NCAA D1 Lacrosse: Western Expansion

NCAA D1 Lacrosse: Western Expansion

Postby go bells » Tue May 17, 2011 11:13 am

As the details of the new Pac 12 Media Deal continue to fill the column space of major sports news sources across the nation, one might begin to wonder what a three to four fold increase in revenue might mean for Pac 12 athletics (1-2). Amidst the discussion of increased Title IX compliance, image licensing and facilities upgrades (3), athletic departments continue to discuss the possibility of adding sports. Within this new whirlwind of Pac 12 sports mania, men's lacrosse enthusiasts from up and down the west coast may notice an opportunity for the growth of the sport.

Recently, small signs have suggested that the arrival of Mens D1 lacrosse may be on the mind of athletic departments around the Pac 12. Despite the trials of its current MCLA team, USC has openly stated that they will explore the potential of adding a D1 men's team (4). After talk with Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby, a senior writer for The Stanford Daily proposed the viability of a varsity men's team at Stanford (5). Should either of these teams choose to make the leap to Division 1, others may well be inclined to quickly follow in their footsteps.

I write this thread in an effort to re-open the discussion of western D1 expansion in light of these recent articles and announcements. Across the board, the local growth of youth and high school level lacrosse will provide a rich recruiting base for any California university that decides to jump to the D1 level. For Proof, one need only look to the success of Roy Lang, Rob Emery, Parker Brown and a host of other D1 stars who hail from the region. Which school will be the first to make the move, and more importantly, on what timescale?

(1) ... -and-more/
(4) ... s_lacrosse
(5) ... -addition/
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Re: NCAA D1 Lacrosse: Western Expansion

Postby 10stone5 » Tue May 17, 2011 9:31 pm

Looks like Michigan has set the precedent, with their announcement that they will be fielding a Division I team. So look to the MCLA DI schools for the lead on this.

The question is, which existing conference would any west coast team join? Speculation has Michigan joining the ECAC with the other western teams, except Notre Dame. The NEC isn't set to gain automatic qualifier status until 2013. And the NCAA tournament won't be expanding beyond 16 teams anytime soon. The total of Division I lacrosse schools was 55 in 2001 and now 61 including Michigan (Presbyterian College is supposed to be dropping out).

But any proposed California school would need to travel to Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Ohio and Kentucky - assuming the ECAC would be the likely conference. Realistically if another western schools joined the ranks of Division I and the ECAC - one or more of the eastern schools would likely join up with one of the eastern conferences - and the ECAC could be re-branded to reflect its western school geography. I'm pretty sure my conference, the Colonial, would pursue a school like Loyola to up the competition level.

So maybe then you'd be looking at a new "WCAC" conference with Denver, Ohio State, Air Force, Bellarmine, Michigan and ??? - Stanford?, ASU?, CSU? USC?

At least then you'd have all schools geographically set at Kentucky and west, say.

The year-end NCAA tournament is the "thing" in lacrosse, of course. You need six teams in any proposed conference to get automatic qualifier status for the NCAA Division I tournament. Complicating matters, with the hiring of Tambroni at Penn State and the announcement that Michigan is going Division I, Big Ten alumni are already angling for a Big Ten lacrosse conference citing not only the new Big East conference as precedent - but also the four team ACC, though I don't believe a fourth Big Ten team would allow any new Big Ten conference to circumvent the prevailing six team AQ rule. The ACC was clearly and properly grandfathered.

<< edit: the ACC doesn't have an AQ - so much for that theory >>
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