Club College Grow The Game

Should We Take Club Ball Seriously?

Colorado College CSU MCLA NCAA Lacrosse
Colorado College (NCAA DIII) Vs CSU (MCLA D1)
Colorado College CSU MCLA NCAA Lacrosse

Colorado College (NCAA DIII) Vs CSU (MCLA D1)

Yesterday on Twitter, I engaged in a conversation with SwankLax about whether or not MCLA lacrosse, or club ball (as it’s more derogatorily called), should be talked about and regarded as on par with NCAA lacrosse.  Swank made some good points about building legitimacy through the largest existing college sporting body, the NCAA, and how that is the path towards true growth in his mind, but I think club ball in general, and the MCLA in particular, has a lot more to offer for the growth of lacrosse and the future of our sport.  Let’s start with Swank’s first tweets…

SwankLax club lacrosse mcla rant twitter

swanklax club mcla lacrosse twitter rant

A little back and forth.  I get what he’s saying to a certain extent, especially when he starts out with “D3 ain’t D1″.  That much is certainly true.  Now, while the difference between the top D3 lacrosse players and the Top D1 players isn’t as large as it is in basketball or football, it is still large, and pretty noticeable in most cases.  Paul Rabil is the best player on the planet while Mike Stone is a role player.  I get it.  But to say that the MCLA isn’t even in that conversation is ridiculous, because they actually are producing pro players right now, even if most are on the bottom of MLL depth charts and see little time.  You know the expression “these guys aren’t even in the same league”?  Well, these guys LITERALLY are in the same league.  That’s a flag down for dissing “club ball” right there.

And of course, the first guy I’ll bring up is Connor Martin.  Sure, Connor Martin dominated in college at Chapman, but so did Stephen Berger when he was at WAC.  We don’t just dismiss what Berger does now because he was a DIII guy.   He’s continued to do it at the pro level, and that helped keep DIII lacrosse legitimate in the eyes of most.  DII and DIII both have players like this, who are able to play at the highest levels, and it increases their legitimacy, but the fact is that the MCLA has more and more of those guys as well.  To not talk about the league merely because it’s club ball looks past the facts, and in the end, it’s just wrong.

Swank would go on to say more about club vs NCAA lax and how it relates to coverage:

So the problem is with how much coverage they get?

Listen, I love DIII lax as much as anyone.   I write about it, promote it, I played, I coached, I did the laxpower forum poll for years… all because I love DIII lax.  But I’m also a realist, and I know that people on the West Coast are never going to care about Wesleyan or Salisbury or Adelphi.  However, they WILL care about Oregon and USC and Arizona State.  And guess where those schools are playing their lacrosse?  Yup, the MCLA.  So if we truly want to draw in new fans, we need to make lacrosse available and appealing to them.  Lax at Oregon via club is good for the game.  D1 would be great, but if the school won’t do it then the local lacrosse community will.  And we, as the greater lacrosse community, should support that.

If the MCLA continues to grow, and the NCAA continues with their relatively slow adoption of the sport, how is that bad?  It’s not like having a club team makes a school less likely to add the sport.  In fact, I think a club team, when run properly, only supports the idea of lacrosse on campus.  The kids going there wanted a team so badly that they made one themselves.  If that isn’t a strong argument for adding lax, I don’t know what is.

Most people’s immediate response to the above statement is that it has only happened once so far, and very recently, in Michigan.  And that’s pretty much true.  UM is the only big school that has added lax as a direct result of their club team.  But I don’t know if that is the exception to the rule… in fact, I think it might be the start of a new trend: large schools adding lacrosse.  Universities and Colleges across the country can look at Michigan, and they can look at Marquette, and they can see which path they want to follow.  Do you want to build a team from scratch like Marquette is doing?  Or do you want to build a team from within, create an immediate alumni base, and give the team an immediate sense of history and belonging?

For my proposed growth pattern to succeed, we need schools to support their MCLA programs, but all we can do there is hope that it will happen, write some letters to college presidents and ADs, and see how the cards play out.  But we also need to support these programs ourselves, and that is something we can control.

I’d love to talk about DIII lax non-stop, because it’s where I come from, and it’s what I know.  But I also know that the game is growing and if we want to keep the feeling of community we need to cover and talk about lacrosse in new places, being played by people who will PAY to play.  The MCLA is still the new frontier of lacrosse, and it is where our community tells the NCAA what WE want.  And if we consider ourselves Game Growers, we all have a responsibility to support the MCLA.

If lacrosse keeps growing but the NCAA does not keep pace, more quality players will find themselves playing in the MCLA, and eventually, more of these guys will play in the MLL.  To me, college lacrosse is college lacrosse.  Some of it is better, and some of it is worse, but it’s all close enough to be part of the same larger conversation.  And BYU, Texas or ASU will always get more coverage than Stevenson, Carbini or Tufts.  That’s just life.

Main Photo courtesy CSU Lacrosse’s flickr

About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

147 Comments

  • The problem with this conversation or debate is that it ends up like most political discussion these days as an argument of extremes. Instead of discussing how the legitimacy of the MCLA helps or hurts the growth of the game at the NCAA level, we will end up hearing whether or not club ball sucks and NCAA lax is the ultimate mark of excellence enjoyed by the chosen few. What could be an interesting discussion far too often turns into a war of words between a prideful club guy and a defensive D3 benchwarmer. 

  • I just feel as though, the NCAA is a little messed up with title IX. It makes it to difficult for teams to lax, and they just need to give enough money so they can be legitimate at the NCAA level. They can do the rest like any passionate team I’ve ever played on for any sport and fundraise. Just by adding a team it will bring back money through fans, concessions, etc. I play in Louisiana and I know for a fact people will come watch because it’s a move change of pace. If you need a girls sport add womens lax…

  • I would not say that NCAA Is equal or on par to MCLA lax just because a couple MCLA players made it to the mll. You can’t compare the talent to Duke or Syracuse to ASU or Oregon. Growing lacrosse at any level is important and MCLA is a great way to do it. Michigan going D1 is a huge leap forward and should set a great example for other universities to follow.

  • saying that D3 does not equal D1 is very legitimate. however, this would imply that there is a clear pecking order through the NCAA.  This is not true.  many D3 teams play outside of their division to prepare for the season.  Most teams from the top 25 of division 3 are able to beat 90 to 95% of division 2 teams.  And i can guarantee you that many of the MAAC schools would be struggling to compete with schools from the NE-10 or even the NESCA   

  • While i agree that title 9 is messed up, lacrosse is not at a point where it is bringing money in.  Michigan is prospecting a few million dollar loss the first few years.  while this may not seem like a lot, no school wants to loose money.  And as for the girls game doesn’t carry as large of a roster as the guys, or even enough to cover football (see florida)

  • sorry, didn’t intend to do that.  Just trying to show that the overlap on the NCAA level may have significant carry over to top MCLA teams

  • You both have very valid points but when I can’t agree with Swank is when he says that MCLA doesn’t have the time commitment and skill level as an NCAA team. Perfect example probably will be used by everyone is Michigan, after not only watching their games as a MCLA team and their workouts I couldn’t really tell the difference between them and a NCAA team. Sure alot of people play in the MCLA because they don’t want to devote their lives to lacrosse but they still love the sport. I am in that situation but at the same time I know people who play in the MCLA because it gives them a chance to shine more and play more than if they played DI or DII. I’ve played on a couple summer teams with college kids ranging from DI to MCLA and if you didn’t know who each person played for you could probably never tell the difference. There is skill in every program no matter where you look, and that’s one part I really love. No matter what program on what level you will see great talent.

  • My points can be summarized as follows:

    1. The claim that club lacrosse somehow helps create an impetus for varsity is dubious at best. It has happened only once and has not been the norm for D1 expansion.

    2. Focusing on club lacrosse at the expense of NCAA teams is detrimental to the growth of those NCAA teams. LAS is particularly guilty of this, spending a lot of time and space promoting club lacrosse and spending a remarkably little amount of time talking about the new D1 programs that have formed in the past few years. Aren’t those programs growing the game too? Why is the Grow the Game mission seemingly focused on club ball when there is little to suggest that the existence of a club program helps to create an environment for a varsity team to be formed?

    3. Overall, there is a hierarchy of talent in both NCAA and MCLA. There are obvious individual exceptions to this, but I would hope that even the most diehard fan of a particular division can acknowledge this.

    4. There is not an equal level of commitment between a NCAA program and a MCLA one. To pretend otherwise ignores the simple factual reality of the situation. As with player skill levels, there are some exceptions but they are exceedingly rare.

  • If someone plays MCLA because it “gives them a chance to shine more than if they played DI or DII” then they lack the skill to play at such a level, making them a player who qualifies under the second part of my generalization about club players.

  • Connor said it best when he said people out west aren’t going to care about Tufts but they will care about ASU, USC and Oregon. MCLA is absolutely vital to the growth of the sport, the more the public can hear the phrase “University of Texas Lacrosse” the better and the more they will pay attention to the game. Big names lead to casual fans and casual fans lead to growth! We, as a sport, need these big time colleges supporting the program whether it’s a club or varsity sport. Success at the club level will most certainly lead to interest in making it a varsity sport and that interest will lead to more and more schools promoting it to the varsity level.

    That was a good BYU team that won it all last year, could they hang with Duke? No but I would bet they could of hanged with a few D1 teams and definitely give some DII and DIII teams a run for their money. 

  • “Club” ball is doing more to grow the sport than the NCAA. Fact. 
    MCLA players are taking a more active role in promoting their teams and the sport than  NCAA players. Fact. 
    Honestly, who cares about the “NCAA vs. MCLA” skill level debate.  
    Yes, the NCAA continues a larger number of elite lacrosse players than the MCLA. Duh. But to claim that the MCLA doesn’t contain athletes who can compete with NCAA players (this is ALL NCAA players we’re talking about. Not just your Rob Pannells and Billy Bitters) is just ignorant. 
    The NCAA is stagnant. 
    Despite what NCAA/hotbed elitists might say, lacrosse is exploding around the country and the MCLA is providing kids the opportunity to play serious, competitive lacrosse at schools all over the nation. 

    There is a reason the MCLA has and is continuing to grow in popularity. Just look at how it’s helping to grow the game. 

  • This isn’t meant to knock your post, Greg, but I’ve just read enough articles about Michigan that suggest that they are the examples for other club teams to follow. The reality is that they ran their team at or above a D1 level for several years prior to going varsity. If they didn’t get a few MAJOR donations, the whole move to D1 would not have taken place. It would not have made sense for them to continue to run their team at that level if they didn’t go D1. I just don’t know how realistic it is for other teams to attempt to follow the Michigan model without some serious deep pockets and school support. I think Michigan was in a very unique position to use the momentum from their club team to transition to varisty. I think the far more common example will be High Point or other schools where the varsity team starts from scratch with little to no connection to a club program. 

