4 Colleges Add Varsity Lacrosse in Last Week

Ohio Northern University - Division III

ADA - Ohio Northern University will add both men's and women's lacrosse to its varsity sports program in the coming academic year. Lacrosse will continue to be played as a club sport until spring 2015, when the Polar Bears will start varsity competition in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

 "The desire to add men's and women's lacrosse at Ohio Northern is not new. Lacrosse has been a club sport for several years, and the University's strategic plan recommends adding lacrosse and assessing athletic facilities in order to enhance student services," said Daniel A. DiBiasio, president of Ohio Northern University.  "With the recent announcement to install artificial turf on two fields, this allows the Polar Bears to compete in one of Ohio high schools' fastest growing sports."

Full Article        Video Press Release

Keystone College - Division III

La Plume, PA – Keystone College is proud to announce the addition of men's and women's lacrosse programs for the 2014-2015 school year. The two teams will compete at the varsity level beginning in the spring of 2015 as members of the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) and will play all their home contests at the brand new, $3.4 million synthetic all-weather athletic field and track complex currently under construction on campus.

"This is a very exciting next step in our evolution as a four-year college and an NCAA Division III institution," stated Dr. Bob Perkins, Vice President for Student Affairs. "The addition of men's and women's lacrosse will not only bring a new group of strong student-athletes to Keystone, but will also contribute to the growth of this exciting sport in the Colonial States Athletic Conference and Northeast Pennsylvania." The addition of men's and women's lacrosse lifts Keystone's total varsity athletic sponsorship to 19 teams including eight for men and nine for women. The Giants will become the CSAC's eighth institution to sponsor men's lacrosse and the tenth to sponsor women's lacrosse.

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Mass College of Liberal Arts - Division III

The sport of lacrosse continues to explode in Berkshire County as Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts prepares to add a women's lacrosse team to its athletic programs for the 2014-2015 school year. Athletic
Director Scott Nichols confirmed Wednesday evening that the school will add the sport for the spring of 2015. MCLA is a member of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in its other sports and will be the eighth and final school to add women's lacrosse in the conference. Women's lacrosse will be the seventh women's sport at MCLA. "At this point, we are fully committed to introducing women's lacrosse to our athletic programs in [2014-2015]," Nichols said.

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Lincoln Memorial University - Division II

Harrogate, TN -- Lincoln Memorial University is set to add men’s and women’s lacrosse to the cast of varsity sports prior to the 2014-15 academic year, Athletic Director Roger Vannoy announced on Wednesday. Both teams are scheduled to begin competition in the spring of 2015. The men’s and women’s lacrosse programs will become the 14th and 15th varsity sports at Lincoln Memorial respectively, and the newest athletic teams at the school since the women’s golf team’s inception in 1998. The two programs will begin competing immediately in the South Atlantic Conference.

“After the success experienced by last year’s programs, we feel like we are ready to push the athletic department to the next level,” Athletic Director Roger Vannoy said. “Nationally, lacrosse is certainly an up-and-coming sport, and I think its addition to our rotation of varsity sports will create a buzz in the community. We’re excited to take on the challenge of building a nationally-competitive lacrosse program here at Lincoln Memorial University.” The athletic department has a directive in place for establishing the inaugural lacrosse teams at Lincoln Memorial. In the coming weeks, the search will begin for a Director of Lacrosse and that position is scheduled to be filled by January 1, 2014. By July of 2014, another coach will be hired to fill the other head coaching vacancy.

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How To Calculate if Your School Will Go Division I in Lacrosse

Add up the below variables that apply to your university.  If your number adds up to at least 100 congratulations you are going varsity in 2015!

Donor willing to supply lead gift of $3-$6 million +40
Board of trustees supports adding lacrosse +30
President supports adding lacrosse +25
Athletic Director supports adding lacrosse +15
Facilities in place +10
Successful MCLA team +5
Strong lacrosse interest in local community +5
Current conference sponsors lacrosse +5
Small private university +5
FBS Football School –20
FCS Football School –15

Obviously this is not a scientific survey so don’t take it for face value. We are more or less simply trying to make the point that at the highest level of college lacrosse, at the end of the day, money and power talks.  It should be noted that there are other variables and unique situations that cannot be accounted for in a ‘survey’ such as this (i.e. UMass Lowell adding lacrosse most likely to help them gain admittance to the America East Conference).  We also left Title IX specifics out of the 'formula' because quite frankly every schools Title IX situation is different and with the exception of the obvious (football’s influence) it’s hard to predict.

With that being said clearly we have weighted the first four variables the most because we feel those are the most significant.  I.e. without a large influx of money, and without a very supportive executive administration, lax ain’t happening, simple as that…all the other variables it can be argued are just window dressing.

And that my friends is why these ‘Who Will Go D1 Next’ articles, while fun, are pretty much conjecture.  Because if those top four variables we have listed are indeed the most important, as outsiders we have no way of knowing if they are in play at a given university.  Most of us don’t really know how an AD, or President, or Trustee feels about lacrosse unless they speak publicly about it.  Sure there are situations where some may make public comments that give us a hint here or there, but at the end of the day we are not in their executive meetings, so we have no idea if lacrosse is part of a master plan or not for a specific school.  

