Editor’s note: University of Montana’s Will Moss was kind enough to give us the low down on the upcoming alterations going on in the MCLA’s most western of conferences, the PNCLL.
Going into Saturday’s PNCLL Annual Meeting, the question wasn’t if the conference’s D1 would split, but how.
With 10 teams in the division, the high number of mandatory conference games was putting teams at a disadvantage both competitively and financially. The PNCLL’s D2 (also 10 teams) had already split the previous year and it seemed to be working well.
The debate on the subject was whether the D1 should split on a purely geographic line (East/West), or on a performance based division. The funny thing is that the two options were almost identical, except for the placement of Montana and Portland State.
An East/West split would have given us SFU, Oregon, Washington, Oregon State and Portland State in the West, and Montana, Idaho, Boise State, Gonzaga and Washington State in the East.
A 1A/1AA split puts Montana with the stronger teams in the West and Portland State with the weaker teams in the East.
We (Montana) were initially for a geographic split, as it seemed to make the most sense from a financial point of view. We were also a little wary of creating “strong” and “weak” subdivisions because the PNCLL sees a good bit of fluctuation in it’s teams from year to year, which could cause some traveling headaches in the future when, say, Boise surges and Washington falls off. We also didn’t think that there was a serious-enough issue with parity in the PNCLL (like there was in the GRLC, which served as a template) to make the 1A/1AA split necessary.
We (Montana) did however vote for the 1A/1AA split, mainly because it sets us up quite nicely this year. We are in the 1A subdivision which puts us with the teams that we have competed well with in the past and would have worked to schedule anyway if the split had gone East/West, and should reduce our in-conference travel to only one big trip out to the west coast, instead of the two or even three that we’ve had in the past. We will still schedule some teams from the 1AA like Idaho, Boise and Gonzaga with whom we’ve had great reciprocity over the last two years.
I think the split is going to be a great thing for the PNCLL. We have some seriously talented teams in the Northwest. Obviously SFU and Oregon are the conference’s flagships, but teams like Washington, Idaho and Montana are also playing high-level lacrosse and the increased resources to seek OOC competition that the split will free up will allow these teams to focus on expanding their name recognition throughout the MCLA.
Thanks to Will Moss for his candid thoughts and best of luck to everyone in the PNCLL this upcoming season.
In other PNCLL news, our insider connections at the University of Oregon have passed along the most recent edition of BHSvideodad‘s annual “Top Lacrosse Goals 2009″ for the Ducks.
Just another reminder that Fall ball is kicking into high gear and the 2010 season is right around the corner.