  • The MCLA grows in popularity because it is accessible. Whether it provides serious, competitive lacrosse is up for debate. I do not believe that MCLA players really grasp what it is like to be a varsity athlete at a NCAA institution.

    And if you take the time to read what I actually tweeted, I acknowledge the existence of talent overlap between the MCLA and NCAA.

  • You are right, I did not know that Michigan lost that much money, but they will gain it back over the years.

  • I agree with Swank on some of his points.  The lacrosse media is celebrating Michigan’s move to D1, for good reason since it’s huge news, but has largely ignored other NCAA growth.  Why?  However, in their defense, many MCLA teams simply do more to promote themselves than a lot of NCAA teams.  That, and many MCLA teams are at schools that have national appeal. 

    I also agree that the commitment level, aside from a few exceptions, is generally much lower in the MCLA.  People who claim otherwise either don’t know the difference or don’t want to admit it.  Michigan and a few others may be exceptions, but there are something like 200 MCLA teams.  Most of them are not a comparable experience to NCAA lacrosse.

    Where I disagree:

    1. I do think MCLA growth and exposure helps NCAA growth.  Yes, Michigan may be the only big-time school so far to make the move.  It will take time, but the exposure to the sport, especially in the west, that the MCLA provides will not hurt.  Any exposure is good exposure.

    2. I also think a lot of MCLA players are at that level because of circumstance, not because they want less of a commitment.  In-state tuition, family history, academic opportunities, location, school size are all factors in choosing schools, and a lot of MCLA schools don’t offer the same kind of college opportunity that could be found in the NCAA.

  • I agree with your first point. Michigan was a unique case. However, I also think that the exposure that Michigan got and the marketing they did to build momentum on their own campus shed light on the hard work and structure that can exist in club programs. I also think some people would be surprised at the way some D1 programs are run. Not every place has the great locker room, the sweet gear, and the winning tradition. 

  • if you think an club team can hang with a D1 team watch the UMich scrimmages of them being demolished… MCLA athletes look great in pick up games, put them against team defenses and NCAA athletes (not to mention coaching) and its a whole other story…

  • That’s fair on your second point, I was generalizing there. As for your first one, I guess we will see. I don’t think the MCLA growth hurts the sport by any means, but I do think focusing on it too much or at the expense of NCAA growth is detrimental.

  • I have to agree that having big named schools associated with the sport, even if at the club level can’t be viewed as a bad thing for the sport, but I think Swank Lax makes a good point about exposure. It was a point that I hadn’t given much thought about until about 5 minutes ago. That is, that the coverage of the MCLA at the expense of DIII and DII does little to promote established varsity programs that deserve attention.

    Is it beneficial to the sport to highlight lesser programs and less skilled players simply because they represent a college or university that is a known quantity when it comes to name recognition? I’m not sure that I know the answer to that, but I do know that the point he made is a valid one. I see a lot more coverage of MCLA teams like Oregon and ASU than of varsity teams like Roanoke, NYIT, Tufts, etc. Perhaps the lacrosse media should be more focused on lacrosse played at the highest levels.

    I take nothing away from collegiate club players and the people surrounding the MCLA. The league provides an opportunity for kids to continue playing. In that respect, no one can deny that it is good for the sport. I do however feel like the MCLA is overexposed. There was and is still a club league called the NCLL who operates under the radar and does so without complaint. It seems that this league recognizes that the talent divide between club and varsity is immense and that the focus should be on having fun rather than self-promotion.

    No one here can convince me that even the best MCLA teams can compete with the likes of a NYIT, Salisbury, or Stevenson. I guess I’ll try to do my part and cover more of the local varsity games this spring.

  • All true.  However, nobody in the MCLA is remotely close to how Michigan was running their team.  Their sponsors, donors and budget blew away all but a few NCAA D1 teams, and those are all big reasons they are D1 now and their coach is being recognized for all the work he did to build it.  Michigan IS a unique case.  (And all of that still doesn’t add up to a ton of D1 talent, as you could see from their fall scrimmages.)

    Any other MCLA team that is looking to build what Michigan built has a long, long way to go to get there.

  • True.  Every single lacrosse team in the country loses money.  Do the math.  If it costs Michigan $2 million a year to run their program (which doesn’t even factor facility costs), there’s no way they are making back that money in ticket sales and concessions.  At 7 home games and $10 a ticket, they would have to draw over 20,000 fans a game just to break even (assuming concession profits too).

  • Then my reply is that NCAA athletic departments need to do more to promote their teams.  Where are the releases on gear, the player video blogs, the TV games (which takes nothing but money), the tweets, etc?  A lot of MCLA attention comes because they do a great job promoting themselves.  NCAA programs can do the same thing, but many of them don’t.

  • There is something to be said for a student athlete committing to a “varsity college life.” This means committing to your team 12 months a year and practicing six days a week in season.  This is the norm for all NCAA athletes regardless of division.  This isn’t the norm for MCLA athletes its an exception.  Schools like Michigan, Oregon, and ASU are the exceptions.  The exposure that the MCLA has created for itself is wonderful and commendable, it is a case study in the wonders of social and traditional media.  But at the same time understand this, I play mid level DIII and my Brother plays for a perennial power MCLA DII school.  He’ll be the first to admit that his team is not on the same level as mine.  I love watching him play and enjoy the lax, it just isn’t as good as the NCAA.  We play sports to build character and to develop ourselves into better men and to compete.  Hearing stories of MCLA teams firing coaches for trying to change the culture and hearing teams having sparse attendance at three day a week practices doesn’t sound like character building it sounds like kids wanting to have some fun and dodge the commitment of an NCAA program.  And this i think says it best about the MCLA, “Remember
    that time we went to Vail with 22 inches of fresh on the ground then
    came back and beat Simon Fraser, that was a good day.” Skiing on a game day? What NCAA athlete in their right mind would risk injury if they really cared that much about their team and program.  MCLA great for the sport, but should not be given as much credit or exposure as NCAA, its a wonderful outlet but lets applaud those who choose to work the hardest.

  • The NCLL exists at many schools where there is a varsity program and therefore a direct means of comparison between the club and varsity levels. It would make zero sense for them to self-promote, as you call it, because lacrosse is already a well known entity at the school. So maybe it’s not really a choice to have fun and not promote the team, but more the reality of the situation at that school. 

    Feel free to promote D2 and D3 lacrosse to your heart’s content, but don’t expect it to be major news to the overall landscape of lacrosse. I’m not knocking those levels, but it exists and will continue to exist. The growth of the sport nationwide and at big name schools is a story of interest to the lacrosse world, and that is why there is an increased interest in the MCLA. 

  • I agree. They did it at a different level for a specific purpose, but that work was done while the team was still club. Club teams have the opportunity to work just as hard (with certain limitations with facilities, etc.) as Michigan did. The biggest change with UMich will be recruiting. They were already working and operating at a “varsity” level. 

  • There is a fine line between being opinionated and being ignorant.  First of all to say that club lax is great if you lack the skill level or commitment level to play NCAA is a gross generalization.  Many of the top MCLA D1 teams have similar off season training programs to NCAA teams (More rigorous than a lot of D3 teams), and players that would fair well in the NCAA.  Not too mention that MCLA teams are for the most part entirely player funded, showing their commitment to the game as well (seeing as many NCAA D1 players are PAID to play at their school through scholarships).  
    Also, to say that we don’t want to grow MCLA programs is absolutely absurd and goes back to my point about ignorance.  ANY GROWTH OF ANY KIND OF LACROSSE IS GOOD.  Denver University is the only notable D1 team from the west (as we saw in the national tournament this year).  If we want that to change, if we want lacrosse to be a popular sport nationwide, you have to start somewhere.  Schools like UCSB, OREGON, University of Colorado, Colorado State, BYU, are all sizable schools with quality MCLA programs. As they continue to grow, the western part of the country will start to take lacrosse more seriously, and schools will start to fund NCAA teams. 
    Try not to count out the players who were not afforded the same opportunities to get recruited out of high school that others were, and continue to play the game not for scholarship money, or because it makes them a hot shot around campus, but because they love the sport and don’t want to stop playing it

  • Interesting points made by both sides. I much like you Connor spent my NCAA career as a d3 guy.

    Club ball was not really exposed to me until 2007 or so when it first started making appearances in IL. I did not pay it much attention as I a “prestigious” NCAA athlete. I saw that Connor Martin guy on the internet and hated him.I also hated the Ultimate Lax Bro too. I thought flow was for toilets and kids who should be playing soccer. I thought these things discredited the sport and made us look like goofballs. 

     I continued in this mind set until roughly 2009-10 or so. More and more coverage of the above became available and I met more players and more importantly played against more of them as well. Seeing this and in some cases being humbled by some of these kids was an interesting experience. In a short time I had accepted the club lacrosse world (not that it needed my acceptance). Connor Martin was becoming a big name and doing great things growing the game and awareness of the game as well. I even grew my hair out.

    All was well in the world. 

    Then I started to notice something as the MCLA began getting serious coverage. 
    Club players began shooting there mouths off online. Far worse than any “Salisbury vs D1″ thread on laxpower. 

     I do have an understanding that a few bad apples do not spoil everything. I also have an understanding there is an overlap in every single division and cross devisions at that as well. I know Connor Martin is a big name in the MLL game. I know that michigan made the jump into D1 from Club. I know that Chapman beat D3 Ithaca a few years back in a scrimmage. I know the gap between Club and Some NCAA teams is closing, It is not closed yet.

    All of that considered. MCLA is still MCLA and NCAA is still NCAA they are two different entities. Club ball is for those who for what ever reason lack(and i use lack not as a negative connotation)  the commitment/time, skill , knowledge of the game/time around the game, size, ect ect.  If so and so says MCLA team A will beat NCAA B its speculation to the highest degree and will only ever be speculation until the same teams are competing for a NCAA title.  

    This is not something to be frowned upon but something to embrace. There is a CHOICE for guys who want to keep playing lacrosse. Whether it be the Hardcore NCAA standard, laid back MCLA club team or anywhere in between. This is what we should be supporting that anyone anywhere has the option to play somewhere. 

  • So the student with a biochemical engineering major who desires to play a sport that he loves and has fun playing, as well as apply himself to his schoolwork and prepare for an upcoming career, does not deserve to be applauded for his hard work as well then?

  • I don’t understand your point? obviously there are student athlete’s in both the NCAA and MCLA juggling these commendable feats, my point is that the NCAA player makes more sacrifices and must balance school and team life more so than the MCLA player.  Not many MCLA teams lift, practice, and watch film all in the same day. Any DIII team trying to keep up with the Denisons and Tufts and Roanokes do these things. Playing NCAA lacrosse is a full time job requiring a minimum commitment of three hours a day in addition to school work, that is the norm.  The same thing cannot be said about MCLA.