The same goes for fundraising.  Many university development offices go through ‘quiet phases’ of fundraising where steps are taken to keep a specific fundraising initiative confidential.  If a fundraising initiative is not made public or is not part of a larger university campaign, unless we have some sort of inside information we have no way of knowing if there is a lead donor(s) out there for lacrosse, or if the university is even interested in soliciting a potential lead donor.

So if at the end of the day we don’t have any knowledge specific to the most important variables needed to determine if a school will go Division I, then the reality is we can’t predict with accuracy if a school will make the jump.  We must rely on inside info, research, informants, leaks, etc.   There’s nothing wrong with that of course, that’s the foundation of investigative journalism, and a little bit of that would go a long way in adding some substance to all the ‘Going D1 Next’ articles that are out there.

CSU Pueblo (DII CO) Adds Lacrosse

In 2014-15, Colorado State University-Pueblo will add a men's lacrosse program to its intercollegiate sports offerings, increasing the University's sports to 22. This fall, a national search will get underway for the men's lacrosse head coaching position, and lacrosse prospects around the nation will draw interest from CSU-

Full Article 

Coinciding with the arrival of the men's and women's lacrosse programs in 2014-15, CSU-Pueblo's Rawlings Soccer Complex will be re-purposed to house the men's and women's soccer as well as men's and women's lacrosse programs with an all-weather turf field, stadium, press box and team facilities, slated to be completed in time for the 2015-16 season. View artist's renderings of the facility below.

Full Article

Quick Hits:

-Changes Could be Coming to Lacrosse Final Four

-Atlanta Making Push For MLL Team

-Lacrosse Growing in South Dakota

-Lacrosse Gaines Footing in Washington 

-Wheelchair Lacrosse Gaining Speed

-Push For Lacrosse Team in Wisconsin

Taking Issue With A 'Next Team to Go D1' Article

We here at the Growth Blog love LaxAllStars.com.  No website has done more to positively promote lacrosse and help grow the game in its history.  However this morning we read an article on their site that made our heads explode.  The article was titled ‘Who Will Add D1 Lacrosse Next’ and after reading the article it clearly should have been titled ‘List of Schools I Wish Would Add D1 Lacrosse and Some Reasons I Made Up Off the Top of My Head Why’.  In fact in reality this article could probably have been titled ‘List of Schools Least Likely to Add Lacrosse’. 

We get it, LaxAllStars needs hits, needs to drive traffic to its website, and nothing gets people talking in forums and talkbacks like the subject of who will go D1 next.  But come on.  Lets have some quality control here, some journalistic integrity.  Below you can find our comments, in bold blue, specific to the article ‘Who Will Add D1 Lacrosse Next’ (link: http://laxallstars.com/who-will-add-d1-lacrosse-next/)

1. Boston College
There are a couple big factors for Boston College that make them so likely to add a Men’s Lacrosse program (Again. They had a team until the early 2000s):

- They have already had a D1 Lacrosse Program in the Past
Please reference precedent where this has helped a team go D1 in the past and I’ll give you this. It has not helped Michigan St, NC State, Bowling Green, etc.

- BC’s club team has seen huge success. In 2013 they lost to Sonoma State in the Semi-Finals for the MCLA Championship, their only loss all season, going 13-1. That means there is a base of talent!
Where has this has helped a team go varsity in the past?  Maybe you can make a slight argument for Michigan, but you know what helped more?  The $6 million dollar lead gift and an open minded AD.  

- BC has a Varsity Women’s Program
I would actually argue that this does not help a team go D1.  With some exceptions when a team goes varsity they often add Men and Women Lax at the same time for Title IX reasons.  If a school already has Women’s Lax they then would have to determine what women's team to add, which may not be easy if they already have a lot of sport offerings.

- They have the facilities to support men’s lacrosse
Really?  How do you know that?  Oh they have a field and bleachers?  So does every other D1 school.  Do they have a dedicated team locker room?  Do they have sport medicine space?  Do they have equipment room space?  Strength & Conditioning?  D1 Lacrosse facilities are much more than lining a field.

- Boston University, their rival, is adding Lacrosse in 2014
BU is BC's rival?  That’s probably news to BC.  Yes in Hockey.  Everything else is all ACC all the time for BC.

If we see anyone add lacrosse in the next six years, I can almost guarantee the Eagles adding it. I would think that at earliest, BC will field a team by 2015, if not, then definitely by the 2016 season. Everything is set for them, they just have to give the ol’ thumbs up, in my opinion.
Division 1 teams announcing varsity status need about a 2 year lead time.  So for 2015 its going to be any minute now...

