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.