  • Last year Chapman a MCLA team beat Ithaca an up there D3 team in my eyes by 4. Not sure if anyone mentioned that. I was recruited by a few D3 schools but in the end went with an MCLA school because of the SCHOOL. 97% job placement, cant beat it. You have great talent in the MCLA because maybe kids like myself go to the school for the school and not just solely for lacrosse. We practice/workout everyday like all NCAA teams so the commitment level is there. There is a large difference between competitive MCLA lacrosse and “Beer League” MCLA lacrosse. I think the MCLA has loads of talent and maybe a NCAA MCLA cross game would be cool. Kind of like what they do in the NCAA BBall. 

  • Bob – Which scrimmages?  They got demolished by Towson.  They lost a close one to St. Joe’s and lost to Providence in OT.  In the past they’ve played some close ones against D1 teams, even winning a couple.  Providence and St. Joe’s are not D1 powerhouses by any means, but they certainly held their own in those ones.

  • Let’s say we have two players. Player one has money to go to play select team lacrosse and go to all the summer recruiting camps. Player two can only play for his high school, however has a much better skill level. Player one goes and plays NCAA lacrosse due to his exposure. Player two plays MCLA because he has to go where he gets a scholarship for academics. Now tell me which one is better?

  • Unless I misunderstood, I don’t think that’s the point that’s being made.  I don’t recall him saying  MCLA hangs with D1 teams, just the NCAA.  Since when is the NCAA restricted to D1?  

  • Person 1: MCLA sucks. NCAA teams rule. I hate flow. Rabble rabble rabble. Trolling for responses. Rabble rabble rabble. Went to a smaller school that gets lost in the D1 / MCLA conversation and should be trying to promote their fav brand of lax and not tear others down.

    Person 2: My team could totally play with anyone. Rabble rabble rabble Title IX rabble rabble rabble. ConBroChill 4 Life. Rabble rabble rabble. Has never heard of Roanoke.

    It’s a new year but the same tired comments that have been around for a decade. Time to change the conversation.

    // doesn’t see the point of this conversation
    /// GTG ANY WAY POSSIBLE

  • As a coach in the state of Florida where the growth of lacrosse at the high school and youth level is faster than the growth at the college level, I believe I have to support MCLA programs as much as NCAA programs. Ideally USF, UF, FSU, UCF, UNF, UM, etc. would all have D1 men’s and women’s programs. The reality is that in Florida only two school field a D1 women’s team and only one fields a D1 men’s team. A handful of schools field D2 programs. Florida has no D3 progams. On the other hand every major university in the state fields an MCLA team, and FSU’s team has successfully beaten most of the D2 schools in Florida in fall lacrosse. One of my seniors last year was contacted by several D3 schools in the northeast and two of the Florida D2 programs. He picked FSU instead for financial and academic reasons. While I would have loved to finally have a player sign with an NCAA program, I couldn’t blame him for making that choice. FSU has a very solid MCLA program and his family couldn’t afford the tuition at the other school even with the financial aid offered to him. Until NCAA D1 lacrosse grows across the country, we must continue to support the MCLA.

  • I am sorry but who the hell is he to tell me I am not playing lacrosse for my school? I bet this guy doesn’t know what it is like to play in a non-hotbed area. 

  • Not to hate on the MCLA, but it will never be seen in the same light as any NCAA program. Yes, there are players that play in the MCLA who are talented enough to make a NCAA program, but that is maybe true for 10% of all players in the MCLA. I played JuCo for 2 years and NCAA D3 for a year before tearing my ACL. I now go to a school that has a MCLA D1 program and it is a joke. There is no structure and no commitment to actually progressing as a player or program. So, I feel that the more NCAA programs that can be started the better for the game. What takes the NCAA so long to add programs at the D2 and D3 divisions is Title IX. Club programs aren’t hindered by this rule. I am from the Philadelphia area, which is now a hotbed for NCAA D1 and D3 talent. I now live on the west coast and can say, if more schools west of the Mississippi were to add NCAA programs the game will see rapid growth. A lot of kids don’t want to move 3000 miles to play when they can go to a school like Oregon, Chapman, ASU, but if NCAA programs were more prevalent here on the west coast it would not only help grow the game, but make for some great games come tournament time. 

  • Where do you play?

    Do you think this lack of structure and coaching is prevalent for 70% of the MCLA? Or 30%?

    Do you think the same thing happens at the bottom 20% of DIII schools? The bottom 5% of DI schools? The bottom 3 JuCo teams?

  • The issue there is would that d3 bench warmer be an all star in club and would that prideful club guy make said d3 roster? the battle continues 

  • Got to agree that MCLA is not anywhere nearly all of DIII. The talent isn’t there.  Some (i’d say problably 45-50%) of MCLA teams do have the dedicated atmosphere that creates success, i’d put a guess that 80-85% of DIII teams have the same atmosphere. 95-97% in DII/DI. Yes, i agree with you on the individual talent overlap.  Maybe 5-10% of the players could go up/down and still find success.

    Can’t say that i would hate on teams that DO put in all the work and dedication it takes to be successful.  I’d say in terms of dedication, the top teams across the country all look pretty similar, regardless of division.  In terms of talent, obviously there is a difference. 

    We do need to encourage more NCAA lacrosse, for sure.  Providing opportunities for players is never a bad thing.

    Swank, i understand the frustration with LAS and their promotion of “club ball” but this website was started by mostly former MCLA players, i believe. Of course they will cater to MCLA coverage.  I’d say IL (up until the Michigan announcement) and Laxmagazine have both been very friendly to DII/DIII, and not very concerned with the MCLA.  Additionally, they need to create unique content for people to come to their website and not go to IL/Laxmagazine.  It’s obvious the focus for LAS is non-hotbed growth, MCLA lacrosse, and Gear.  Can’t hate them for trying to make a strong community (and a little money on the side, too).

  • chapman was playing for a championship that day and Ithaca was on “spring break” in california.

    while its not a reasonable statement its one a NCAA guy will use. Simply put these two programs will never be fighting for the same thing at the same time. 

  • Do you believe that most MCLA players don’t grasp this or no? I’d say probably 60-65% don’t.  35-40% know exactly what it takes, and pay to play too.

  • ^^^^not true^^^^(Most teams from the top 25 of division 3 are able to beat 90 to 95% of division 2 teams)

  • Geography is a factor. Here in Oregon we have two pretty good MCLA teams – Oregon and Western Oregon. Our youth programs are taking off – Connor Martin is a local product and several kids have ended up at NCAA D1 schools. Plus Ryan Powell’s Rhino Lacrosse and Lorne Smith’s camps at Oregon are providing quality training for lax’ers. Until we make the big show, we will continue to support our club programs…

  • I play club and I would say that yes there is a difference in athletic ability, overall skill, and motivation between MCLA and NCAA. HOWEVER, take a top tier MCLA team, give them all the benefits of an NCAA team (i.e. trainers, injury prevention/care staff, scholarship aid, tutors etc.) and see how that team does within 5 years. 

    I guarantee there is not much difference between a top tier MCLA team and a mid-range NCAA team off the bat. Give it time and those benefits, and I’d bet you see any program grow exponentially. Don’t discredit the MCLA because, as OP here put, some kids want to go to the school for school and they don’t have the teammates around them to beat those NCAA teams. There are players on the level of NCAA in the MCLA. There are teams on the level of NCAA in the MCLA. The difference is the benefits they receive as athlete-students vs student-athletes. 

    If anything, the top players in MCLA have MORE motivation than those in the NCAA because not only do they work their ass off in the classroom and teach themselves, but they also have to train themselves unless their school is lucky enough to have a coach that knows how to properly condition and athletically train them but that usually is what makes the dif between a mid-range and a top tier MCLA team.

  • A few things from a player on a top 5 Division 1 MCLA team (Oregon)

    The spectrum of lacrosse found in the MCLA is large with regards to level of play, club infrastructure (which includes coaching) and administrative support. The latter two have a huge influence on a team’s level of play and the potential of the program.

    The top 10 or so MCLA Divison 1 teams in any of the last two or three years are equivalent to or better than many NCAA Division 3 teams. I would equate the top 5 MCLA Division 1 teams to border-line Division 3 tournament teams. The level of play among the MCLA’s best has increased greatly in recent years. This opinion is based off personal experience as an MCLA player, seeing some mid level D3 teams play in person, and watching a lot of highlights on youtube. Take it for what it’s worth.

    There really aren’t any good MCLA teams outside the top 15 in Division 1. It’s just not good lacrosse. MCLA Division 2 lacrosse is terrible. Having seen top 5 Division 2 teams play in person and having scrimmaged one in a fall tourney I can tell you that it is very bad lacrosse. There are also many terrible teams in MCLA Division 1, to be fair.

    All this being said there is also a large spectrum in NCAA lacrosse with regards to skill level and support. Keep in mind that there are some VERY bad NCAA Division 2 and 3 teams out there that have neither talent nor support from their schools, despite the varsity label.

    The point is that there are certainly some good teams in the MCLA that deserve credit for what they do and the level of play they have achieved. And then there are MCLA teams that make me embarrassed to share the same governing body.

    I’m not going to worry about who deserves coverage and how much of it. More lacrosse is good in my eyes, even if it’s really bad lacrosse.

  • Please point out 3 NCAA lacrosse players who were “Paid” due to all this “scholarship money”, when you have a roster around 50, I find it hard to believe that the 12.69 scholarships available to fully funded program is allowing players to get paid. 

  • i was not aware of that, neither are a lot of people that will see that on paper. without a doubt the MCLA will never have the overall talent as NCAA. do i think a few teams can compete with D3 maybe even D2 teams? yes. i hope michigan has a ton of success because this season they will pretty much be playing a D1 schedule with an MCLA team and it will show that the top tier schools do have a large amount of talented players. my school is trying to go D3 but its all about the money. idk about most guys but my school gives us access to all the facilities and trainers which is great. its not right to bash either organization because in the end its all about playing lacrosse, the sport we love

  • This argument is somewhat pointless as the MCLA is simply essential to the game right now, for the following reasons :

    1. There are simply not enough NCAA teams for all the players who are
    coming out of high school now. So, the MCLA provides outstanding
    opportunities for the athletes who cannot or choose not to play in the
    NCAA. (I say “choose” because there are a lot of players from out west
    who make wise decisions for themselves and decide that they would rather
    go to a school in Colorado or California or Oregon rather than go all
    the way back east just to play NCAA lacrosse.)

    2. There are more and more GREAT high school players every year, so the
    talent level at the DII, DIII and MCLA levels has increased dramatically
    over the past decade.

    3. As Connor said, the NCAA cannot keep up with the growth of the game now, but the MCLA can. That’s a good thing for the game.

