The Most Frustrating Excuse Athletic Departments Use to Not Add Lacrosse

As the popularity of lacrosse grows across the nation college Athletic Directors at schools that do not sponsor the sport are being asked more and more if their school will add the sport in the future.  The majority of the time the ADs response is ‘not likely’ and falls into two categories.  They blame the cost associated with adding lacrosse, and or the challenges associated with adding a male sport while maintaining Title IX proportionality.  Both of these challenges have some validity to them, but as we have seen in recent years they can be overcome.   Big donors can step up to cover the costs associated with adding lacrosse and or a women’s team can be added to maintain proportionality.  Each of these are easier said than done, but at least there is a path to varsity status.

However, there is a third excuse that athletic departments also love to make.  One that should be extremely frustrating to the lacrosse community.  It’s most recent use was when Michigan State was asked in an article about the possibility of returning its program to varsity status.

“Currently Michigan State is focusing on getting its 25 other sports up to a competitive national level,” said Michigan State Athletic spokesperson Matt Larson.

This excuse is being used more and more by athletic departments when asked about adding lacrosse.  Why do they like it so much?  Because it leaves no path to adding the sport.  A donor can’t write a big check, adding a women’s sport isn’t enough….no, it depends on the success of EVERY OTHER SPORT.  Something no one can control but those teams themselves. And how is their success measured?  If every Michigan State team wins a national championship this year do we get lacrosse?  It’s a purposely vague and subjective response that leaves little hope for their lacrosse community.  

Michigan State is not unique… every athletic department in the nation is in a constant state of working to get their sports up to a competitive national level.  Unfortunately, when this is their position on adding lacrosse it tells us they are also in a constant state of impeding the sports return to varsity status.


CSM said...

I think the sport must be built with a grass roots approach. Too many states don't even sanction elementary/middle/high school lacrosse. If they did, more pressure/demand would be put on universities to add it.

The said...

Unfortunately I don't think that is enough. Look at a state like Connecticut, where the sport is saturated with elementary/middle/high school lacrosse. Yet their flagship institution, UConn, does not sponsor the sport.

autumn22 said...

Lacrosse is becoming a very popular sport that many people love to play. Within a few years they will most likely add it into all colleges. A lot more kids are playing lacrosse over baseball because it's just combination of soccer and football and that's what a lot of males like to play. Including women too. It might start up as a club sport then possibly an NCAA sport at those colleges. By having it be a club sport they can determined whether or not it will be successful.

SD Lax said...

It is far too easy for university AD’s to say no to lacrosse for one simple reason...Lacrosse is a non-revenue sport. The vast majority of athletic directors are interested in one thing, revenue generated. Adding one more non-rev sports is drain upon their bottom line. A school such are Michigan State can easily recoup the lost revenue lacrosse represents via football and basketball, in addition to the cash generated through the Big 10 network. UConn does not have the same annual budget as a MSU, making it that much more difficult to add a sports that does not make money. The answer to most college sports related questions can be found if you follow the money.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota has a competitive club program for mens lacrosse costs +-3k in fees to each roster member. I was told by folks involved in the program that it would cost $40m to add the sport due to the need to add a corresponding women's athletic program to maintain Title IV compliance. For that reason it is a no-go. I have heard this frequently and when look at the list of schools adding lacrosse there is a reason that at the D2 level particularly here in the midwest there are may opportunities in women's lacrosse and just a handful in men's D2.

Football is the killer here, compliance based on participation - not scholarships and it simply takes 80+ players to field football. Many schools adding the mens sport in lacrosse done't have football.