletics, is hoping to change that so kids know the lingo of a sport most probably have never watched or played.

“Lacrosse is continuing to grow and as it remains an up-and-coming sport with youths across the country, I would like to get South DeKalb youths involved because it’s an untapped resource at this point,” said Miller, who hopes to begin offering free lacrosse clinics for elementary students by mid-September. “I believe we only have two high school teams in South DeKalb because a lot of the kids don’t even see the sport until high school. That has to change.

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Lynn University (DII FL) Adds Lacrosse

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Lynn University Senior Vice President for Administration Gregory Malfitano has announced the addition of men’s lacrosse as a NCAA Division II athletic program at Lynn. This will be the third sport expansion for the Fighting Knights in the last nine months and will increase the total number of NCAA varsity sports sponsored by the University to 14; eight women and six men.

“Sport expansion is part of Lynn University’s overall strategic plan,” said Malfitano. “We have already added women’s swimming and women’s cross country and this is the next piece of the puzzle. It is a very exciting time because more and more opportunities have now opened up for student-athletes. Already lacrosse players are spearheading a new program and a new stadium. What more excitement could you ask for then by adding a new sport and stadium in the same year?”

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Could Montreal Be Next for the NLL?

MONTREAL — Pierre Filion remembers when thousands of fans watched lacrosse games in the mid-1970s at the Montreal Forum. Despite those numbers, the Montreal Québécois team was short-lived, as was the more recent Montreal Express. The National Lacrosse League returns to the Bell Centre Dec. 15 after a 10-year absence with an exhibition game featuring the Toronto Rock and Rochester Knighthawks.

“This game is the first step to the return of a pro team in Montreal,” said Filion, director of the Quebec Lacrosse Federation.

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Rhodes College (DIII TN) Adds Women's Lacrosse

Rhodes College is proud to announce it will add women’s varsity lacrosse to its Lynx roster beginning the 2013-14 season. The college has sponsored men’s varsity lacrosse since 2011.

“Many thanks to President Troutt and the president’s staff for their decision to add women’s lacrosse,” says Mike Clary, director of athletics at Rhodes. “Women’s lacrosse will provide more opportunities for Rhodes students, specifically women, to have a great experience in a varsity sport.”

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Sunshine St. Conference (DII) to Add Lacrosse

InsideFloridaLacrosse.com has received confirmation from Commissioner Jay Jones of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference that the conference is set to approve in late November the addition of men's lacrosse. There are currently five Sunshine State Athletic Conference schools which have men's lacrosse teams, the minimum for adding a sport. The addition of men's lacrosse, if approved by the member President's in late November, would be effective for the 2014 season.

Currently, all five of the Florida NCAA D-ll lacrosse teams play in the Deep South Conference. The rest of the Deep South Conference teams are member schools of the South Atlantic Athletic Conference which sources tell us will also be adding Men's Lacrosse as a sport in 2014. This will effectively be the end the Deep South Conference.

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Soccer's Obsession With Grass Hurt Richmond Soccer

The sport of soccer loves their grass, there's nothing better than a freshly cut pitch to a footie aficionado.  However, despite amazing advancements in artificial turf technology, the soccer oligarchy still turns it's nose up at the use of it at the highest levels.  There are some artificial turf companies (mostly in Europe) that manufacture artificial surfaces that meet the standards of FIFA and can be labeled 'FIFA Approved'   However even FIFA does not allow the 'FIFA approved' surfaces to be used for their highest levels of competition (World Cup, etc.).  FIFA approved artificial surfaces are typically regulated to U-19 tournaments and qualifying matches, or for use in countries that have trouble maintaining grass fields due to climate (I.e. Greenland, the Middle East, etc.).

So last week when Richmond announced they were dropping Men's Soccer and adding Men's Lacrosse there was an interesting footnote to the decision, A.D. Jim Miller stating that the lack of a grass field for Men's Soccer contributed to the decision.  Now how much did the lack of a grass playing field really play into the decision to drop soccer, which currently competes in Richmond's field turf surfaced football stadium, we may never know.  I would venture to guess that at the end of the day the Richmond Men's Soccer team would likely play their home games in a parking lot if it meant saving their program.  But regardless, the fact that it was a talking point for Miller is something to look at.  While soccer's grass obsession is strong internationally, in football obsessed America it has not made as many inroads.  True many of Division I's soccer powers do play on natural grass surfaces, however there are also many soccer powers that play on artificial turf surfaces such as B.C., B.U., St.John's, and Brown (BC and Brown have 'FIFA approved' surfaces).

But regardless the constant underlying preference of grass is there, and in this case appears to have backfired in giving the Richmond administration more ammunition and just another reason to state publicly as to why they were cutting the sport.  Putting too much emphasis on a sports playing surface, unless you are Football or Basketball, does not help a sports growth.  Division I Field Hockeys growth is stagnant because of the sports obsession with playing only on astroturf, despite that fact that all other Divisions, plus high school play on grass.  A.D.s do not want to add a sport that requires a playing surfaces that no other sport in America desires to play on, is the most injury prone, and is the most expensive per square foot of all the different types of artificial surfaces.  The University of Rhode Island, the last university with a DI Field Hockey program to play on grass, dropped their program six years ago because they could not afford to install astroturf, and decided they would rather have no program at all then have one with the stigma of playing on grass.  This is an extreme example, but an example nevertheless of how a sports rigid approach to playing surfaces can backfire.

Lacrosse on the other hand can, and has been played on, just about any surface.  While astroturf lacrosse fields have become more rare recently (Cornell, Syracuse, and Holy Cross all went to Field Turf in recent years) there are still some schools (Quinnipiac) that use it as their home surface.  Beyond astroturf, it's probably a toss up between grass and Field Turf for lacrosse facilities, with more southern schools likely preferring grass due to the favorable climate.

At the end of the day what it comes down to is lacrosse is flexible, everyone who loves this game just wants it to grow, and we are in no position to be picky about playing surface.  In college athletics King Football and Prince Basketball run the show, and for this reason sports that are easily adaptable to football and basketball facilities are perceived as more favorable in the eyes of athletic directors when they consider adding sports.  For lacrosse just throw some lines down on that football field and we are good to go.  And there is a reason why Women's Volleyball is one of the most popular women's sport in the NCAA...lay some lines down on your basketball court and you've got a volleyball home venue.  Easy and cheap.

So as our sport continues to grow and Universities continue to add it be thankful that lacrosse is such a versatile sport that can be played on so many different types of surfaces, even if it is a parking lot.