    So, this argument is purely based on people’s emotions and egos. There
    is no better or worse side here. The game of lacrosse is the game of
    lacrosse and if you work hard and play to the best of your abilities,
    you are going to have fun and learn a lot from it. That’s all that
    matters. We need both the NCAA and MCLA to keep growing so more athletes can continue to have the opportunity to take part in college lacrosse, no matter what the level.

  • “i was not aware of that, neither are a lot of people that will see that on paper.” 
    Half the reason people blew up about this was parents telling MCLA folks this this started more debates along these lines which in my opinion is why this was one of the more heated debated of that year. 

    Michigan has A LOT to live up to. a previous 3-10 Towson smashing them did not look good for them and really set the bar. It however should show how the “best” in the MCLA fares against the NCAA. 

    At the end of the day it should be about GTG and playing lacrosse. However as of late Club has been trying to make it more than that from what I have seen on the internet lately. Its becoming a sort of MLL vs LXM it will never happen but it gets people talking about the LXM

  • Wow.  The MCLA is overexposed?  The MCLA comes before D2 and D3 in media coverage?  If you only read LaxAllStars that MAY be true, not even sure if it is cause Connor pumps D3 pretty hard on here.

    The traditional media outlets outright ignore the MCLA.  ESPN college broadcasts have never mentioned the letters MCLA in reference to the league to my knowledge.  To say the MCLA gets more coverage and is “overexposed” is lunacy.

    Does the MCLA get a ton of coverage on LaxAllStars?  YES!  Because it’s a site founded by MCLA players!  Wow, funny how that works?

  • Swank,

    Your first point is based on too limited a perspective on how and why sports are added at universities.  Sports are added due to administrative cost-benefit studies of the ability to a) bring in paying students (mostly for DIII) and b) increase the visibility/public profile of the institution.  

    Typically, the evidence of student demand is gathered is from private consultants, admissions office data mining, and qualitative research for the Board of Regents.  The value of the MCLA here should be pretty apparent.  Clear, student-driven demand for a sport that is right in the face of the school’s admin is something no well-run college is going to ignore.  

    You are correct, in stating that a pathway from MCLA -> NCAA has limited evidence to back it.  However, MCLA -> increased public perception -> sport growth on a national scale -> NCAA is not far fetched at all.  

    Please don’t mistake the link between MCLA and increased public perception as exclusive or a one-to-one result.  It isn’t.  However, consider this: As public support for higher education shrinks, the likelihood of adding expensive men’s non-revenue sports falls even more dramatically.  Recruitment and retention of students are the two most important things for every school in the U.S.  As schools are shown that they are going to lose students to competitor institutions due to their lack of a lacrosse team, they begin to care.  Again, the MCLA value should be apparent.  School lacking a team lose to schools with teams.  Schools with team lose out to schools with competitive teams.  Schools with competitive teams lose to schools that are sponsoring the sport, etc.

  • I agree with everything that’s been said, but there’s something to be said for what Shawn Nadelen’s been doing at Towson this fall.  That team’s had a culture change for sure and i think they’re going to surprise some people in 2012.

    Off topic? probably. but i thought it might be warranted.

  • Shawn Nadelen is a class act. I agree there are big things in store for towson in the near future 

  • calvin craig last yr in the mcla couldve went to any ncaa div 1 team, he couldve played nll last yr if he wanted to but opted out for the better academics at SFU to be a doctor. I know tons of canadians who wont go to some poo academic liberal arts college just to play ncaa div 1,2,3. theres tons of talent that gets overlooked in place just because they arent hot beds amd dont travel to hot beds. this arguement is retarded, talented players come at every level, however the biggest difference comes in the amount of time commitment a team puts in and depth of talent. I will give the ncaa the fact that the amount of talent on a team is superior to an MCLA team, but thats not to say the top players on the MCLA teams are just as good if not better than all the players on the NCAA team. But its a team game, so guess who wins.

  • Depends on the d3 team and depends on the mcla team. Each has over 150 teams and a wide range of talent. I can tell you for a fact that there are some mcla teams that cant hang with some d3 teams and some d3 teams that can’t hang with mcla teams. In both leagues, there is great disparity from the top and bottom teams

  • I played at a high level high school on Long Island were the whole team had D1, D2 and D3 prospects. The politics just got old so i headed west. I play in the MCLA and my team watches film, lifts in the AM then a 2-3 hour practice, on top of all the school work i have to do. And for you to say a NCAA player is committed 12 months of the year is BS. I’ve seen and played with kids from all levels of the NCAA in summer tourneys, that’s also risking injury even before the season starts. Coaches being fired happens in every sport, you don’t produce the W’s your going to get fired point blank. Only time the NCAA promotes itself when they come out with gear other dumb stuff. The MCLA we do it all from gear, to websites, blogs and even game coverage on websites yes we dont have the “ESPN” but we do it. Lacrosse at ASU, Duke, Oregon UVA are all student athletes that have the same hard work load simple as that. And now the MCLA is a part of InsideLacrosse is a huge plus love the exposure and glad to be a part it! 

  • SwankLax’s saying that the argument that NCAA lax is equal to MCLA is false; who said that?  Seriously, who before this post was making that argument?   

  • Thats just one school you attended some NCAA schools are a joke also when it comes to work ethic, commitment or even talent.

  • Philadelphia a hotbed for lacrosse?? when did this happened maybe western PA yes. I would rather go to Oregon, Texas, FSU over duke. Chicks are way hotter duhhh

  • Transferred from NCAA D1 (Providence)- where I started for two years as a d-mid but hated school- to Club (Michigan) to get a better education and play for a MCLA team that had D1 standards…. won two national championships, became a captain after one season, and was part of a movement that led to a “club” team going D1… in my situation, “club ball” was more legitimate than my D1 experience.

  • have someone from the NCAA ranks make a website that concentrates on NCAA DII or DII lacrosse ohh wait they cant to many politics and copyrights issues. MCLA is fun, lively and just more interesting in my world. I care bout the NCAA when it comes may.

  • Wow, thought the mission was GTG, not GTMCLA. 
    The MCLA does not belong on ESPN and thus it not being mentioned is a relief to me, rather than a concern. I would hate for a first time viewer to flip on an MCLA game and think that it was the elite level of college lacrosse and judge the sport accordingly.The MCLA is overexposed on the internet, which is where many lacrosse fans come to learn about and discuss the game. You may think that is awesome, but there is a large part of the lacrosse world that is less enthused with this. You may call us “haters” or whatever you wish, but know that giving legitimacy to every team that can whip together a sweet uniform or helmet cam video or whatever without any consideration for the actual talent level and dedication of those players is ultimately detrimental to the sport because it legitimizes a person or team that doesn’t embody what we would want a representative of our game to embody. You will undoubtedly point to the club programs and players that do dedicate themselves to lacrosse in the way a varsity athlete does, though you will make no mention of the fact that they are by and large the exception, not the rule. You will walk away thinking I’m a lacrosse snob, a NCAA-elitist. And perhaps I am. But that only comes out of a desire to see the game played by players fully dedicated to their sport, maximizing their effort and their talents to be as successful as they can. Too much of club lacrosse does not meet this standard. If that makes me a snob, so be it. I will continue to celebrate the athletes who choose a path of greater personal commitment by choosing NCAA ball over those who prefer a less committed lifestyle.

  • It sure seems like there are two different arguments going on here.  Why anybody has to be “in favor” of NCAA MCLA and opposed to the other is beyond me.  Both serve their purpose.  NCAA is better lacrosse on the whole and I don’t think anyone has debated that.  But it’s also very closed off. MCLA, on the other hand, is extremely accessible to the lay person.  
    You know what the lay person doesn’t know?  The quality of the game they’re watching or what exactly an “Adelphi” is.  
    You know what the lay person does know?  That good or bad, the game itself is exciting to watch.  They know that they love Oregon and hate Oregon State and so they already have a team to root for.  Just like that, someone who knows nothing about this sport can actually relate to it and take an interest.
    NCAA lax is a great aspiration for lacrosse players and nobody is disputing what it means to the sport.  The MCLA, however, is very arguably doing more than anything else to grow the game across this Nation.  Anyone who spends any amount of time actively attempting to demerit that effort ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  • The only response needed to this is to re-read Trevor Tierney’s comment in the above thread.

    Also, want to point out some profoundly trolling internet-y statments here that are only intended to provoke people and not start a legitimate conversation. This is rhetoric that only divides people when we should be coming together. 

    “I would hate for a first time viewer to flip on an MCLA game and think that it was the elite level of college lacrosse and judge the sport accordingly”

    “…(The MCLA) legitimizes a person or team that doesn’t embody what we would want a representative of our game to embody”

    “I will continue to celebrate the athletes who choose a path of greater personal commitment by choosing NCAA ball over those who prefer a less committed lifestyle”

    /The NCAA isn’t the game
    // The MCLA isn’t the game
    /// The MLL (insert pro league here) isn’t the game

  • Yes, because you don’t agree with them, they must just be trolling. I couldn’t possibly believe them, could I? Goddamn. I’m not interested in “coming together” with people who think that college lacrosse is something that is done casually. That’s a club sport, it doesn’t deserve coverage, and I’m not going to sit in a circle and sing kumbaya with those people and pretend that I’m okay with the coverage these teams get. I’m fine with the club teams that actually replicate the varsity lifestyle getting publicity. However, this is not how the vast majority of club teams operate.

    And you misquoted me. The MCLA does not “legitimize a person or team that doesn’t embody what we would want a representative of our game to embody.” The focus on uniforms and videos of any team with a camera or a set of mockups is what legitimizes them, and wrongfully so. MCLA fans shouldn’t support this. Wouldn’t you want the coverage to be on your best examples of club ball, the BYU’s and ASU’s of the sport?

    You really want to grow the game? Shine the spotlight on the efforts of some DIII start up program to build a team, acknowledge the work of the coaches who take NCAA jobs at new programs and kill themselves to recruit and build a team out of nothing. Recognize the players who toil away 12 months a year to get better on a bad team because that’s how much the sport means to them. It is people like that, people with such an intense love of lacrosse that they are willing to go through the struggles associated with these situations for very little reward, that we should devote blog posts and coverage to. And those who chose MCLA because they didn’t want the time commitment of NCAA ball or were afraid of the possibility of not playing enough or getting cut? They do not deserve the time and effort devoted to covering them because they did not believe in devoting their time and effort to lacrosse.

  • Without reading any of the comments prior, I think that at the end of the day the growth of the game is the most important thing to remember.  It doesn’t matter who gets the most TV coverage… it really doesn’t.  Lacrosse players watch lacrosse games on TV, that is just the reality of it.  NCAA doesn’t know how to promote lacrosse.  ESPN does a subpar job at promoting lacrosse.  MLL markets itself towards…. other lacrosse players.  What matters, at the end of the day is what players do AFTER they play college lacrosse.  I don’t care if you played at Duke, Navy, Air Force, Oregon, Texas, etc….  if you aren’t using your past experiences to help grow the game, then does it really matter whether you played NCAA or MCLA. 