The Huskies are another New England team that surprisingly doesn’t have lacrosse yet. Boston College and UConn share some qualities that give inspiration for an addition of Men’s Lacrosse:

- UConn’s club team dates back to 1986, and that’s almost 30 years of alumni to work with, and get involved.
UConn's program is actually 50 years old and used to be Division 1.  You know how I found that out?  I went to their website (its called research).

- UConn has a Varsity Women’s Program
See Boston College above

- They have the facilities to support men’s lacrosse
Again, how do you know that?  UConn only has one turf field and its dedicated to Field Hockey (astroturf).  And you have no idea what their facility situation is specific to team support needs.

- UConn has one of the best in-state hotbeds to recruit from, Fairfield County in lower CT. Instate tuition for Uconn is only about $16,000, this could be a recruiting tool they could use. (Some people in Fairfield County may not have to worry about that kind of stuff, but some do. That’s homegrown talent potential  right there.
I will give you this.

- UConn has some great reasons to add lacrosse to their varsity program list. I see Uconn adding men’s varsity lacrosse in 2017, but by latest 2018. Maybe if their basketball team wins another championship, they can get some starter cash? I don’t know if it works that way, but I’m hoping it does.
Ugh.  The basketball team winning a national championship has nothing to do with going Division 1 in lacrosse.  If it did UCLA would have the best lacrosse team in history. If you don't know if something 'works that way', then either do the research to find out, or don't reference it in an article.

3. Virginia Tech
- Virginia Tech’s club lacrosse team is a tradition that runs deep. It is one of the oldest club teams around, started in 1948. They have several reasons to add a Varsity team.

- Club lacrosse has been around at VT since 1948, that’s 65 years of alumni to network with and get on board.
Having an old program is one thing.  Having organizing and motivated alumni is another.  But the most important thing is having an athletic department that actually wants to work with such alumni (see Michigan).  You can get as organized as you want and raise tons of money, but if the administration wants nothing to do with you or adding lacrosse then it’s a moot point (Just ask BC alumni).

- Virginia Tech enrolls 31,000 thousand students annually, and they pack the house for football games. I’d expect to see a good amount of fans at Lacrosse Games, potentially bringing in money for the school.
Wow big enrollment and packed house for football games is a factor in adding lacrosse?  SEC lax here we come!

- Virginia Tech plays one of the longest schedules in the MCLA, they start in February and end in late April. Very simulating to a real schedule.
This is dumb.

- Virginia Tech is successful at the club level
So what.  So is the other 25 or so nationally contending MCLA teams.

-Another contributing factor is that they could play in the ACC, which is their school wide conference. They have a lot of rivals in the lacrosse world, so hopefully they’ll want to compete with them on another file. Earliest we could see Virginia Tech getting a team is 2016, which I think they might do. 2017/2018 at the latest. What can I say, I’m an optimist!
I’ll give you being in the ACC is a positive factor.

4. Florida State
Florida State shares qualities with every other team on this list, while also having some differences. Although a “new” club program (founded 1999), FSU has a good opportunity (and a couple great reasons) to add a Varsity Lacrosse program.

- FSU’s club team has been successful. It’s one of the best in Florida, as well as all of the South
If having a good club team is actually relevant to going varsity please explain Marquette, Monmouth, UMass Lowell, BU, Jacksonville, Detroit, Mercer etc.  Plus it could be argued that Bill Harkins departure hurts FSUs chances.

- The only D1 lacrosse school in Florida is Jacksonville University. FSU can use this to gain a grip on Florida Lacrosse fans, and bragging rights against University of Florida for the future.
Yes I am sure lacrosse bragging rights against Florida is #1 on new AD Stan Wilcoxs list.

- FSU can be a leader in big schools adding lacrosse to their sport list. FSU can set an example and history as being of the first Big Sport school to add lacrosse. Imagine what the Media would be like?
The first Big Sport school to add lacrosse?  What??? Did you forget about Michigan? UGH

- Florida State has good reason to add a lacrosse program, but the earliest I see it being done is 2018. More likely would be 2019.
If you say so.

Honorable Mentions:

South Carolina – If I could add a 5th team, this would be it. The GameCocks should be adding a varsity program within the next 7-10 years. I can feel it!
So the research for this article is based on that you can 'feel' something is going to happen... 

Florida – If Florida were more successful at the club level, they might have replaced FSU. If Florida sees mores success, we could see a team fielded as soon as 2020. Their women’s team’s success doesn’t hurt.

Clemson – I expect Clemson to add a lacrosse program within the next 10-15 years. If South Carolina goes, Clemson might go a year or two later. It’s very much a domino effect with some of these regions.

The West – Plenty of western teams could’ve been on this list, but the only way I see big schools adding Lacrosse out west is if 4-5 schools go in on the same year, and form a conference with Denver to ease the traveling costs. That, or a school gets a large budget increase. *Cough* Oregon PLEASE *Cough*
The west is not a school. 

So there you have it people.  Make your own judgment call.  I do hope we are wrong, that would be great if all 4 of these schools went varsity by 2019.  But from Notre Dame (previous last FBS to go D1) to Michigan it was what, 25 years?  We could have a long wait.