    Now is Club ball important… hell yeah it is!  It gives players the chance to keep playing the sport. 

    SwankLAX commented on the lack of commitment or skill level needed to play NCAA ball… that’s about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.  With that alone, his position is that only the MOST committed and MOST skilled play NCAA… man, I’ve seen some Club ball guys and they are good.  Not only good, but great. 

  • What High School was the top ranked program in the the country last year?
    Oh, thats right The Haverford School. Western PA now that’s a good laugh. Education>hot chicks. Glad to see your priorities are in line.

  • I’ll start with what I agree on: the focus on uniforms and mockups is something I have no idea when it became so integral to a team “earning” coverage.  Mockups are something a 13 year old with dialup can create.  I need something with a little more analysis and investigation to keep my attention.

    As for your assessment of “club ball”, I wasn’t using ESPN’s lack of MCLA acknowledgement as an argument to say the MCLA deserves more coverage.  I was simply pointing out the resistance for acknowledging the MCLA in general, which speaks against the claim that the MCLA is overexposed. 

    When you say that you want to see those who are only “fully committed” to the game, I hear a similar argument to those who opposed allowing the integration of black athletes to basketball, football, and baseball in the middle of the last century.  The integration of ever-growing talent levels into the MCLA does not legitimize the league, but it does indicate a shift in the cultural center of the game.  Not fully into the MCLA, and it should never be centered in the MCLA.  But the MCLA is part of the lacrosse universe, and to ignore it or discredit at face value is lazy and missing the big picture.

    I’m not calling you a hater.  You just haven’t taken the time to appreciate the full breadth of what the MCLA means to everyone who plays in the league and will play in the league in the future.

  • Don’t play, I am a high school coach now and I always tell my players when making the college decision that academics come first and lacrosse comes second. I would say probably around 50%. Also, finding good coaches that are committed to growing programs at the MCLA level are hard to come buy. Yes, there are a lot of teams out there, but the most successful MCLA teams have the structure, commitment, and coaches to do so. As far as D1 goes, all of the players that play at the D1 level know that they have made a commitment to play at the highest level of lacrosse. I have have a few of my friends leave D1 to go and play D3 for various reasons. At the rate that our sport is growing the important thing is to provide options for players. MCLA is good, but I think that it will always be look down upon by players who played NCAA ball. 

  • Is this the most commented topic in laxallstars history yet?

    Bottom line, it seems to me, is that there are a lot of people passionate about lacrosse.  That number is growing.  The MCLA is a vital part of the lacrosse community, and I doubt very much that it’s:
    1. Going away or getting smaller.
    2. Going to stop promoting itself.

    What people choose to respect/watch/read/look at is up to them.  Swank is passionate about the game we all love.  Some are going to agree with his viewpoint.  Some aren’t.  I doubt very much that will slow down the MCLA from working to grow and promote themselves or the media that must see some kind of benefit from covering them.

    We had a comment below from a former D1 player, D1 coach and member of one of lacrosse’s most respected families.  From all that I’ve read here (including my own comments), it was the most balanced response so far.

  • A little food for thought for those saying that MCLA teams will never beat NCAA teams… 
    http://cctigers.com/schedule.aspx?path=mlax&schedule=76 Notice on Colorado College’s schedule from last year, the only teams they lost to were Roanoke in the playoffs, and Colorado State. Technically a scrimmage, yes, but it was played like it was a game. Both teams kept their starters in the whole game, no asterisk necessary. 

    MCLA teams would never beat any good D1 NCAA teams, I will agree with you there.  But I’d absolutely put my money on CSU, BYU, ASU, Chapman, etc over the bottom D1 teams (Detroit, Mercer, etc) and probably 50% of D2 or D3 teams. IMO only the top 30 or so D3 teams are relevant in any way, as can be shown by Roanoke beating CC by 20 in the first round of the tournament, and CC was undefeated against NCAA D3 and D2 teams until that point. 

  • Thats why there is this argument in the first place. 
    The idea that team #125-150 in D3 will lose the #1-10MLCA makes #20 MCLA think they can take on the world because of the idea that a MCLA team can beat a D3 team. Regardless of rank. Same thing when “duke lost to salisbury” in a scrimmage. Whos starters were in where, when and what ever had laxpower frothing with X #1-20 d3 can beat Y#1-10 D1. its all how you want to look at it. At the end of the day no one is competing for the same thing come game day consciously or subconsciously. One team is not playing for bragging rights, the other is trying to make a statement. 

  • Exactly.  I hate the whole who can beat whom argument.  Who cares?  D1 teams play for D1 championships.  D2 for D2.  D3 for D3.  MCLA for MCLA.  It’s great they get to scrimmage each other sometimes.  Good for them I assume, and good for the game.  But the only games that should be judged are the ones that mean something, and even then you have to take a bunch of games to really get a sense of what a team is like. 

  • Show me a legitimate MCLA D1 or D2 team and I will show you 25 kids who were recruited to play NCAA ball somewhere or who have already played it somewhere.  

  • Mock ups and uniforms help legitimize a team to some extent, draws recruits, coverage and buzz. Just ask Oregon 

  • I can’t decide if I’m amused or just saddened by the fact that this discussion took place under my original comment. 

  • So Ithaca comes all the way from New York just to get beaten by Chapman for the last few years?  Really, yeah not buying that.  I agree with the GTG opportunities but I know for a fact that there are many, many DI level lacrosse athletes who have “chosen” to play MCLA lacrosse for the multiple reasons already listed.  Further, I would argue that the top tier MCLA programs could compete with the top tier DIII teams and would absolutely dominate any team ranked in the lower half. 
    Swank Lax please take off the NCAA snob goggles and see how the game has really grown. 

  • “The MCLA grows in popularity because it is accessible.” And…isn’t that a good thing? With that accessibility comes growth, exposure, and more and more quality players competing in the league.  
    I don’t think most MCLA players are claiming to be the same as NCAA athletes, so I don’t know where you’re going with that…but don’t undermine the commitment level of these kids who are PAYING TO PLAY. And certainly don’t assume that the MCLA is the beer league it sounds like your making them out to be (over-exaggeration, I know).Apologies about the talent overlap part. I did actually read what you’d tweeted. Part of my post was me replying to you and the other part was me getting carried away while standing on my soapbox. 

  • Swank as I’ve said before I admire your willingness to stir the pot at the risk of pissing people off. I’ve been following this thread the last day or so, as it’s been captivating due to the variety of well-worded, and good-natured responses from all. So hat’s off on a job well-done in stimulating discussion in what turned out to be a positive way.
    With that said, my attitude towards your stance on MCLA vs NCAA is that it’s sort of come out in a sideways manner as a result of something that has nothing to with the quality of the sport at the different levels, but rather the nature and process of sports journalism and its failure to satisfy your individual interests.During monday’s fulmination, I Tweeted at you :”VincentVan_Bro Vincent Van Bro : @swanklax what brought up this Club vs Ncaa thing”To which you replied :” swanklax Swank Lax  :@VincentVan_Bro Tired of some of the glorification of club lax that goes on on the internet.” I’m going to assume when you say “internet” you mean dotcom’s; websites that are trying to maintain enough readers and site hits to sell ads and turn a profit.  Also, I’m going to assume that your perception of MCLA receiving more coverage than D2 and D3 is accurate (although I disagree personally, this could be based on the sites I visit vs. the sites you visit).Let’s look at the top 5 MCLA Div 1 teams (based on the US Lacrosse rankings), and wikipedia the full-time undergrad enrollment (rounding to the nearest half-thousand) (*Observation: the order of ranking on the site was D1, D2, D3, MCLA, JuCo)1. BYU, 28k 2. ASU, 56k 3.Chapman, 4k 4.Colorado State, 24.5k 5. Michigan State  36k. Let’s do the same for the top 5 d3 based on the same poll1. Salisbury, 8k 2.Tufts, 5k 3. Roanoke, 2.1k 4.Dickinson 2.3k 5. RIT, 15k. Ok so that’s roughly 150,000 undergrads combined for the top 5 MCLA D1 program, and 32,000 for the top 5 D3 programs. That’s 5 potential student fans for the top 5 MCLA teams for every ONE potential student fan per d3 top 5 !! Do you see where I’m going with this? Naturally, the first argument you could come up with is that most of these undergrads are from areas where lacrosse isn’t big.. they don’t care about it, unlike the Northeast where everyone loves lax. Personally, I believe people care about RIVALRIES, regardless of the sport. When SU lax plays Binghamton… 3,000 people in the Dome. When SU plays UVA, Notre Dame, or Georgetown 14,000 strong. Also, don’t forget that each of these D1 MCLA schools probably has 1/2 of the entire state’s support ( and an entire religion in the case of BYU) at their wayside when it comes time to play those familiar rivals from basketball, football, and baseball. Contrarily, Salisbury, Roanoke, and RIT are around local state residents who most likely caare more about the Terps, Cavs, and Orange.You can’t blame internet websites for catering to as large an audience pool as is represented by these MCLA teams at big name Division 1 FBS schools. Even if 5 times as many people care about lax at the top 5 d3 schools for every top 5 MCLA fan, thats still the exact same number of fans interested in both leagues. It’s just smart business. A websites sole and explicit purpose is to attract more readers… the benefit to site traffic from covering these MCLA schools is self-evident.Now let’s talk about the internet coverage disagreement. Do you really think people learn more about MCLA on the internet than D3 and D2? I strongly disagree based on the behaviors and knowledge of the guys I play with in the offseason. Who do you think is more likely to get noticed, or draw a sideline crowd if they showed up at War at the Shore or Ocean City Classic? Sam Bradman or Trevor Yealy? DJ Hessler or Dylan Westfall? Fuck it, what if they showed up to the Bigfoot Bender, or Lake Tahoe tourney ?? If you said “who?” to either of those 2nd names, or “where??” to those tourneys, then I hope you can understand my point. Websites may be making a concerted effort to promote the MCLA but at the end of the day I can name almost the entire 1st team D3 all-americans off the top of my head. I didnt even know a single MCLA name until this spring when I committed to Oregon for grad school and started following the league because I would be soon joining it. My point is that it may be quite reasonable to say that the internet blogs/websites are not promoting the MCLA enough !! At the end of the day, my whole perspective is that preserving the purity of lacrosse is tantamount to the efforts to Grow The game. This purity is totally missing from big money sports with true professional leagues (bball/fball/baseball/hockey), and it’s something that guys like you, me, and our peers can take active effort to help maintain. Deprecating someone or feeling superior because they didnt play NCAA is just bad people skills, Swank. The purpose of college athletics is to enhance the individual’s potential as a human being.. to teach a strong work ethic, dedication, perseverance, TEAMWORK, selflessness… blah blah blah cue the “sleep is for people who are broke!” youtube video. But seriously Swank, that’s what lacrosse does mean to me. I know a lot of people that feel the same way. Would you tell someone who never played college but won a Minto Cup that their experience wasn’t “as high a level” as yours simply because they played for pride outside the NCAA ?  Just  understand people might not appreciate it if u denigrate and devalue their lacrosse background/experience simply and purely because it was a “club” one. Always a pleasure to hear your thoughts.-Dave Youngentob@VincentVan_bro on twitter

  • I don’t see why people are even debating whether or not to take club lax seriously or not, it lacrosse isn’t it, get over the whole idea that all the DI DII and DIII stuff changes anything besides that the player is more skilled or committed.  Lacrosse is lacrosse no matter how you look at it.

  • club teams need mroe attention because every college gets a start somewhere and in order to becoem NCAA chances are it needs to start out as club and if a college has club  the more atention it gets the higher the chances are of the school going NCAA

  • There are some club teams out there because of a few reasons:
    1. the sport is growing, I guess lax started out as a hobby, but now its huge
    2. There are great players out there who were never on the NCAA radar or players who have recovered from injury after losing their lax scholarship. They may not play for the NCAA, but they can still kick ass.
    3. The East coast area is the place to start. High schools on the east coast are growing their lax programs. The more colleges that have lacrosse, Meaning high schools can feed to colleges that have club teams, which will help make more division teams, which means  more players are continuing to play the best sport!
    4. The club teams are stepping up. For example, my school (la salle) has a club team and we are trying to go D1. The college got rid of their football team and so there is a beautiful field only used for soccer and Womens lax. The club team will someday become D1, and I believe its now.

  • Not every school has a NCAA program. Sometimes kids actually want to go to school without having lacrosse determine the location. Furthermore, coming from a mcla d2 school, I can say that the commitment level is substantially different. Shit.. we are pretty damn good, even graduated a pro. He moved to D2 NCAA and led the entire league in goals scored his first and only year. The big difference here is we are not receiving free equipment and trips. MCLA/club players have to pay for this, unless the school is NAIA.. Shit.. these dues can total well over $2,000 if we value a diverse OOC schedule and make nationals.

    Is the game the absolute same? No. Our team came within 6 goals of U of M’s club team 2 fall balls ago. This was also due to the fact that they put six quick ones in on us before we broke the goose egg. U of M lost to Bellarmine and other low-middle D1 teams by margins of 8+. This showed the biggest difference in MCLA and NCAA D1, however to stay the MCLA is garbage is ludicrous… Hell, our team beat quite a few D3 programs and held our own in losses to others, as have many other strong D1/2 MCLA programs.

    Club does not equal NCAA.. But shit man what are we really trying to take seriously? The fact that kids go out and play ball? Yeah we all do. Many kids skip workouts, if there even are workouts and School and Family are over club lacrosse.. but we still practice and play damn hard.

    Sure we lack some aspects of the game. After all are kids who can get scholarships really gonna go pay 2Gs to play lax? Maybe.. but they probably realize the said university is better for their future, which isn’t going to be making 10+ grand a year playing MLL or NLL.

    Get some

  • Youre kinda a dick bud.. If you dont want to watch or hear of MCLA lax then don’t pay attention to it. Sure we don’t toil away like all these NCAA teams, but we sure as hell beat them with less work. We still get the time and effort because there is a market. MCLA rivalries are among some of the best in college lacrosse. I get to play with kids from the same region as myself in Michigan because I decided to go to a school that offers a quality education. It just so happens that there are some people higher up in the MCLA who grind to get us coverage from InsideLacrosse and get funding. There are many issues with budgets and we pay to do what we do. We don’t deserve shit, but we must be doing something right if we are getting that coverage.

    And trust me bud, high tier MCLA D1/2 can compete with maaaany NCAA 2/3 programs. Maybe not the top programs but then again we didn’t get/accept the scholarships that they did. Don’t act like we don’t work hard when we are on the field.. especially the kids who will work 20 hours a week during the season and classes solely to pay dues.

  • Please don’t make comparisons to racial integration when discussing a topic that everyone on this forum agrees is purely opinion based.  One is a case of right and wrong, the other merely a point of discussion.  I would draw a comparison to club College Hockey East, a wonderful organization with their own media coverage and governing body.  Schools are allowed to have teams in multiple divisions, giving everyone who wants to play the sport an outlet to do so competitively.  What sets them apart from the MCLA is that they are happy with their niche and understand the product they put on the ice.  No players on Robert Morris’ club team are arguing with the varsity or DIII players on who can compete with who.  Its a celebration of the sport just like the MCLA should be.

  • If working hard meant “working hard when you’re on the field,” then I would have said that. Further proof you have no clue what it means to be a varsity athlete at an NCAA program.

  • Would you ever ski on game day? I mean really that is a little ridiculous.  As far as summer tournaments, you need to play the game to get better, and college basketball players regularly participate in summer leagues against other college players.  And your school sounds like a shinning example of the MCLA.  Maybe the MCLA should expand their divisions further to separate class acts like your program from less deserving ones.  In my previous post I stated how impressive MCLA self marketing is.  I guess my fear is a casual/new fan sees THE WRONG MCLA game and mistakes it for the highest caliber lacrosse simply based on the name on a jersey.  We’ve made great leaps and bounds across ALL DIVISIONS NCAA and MCLA included to dispel the notion that lacrosse is for kids who can’t cut it in other sports and it only takes a new fan one quarter to be able to pick up on the differences between high and lower caliber lacrosse.  Like Swanklax mentioned above you hate for people to come across the wrong information or the wrong MCLA team and form ideas about lacrosse that are simply wrong

  • just because some choose to attend a recognized research university in their non-hotbed state rather than freeze for 4 yrs at ball and dick liberal arts college in the northeast doesn’t mean you need to be sour about the fact that we do a better job of documenting our story than your NCAA cronies. If you despise LAS so much, stay tuned to jumboslaxtv. What does it REALLY mean when these less committed individuals from the club ranks routinely beat D2/D3 teams? If the outcome is determined on how much each team cares, would the NCAA team really win every time? Maybe these NCAA athletes that you champion should be working harder during their year-round toils. Why not quash this discussion that so irks you forever and have the NCAA teams win each and every time? I won’t hold my breath. And as far as upstart NCAA programs getting no coverage, sucks to suck. If these players worked hard enough and cared enough in the first place, their teams wouldn’t be nearly as awful as many of them are.

  • A lot of MCLA teams are anything but casual; there are some DIII and possibly even some DII/DI teams that would fit the mold of “casual”, especially to the eyes of a player at a strong team in a top tier conference in their division, blah blah blah, the circle goes on an on. There’s both a talent overlap and a COMMITMENT overlap between some of the top/bottom teams/individuals in their respective divisions. and i think that anyone who doesn’t recognize that doesn’t have much knowledge of both levels/is incredibly biased.

    I like lacrosse. I like lacrosse at the highest levels.  I think there is and absolutely should be a hierarchy to coverage.  I think that hierarchy is still pretty favorably balanced in favor of NCAA programs, especially successful ones. I think the kids that are dropping the “My MCLA team can beat your NCAA team” argument are juvenile and a strong minority.  By and large, on the field and off, the MCLA is a much weaker product than the NCAA.  However, see my thoughts in the paragraph above. It’s naive to believe that there is not at least a minority of overlap. 

    I don’t know how you can honestly say that kids ponying up anywhere from several hurdred to several thousands of dollars a year to play, while they run their own programs as full time students both on the field and off, and deal with the headaches of a lack of school support, resources, and funding “aren’t committed”.  Some(/potentially many) of these student athletes train and prepare at exactly the same level of intensity/dedication to extra work/success as their varsity “counterparts [couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it, not stating equality here at all]” at NCAA schools.

  • completely agree. There’s a lot more that goes into commitment/being successful than just showing up to practice… and a decent amount of MCLA teams don’t see that.

    However, a lot of MCLA teams do do all those extra things.

  • Is there any real effort of the NCAA lacrosse organization to expand?  The number of D1 teams seems very slow to change while the number of high schools playing lacrosse is growing rapidly.  Don’t blame the MCLA for the NCAA’s intransigent response.  If D3 teams don’t get coverage, it is because in the NCAA it is the best D1 teams are getting all the coverage.  I really enjoy following the MCLA, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the  ever increasing coverage of the top flight D1 teams by ESPN.

    One more thought.  I could be that MCLA is more fun to play.  Some D1 athletes end up slaves to their scholarships and it becomes a job, and a low paying one at that.

    Hopefully D1 lacrosse won’t become as corrupted as NCAA football is now.
    bhsvideodad

  • I am our team’s president, I was the team VP last year and i did most of the work on our gear purchases for the past 3 years.  Believe me, with some of the general poor business practices prevalent in some of the lacrosse world it’s quite a headache if you really know what you want. I’ve done a lot of logistics and some Publicity work, fundraising, and tons of general athletic/business management.  I helped play a part in/ continue to manage a coaching transition with the gracious help of a large donor/parent.  I’m a team captain (a role that’s changed significantly since the hiring of a Coach who has had much more extensive lacrosse experience than our previous one).  I’m attempting (although it concerns me sometimes) to groom our teams future leaders, both on and off the field.  I’m an actions speak louder than words guy, and i hope they pick up on my attitude and level of seriousness i try to display.  I made a big push as an underclassman to begin to attempt as much recruiting as full time students can initiate.  There’s a lot i feel guilty that i haven’t delivered on just due to my own shortcomings as a leader combined with a heavy academic load in a major that i often struggle with. 

    We practiced 5 days a week for 12 weeks this off season, then 3 or 4 weeks after that at 3 times a week and watched film during that time as a team as well. 2-3 of these practices a week were at 6am in the morning.  I lift.  I condition.  I run agility drills.  I’m on the wall/throwing with teammates regularly.  I watch film on my own.  Were our practices 30-60 minutes less than a normal DIII school’s? probably. We have 22 field players, probably about 13 of which had previous lacrosse experience before coming to college.  We can’t run a practice like we have 35-50 players.

    I think i’m pretty committed.  Dare I say more committed than some players at several of the local DIII teams around me??? Is it okay for me to be proud of my hard work and dedication? I don’t think my team would beat nearly any of those teams around me.  We don’t have the numbers or the depth of talent to do it.  And still, we wouldn’t be playing for the same thing. Scrimmages are scrimmages, nothing more, nothing less, and the score is always irrelevant. 

    I lacked talent, or was a “late bloomer”, as a junior/senior in HS.  I matured a lot/really wrapped my head around the game heading into college and i think i learned pretty well what i needed to improve to be a truly successful lacrosse player.  Now, after some years of hard work, i’d put my individual talent level on part with any of the local DIII kids.  No, western PA DIII is relatively new and the “talent level” is not very strong as the good players leave to go out east to play DIII.  i’ve certainly gotten worked over by some NESCAC/ODAC/CAA/CAC/ECAC kids in summer tournaments, but i held my own with some of them as well.  Is it wrong of me to believe this/be happy with my work?

    I promote my team as much as i can because i know it takes a lot to be a part of it and i want it to be as successful as possible in the future.  Is there something wrong with that? Or should i just shut up and accept that i’m a lowly “club rat” that will never understand what it “truly means” to be “committed and dedicated” to anything?

    If i could hit a reset button 6 or 7 years ago and go back to when I and my family made some choices that probably hurt my athletic career, would i change them? Heck yes. If i could hit a reset button 4 years ago when i was picking schools, should i have tried to go East/to Ohio and attempted to walk on onto a bottom tier DIII school? would i be happier? probably/maybe.  But when i woke up and realized what i think i wanted (and i still say think because i’m not positive that my choices were/are the best for me/my future), i got to say that i’ve done the absolute best/most with what i can. 

    Take it or leave it, i’m very proud of my team and where it’s come, and where it’s going.  If it’s still an athletic transgression to promote it before i talk about the bottom rung of DIII schools, so be it.

  • it is just a matter of time until the top level mcla teams out west turn to d1 ncaa, and lower level mcla to d2 or d3.lot of good athletes, lax players coming from the west and western canada. the demand will be there.

  • really bro? when did you play like 1999 or something, you didnt play on the top ranked team in the country bro. Come on now bro. stop reliving your so-called glory days. 

  • My complaint with club lacrosse is not with you. From what you’ve said there, you have a lot to be proud of and would be right at home on an NCAA team. That work ethic is going to pay dividends in life.

  • Where is the NCLL in this discussion? Does that league deserve more attention? Jac Coyne’s article about the late founder, Scott Frederick, suggests that his league preferred to fly under the radar. I’ve heard many MCLA people dismiss the NCLL as a beer league whose players don’t work as hard as their MCLA peers. Obviously, this paints the league with a broad brush and I happen to know that the top NCLL teams could compete with any of the MCLA teams. Should the NCLL get more coverage than it does currently (I’m aware of none, by the way) simply because the sport is growing and the league provides students with the opportunity to continue playing?

  • Ok I can provide some insight here on the NCLL — I played on the club team the last 2 years at Syracuse and captained the team the 2nd year. ALMOST ALL of the 120ish NCLL teams are entirely student run (no coaches). Known exceptions to me are Towson and Hofstra. ALMOST ALL of the teams exist as JV squads to their school’s NCAA counterpart. In fact, the NCLL is the only option for these non-NCAA student teams, as the MCLA only permits schools without NCAA squads to enter a team.

    Last year our club at Syracuse finished 10-4, and defeated 2 of the elite 8 teams during the regular season (Cortland, and eventual National Runner Up Rutgers club). So by most measures our club was among the best 5 or 10 teams the NCLL has to offer. We held practice 2-3 times a week MAX, usually 2x. We never, EVER had coordinated team lifting, maybe ran sprints 1x every 2 weeks, and we certainly didnt watch film or have access to any facilities other than a field to play on. This experience to me, although really, really fun, had a patently “club” feel to it. 

     This fall I moved on to grad school at Oregon and from making the team and training in fallball, I can personally say that it has been a big step up from my NCLL experience. This has been a step in time commitment, physical effort, competitiveness, and yes also the overall talent/athleticism around me. Obviously I can only speak for how our team at UO is run, but between the 4-5x a week practices in fallball, mandatory lifting with the NCAA strength coach, running tests, 5 coaches, and air of seriousness and competition within the squad, it certainly doesnt feel like club anymore.

    As far as “does the NCLL deserve more coverage,” see below for my post yesterday for my thoughts/opinions on the logic and process of sports journalism. Without saying anything about the quality of play, it seems reasonable to assume the team redundancy issue of the NCLL diminishes the demand for coverage. I think most NCLL fans are there on the sideline supporting their friends/family in person. 

  • How do you define “Grow the Game”?  Is the goal to grow the number of people playing lacrosse at any given level (HS, college, etc.) or is the goal to grow the quality of the game?   We played lacrosse in public Jr. & High Schools on LI in the 70’s and many of the best HS lax players never played lacrosse in college (they never went to college or worked their way through).  They were hard working, hard playing children from blue collar families and although they may have not had the family funds needed to supplement a meager lacrosse scholarship at a D1 type school – they were probably rich compared to the average family demographic of today’s high level college football or basketball player. The point being that the economically poor but athletically rich football or basketball player plays college ball while the lacrosse player does not play (true 30 years ago and still true now) .  If you want to grow the quality of the lacrosse game at the college (and subsequently pro) level you will need to somehow raise the quality of the scholarships (and work to lower the GPA requirements like football and basketball) in order to truly place the most talented athletes on the lax field.  If you want to just grow the number of people playing the game in college then continue to grow the pay to play version of the game. The pay to play version may not be growing the quality of the current lacrosse game today but maybe it is growing the interest in the game which leads to growth in TV coverage which leads to growth in college lacrosse revenue production which ultimately leads to growth in scholarship funding for future lacrosse athletes? So to answer my own question – with another question maybe the goal is to just grow the number of people playing and through that, the eventual quality of the highest level college and pro game?

  • 1. With Football in the equation, Title IX will always limit D1 lax growth.
    2. ~5(!) D1 athletic departments produce revenues and could support the addition of a large budget team.
    3. Financially, the NCAA has no obligation to expand D1 lacrosse. Between ads, tv deals, and a hugely popular championship why would they want to mess with their astronomical margins?
    4. Because scholarships are renewed annually, sparse (12.69 for fully funded programs… many D1 teams are NOT), and not gurenteed beyond the term, many athletes never consider themselves to be ‘a slave to their scholarship’.

  • choosing to stay in state for cheap tuition for your sociology degree when you had no scholarship offers is not choosing an education over an opportunity…

  • Maybe true.  If you’re measuring time in decades.  But in the short term there’s no way, especially for the big public state schools to do it. 

  • Reality check for all on the pecking order, with obviously a few exceptions
    on a year to year basis:  

     

    D1 Top-10 are on a level all alone.

     

    D1 #11-#30 and D3 Top-5 teams can be mixed and matched and would never lose
    to D2 school’s or MCLA schools. 

     

    D1 #40-#50, D3 #6-#20, D1 #1-5 are about even.

     

    D2 #5-#10, D3 #21-#40, and the dregs of D1 are even.  The elite MCLA teams
    (top 2 or 3) might fall into the very bottom of this group.  But unlikely.  Look
    at Colorado College, they are on par every year with Colorado St. but are not
    even a Top-60 D3 team.  This is where the very best MCLA teams fit in.   

     

    D2 falls off a cliff after the Top-10; D3 falls off after the Top-50 and
    again after the Top-100 (where it gets REALLY bad and many of those teams would
    lose to the top-20 MCLA teams every time).  As for MCLA, there is no depth after
    the Top-20 or so.  

  • Never said I did play at haverford, just making sure you have your facts right homie! And on another note you sound like a real douche bag BRO! How many times can you use “bro” in the same post. Must be that public school education shining through.

  • I won’t back down from my comparison, I’m very well aware of the weight it holds.  I wasn’t saying they were equivalent, but the concepts start in similar places: elitism and separatism. 

    The MCLA does not allow teams at NCAA schools with varsity men’s lacrosse teams, so the analogy with the hockey club team is irrelevant.  It speaks well to their maturity, and may speak to the immaturity on display on both sides of this argument, but it’s apples and oranges when applied further.

  • Wow, 135 comments. This is insane.

    My $0.02; I played at a Top 25 DIII school, had a lot of success there and a great time. We had several players get cut every season and they in turn transferred to other lower level NCAA schools and a few to big name MCLA schools. Now, I know these players excelled at the club level as I still kept in contact. One of the biggest reasons they excelled was they received a chance to play and become a better lacrosse player. At that same time can they step on the field now in say a summer tournament like Lake Placid, compete and be recognized. Probably not, because they never reached that level. The MCLA is a different level all together, a lower level at that. The attitude towards athletics is different because the commitment is less, but there is a lacrosse program for everyone so no matter where a player ends up if they are happy at that school/team then good for them.

    The argument needs to cease, Arizona State would beat Southwestern in Texas; however, they would not come close to beating Montclair State or even St. Leo, two mid-level NCAA programs. So that’s that. If you’re happy playing lacrosse where you’re playing then be happy with your decision and don’t try to compare. Brag all you want about your school, your championships, and the points you scored for your school…but, when you step on the field against other players from other divisions and you can’t back it up it should be humbling. There’s a reason most players choose club over NCAA, that’s the lifestyle/culture of the school and the commitment to the team.

  • Isn’t Lacrosse suppose to be a fun sport to play? To me it really does not matter what level you play on or what school you go to, your suppose to have fun. Seems like some people lost that, who cares about all these politics, play the game, play the game with heart and play the game with pride. Thats what lacrosse is about on any level. We all share care about lacrosse in general, do want lacrosse to be on the same stage as the NFL, NBA, NHL and so on? Yes we do, so we should be a whole in the lacrosse community and growing the game on every level.  And stop complaining who’s better the NCAA or MCLA. GTG!! 

  • So Ive read most of the comments in this discussion and a few things stood out.

         In reference to the issue of commitment. I dont think anyone is downplaying the sacrifice NCAA athletes make, but
    it would be ignorant to simply list all the sacrifices without
    addressing the advantages they have over an MCLA team. NCAA teams overall commit much more time than MCLA teams, that is not up for debate. But what hasnt been monetioned much is that they have the means to commit this time. Even at small schools, teams that are considered varsity rarely have to deal with the problems of even the most established MCLA teams. My particular MCLA team, which is not a top 5 DI we are a top 20 DII school, has regular 5am practices in the weight room or gymnasium during January leading up to the season. However, as rain is usually a problem and the school did not have a turf field until recently, we were often kicked out, even having gone through the proper channels in reserving the venue, by varsity teams that needed an indoor venue, including soccer and Women’s Volleyball who were not even in season. This would happen without warning leaving 35 willing and committed athletes out in the rain at 5am. The desire to put in the work or the commitment is there but the means are not. Also, an NCAA student-athlete has to be just that, a student and an
    athlete, the athletic department and coaching staff takes it from there.
    But in many cases, in most cases, there is no administrative staff for
    an MCLA team short of the club officers and captains, and one or two
    coaches. Sometimes the club sports dept will help but for the most part
    the team budget, scheduling, equipment and apparel orders, eligibility
    issues, travel etc. are handled by a group of 18-23 year-olds trying to balance a full academic course load with a full practice schedule.
        There has also been mention of the finances. Even if the NCAA player doesnt recieve a dime of athletic scholarship help, the financial burden is still several thousand dollars more for the MCLA player. Most MCLA teams that are committed, and there are many more than you would think, pay anywhere from $1000-$3000 to play in addition to the expensive equipment needed. I dont think theres any room for discussion, MCLA athletes commit more financially.
         Academics is a very tricky issue in this debate. In many ways MCLA and NCAA athletes are held to the same academic standards. The MCLA uses slightly modified NCAA DIII eligibility requirements. While we’ve established that the time commitment that would impede upon a students academic progress is greater in the NCAA, I would argue that they are given tools to balance the workload that do not exist in the MCLA. As club athletes, MCLA students are not given priority enrollment. This may seem like a small advantage but it can mean the difference between playing or not, or even fielding a team or not. Without this, it can be difficult to schedule around practices, especially in majors that require labs or a significant extra committment. In some cases, where budget cuts limit the number of classes offered, teams must deal with rampant ineligibility because students could not even pick up enough units. Do you think an NCAA team’s season would ever be threatened because of lack of available classes?
         Finally, with regards to exposure, I think it is naive to think that the MCLA takes time or fans away from NCAA teams. The bottom line is that, while there are 83 more schools in the 3 divisions of the NCAA than in the 2 divisions of the MCLA, the overall student population and the national name recognition belong to the MCLA. That translates into the highest number of NEW lacrosse fans. I have been around the MCLA for most of my life through my family and now Im playing in it. I am an MCLA fan so I want to read about MCLA lacrosse. Nothing against these teams but I am typically not interested, even if the lacrosse is better, in the outcome of the Mercyhurst vs Merrimack game just as they dont care about the Saint Mary’s – UC Santa Cruz game. Many people like myself read LAS and previously CollegeLax because thats where we can get information on the teams and the games we want to follow. If LAS stopped following the MCLA and stepped up their coverage of DII and DIII I wouldnt suddenly become a Tufts fan I would just stop visiting LAS (no offense).
         Overall there just arent enough NCAA teams to support the explosion of youth and high school players that love the game and want to continue to play. I think the Michigan model of transition is great but unrealistic for most schools. The way I see growth happening, especially in the west is not on the institutional level but on the conference level. For example, I can see a conference like the WCC adding somewhere down the line. All member schools with the exception of USF have a history of stable competative club lacrosse teams. With the exception of BYU and to a lesser extent USD, big time football wont pose a title IX problem, and the small school model matches some of the east coast demographics. I just dont think one team from any conference wants to be the first and/or only west coast team. Regardless of who moves up or when they do, growth at any and every level can do more to help the game than to hurt it.

  • I went to a DI school in Southern California to run on a Cross Country scholarship. I also played on a MCLA team at that school that, after winning the DII championship my freshman year, made the jump to DI. I now live in an area where a bunch of former NCAA DII athletes live and play post-collegite lacrosse. I know what it’s like to be a DI athlete and I know what it’s like to be a MCLA athlete. When my team won the DII championship, we were not very organized. We had roughly 25 guys on our roster and maybe 15-18 would regular show up for practice. After we made the jump to DI, we struggled for a year or two before we hired a coach who help put us on the right path. The team we had my senior year was exponentially better than the team we had my freshman year. Obviously most MCLA teams can’t compete with the top DI and DIII teams. I would say that the top MCLA teams can compete with the lower end DI schools, mid range DIII schools and DII schools. While my MCLA lacrosse experience didn’t demand as much time as my NCAA DI CC experience did, we were forced to get the most out of our limited practice time. Most guys put time in outside of practice to condition, shoot, and hit the wall. 

    Playing post collegiate lacrosse where I do now, I get to go up against all conference guys from DII and DIII teams. The talent gap isn’t what people would think it would be. I’ve been able to hold my own against these guys even though I didn’t play at their level. I think there are a lot of great and committed athletes at MCLA school but the fact of the matter is that the coaching isn’t there for a lot of MCLA teams. 

    I think that as the high school game continues to explode and NCAA lacrosse doesn’t grow, more and more high school athletes will turn to the MCLA. As a high school senior, would you rather play MCLA lacrosse at a school like Oregon or University of San Diego or would you rather play NCAA DIII lacrosse somewhere like Cortland State or Dickinson (NCAA DIII quarterfinalists in 2011)?

    The MCLA gets a lot of coverage online because a lot of MCLA athletes are use to running their programs and know that the only way the MCLA will get coverage is if they cover it themselves.

  • I really hate this argument. I think everyone should stop bitching because, we’re a bunch of grown men who play lacrosse at a particular level (or root for it) for whatever our reasons are. You can’t paint club ball with 1 brush, you can’t paint NCAA with 1 brush. Swank, if you want to let one organization define your lacrosse experience over another, that is your prerogative and I can do nothing to change that. I, however, will not allow 4 letters decide for me what I think is good or bad lacrosse, I will let my eyes and my mind do that for me. I used to be like you, you know. I was an NCAA football and lacrosse player. I know EXACTLY what it is like to have coaches pick your schedule for you, have curfews, weight room, game film, when I arrived on campus our coach gave every player a packet of where and when they would be every day from the second we arrived on campus until the moment we left for that season. I thought club was club, NCAA was the pinnacle of my lacrosse experience. I have played with elite players in both sports who play professionally, in high school I played against Fairfield County and New Haven counties best, many of those players playing NCAA Div 1 and some going pro. Last summer I hopped in goal for shits and giggles and had Ryan Nizolek roast a good 100mph shot at me. 

    I thought that way, until I myself got involved with MCLA lacrosse. I didn’t even know there was a difference between NCLL, MCLA, NECLL, etc club teams. The only difference, as far as I can tell, between the NCAA, and the club organizations, are the rules governing them, and the support systems in place. The commitment by players, staffs, and schools vary widely at all levels of all institutions. You say NCAA IS BETTER THAN CLUB HAHAHA, I can point to Michigan the last 3 years and let them go play Rivier. You can say MCLA IS REAL, NCLL IS BAD BEER LEAGUE, I am sure Salisbury’s club team could man handle half the teams in the MCLA Div II, and half the teams in NCAA Div III. There is no qualifier that says my experience is different playing NCAA, MCLA, NCLL, or some independent club team. 

    The guy who said Montclair State would destroy ASU or CSU earlier, thats a joke. My uncle played for Montclair, his name alone got me noticed by them, Kean, and a few others in Jersey. I have watched ASU and Colorado the last couple of years, and ASU wins that hands down. Dylan Westoff is a talented player regardless of the 4 letter tag you stick to his name and MSU would have difficulties with him no matter who he is playing for.

    You’re saying that MCLA teams arent as committed as NCAA teams, you go tell that to the United States Coast Guard Academy. Those guys are dedicated, talented, and draw players from all over the US with lots of talent (From MD and CT and LI as much as anywhere else) They’re not playing club, they’re dedicated military men who, on top of doing all the things NCAA athletes do, are preparing to defend our country. Compare them to Mitchell, in the same town, who have been on the bottom of DIII for years. Briarcliffe right now, which is drawing a ton of Long Island talent, is better right now, than they were as NCAA D II squad. I know, I have seen them play at both levels. When they were NCAA D II, they had 12 guys, all incredibly talented players, and lost to DIII teams because they couldn’t run with you. That Briarcliffe team in spring 2008 would absolutely NOT be competing for an MCLA championship, thats for sure. Pagano has taken that team from a joke in the NCAA to a national contender in the MCLA because his school, his staff, and his team work to be there, not because theres a brand label saying the NCAA is this and the MCLA is that.

    Where am I going with this? Well, I’ll tell you. The team and its players, staff, and school officials dictate what level that team competes at. Not the governing body they play for. There are varsity teams in the MCLA. There are talented NCAA D 1 athletes in the NCLL. There are kids who have no business playing college lacrosse in all of those leagues who pick up the sport to drink with their friends and can manage because they are great athletes (yes, there are, whether you like it or not, those guys in NCAA from D1 to D3.) 

    With so few teams of “varsity” status out west, the MCLA is their varsity. I don’t even consider the MCLA a club league in the same way despite the bottom 100 teams in the NCAA (all divisions together) being at or around the same level, we don’t call them club. Rather than complain about who is better than whom, or what banner is better or who isn’t getting more exposure, revel in what we are witnessing in lacrosse. We get to see this game boom the way the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL exploded centuries ago. We are a part of this experience no matter what level we are participating in, and when I look back at my experience I am not going to care about which league I played for, I am going to care about the other great stuff that came along with it.

  • Swank lax, I’ve read multiple statements from you over the
    last few days, and while I am intrigued by your apparent lack of respect for
    kids who otherwise didn’t have an opportunity to play lacrosse at a Division
    1,2 or 3 school, I can’t see how you can criticize their work ethic. After
    doing some research I see that you attended a school in the CAC, most likely
    Stevenson from the looks of it. Good for you. That is a sincere privilege and I
    would have been elated to have been given a chance to play there. What you aren’t
    taking into consideration, is that there is talent on the west coast that
    rivals any on the east. A good friend of mine, recently name a 1st
    all American D1 midfielder from Saint Ignatius, CA can attest to that. What my
    friend had was connections and exposure. And if it weren’t for that, he might
    have ended up going to my Alma Mater – Sonoma State University. And if there is
    one thing I can say about our practices, weight room sessions, game days, film
    reviews etc., it’s that they weren’t easy. Everyone on our team in the 4 years
    I was there worked their ass off. Period. I’ve talked to several players from
    Cornell, Princeton, and Duke and the time put into the lacrosse equation is
    startlingly similar. Conditioning before and after practice, mandated wall ball
    and weightlifting, 3 hour practices, captain’s practices… it’s all there. So
    before you start preaching from your high horse ranting about how inferior club
    lacrosse is, take a second to realize how hard some people are working out
    there and respect it. 

  • As far as the WCLL goes, that is the norm. Can’t really speak on behalf of other leagues but I know Cal Poly, Cal, Stanford, Davis etc are putting in the work. There’s a reason we refer to our programs as ‘virtual varsity’ and that the MCLA’s rules typically mirror the NCAA’s. 

  • #125-150 in D3 will lose #1-10 MCLA?????  We have club teams in the northeast (not even MCLA members) who consistently beat D3 teams and some D2 teams.  Granted not top D3 teams but certainly ranked #30-60.  I know a couple of kids who were starters on top 25 D3 teams, transferred,  and are not stars but solid contributors on their new club teams.  There are many good D3 teams in the northeast who will NOT even scrimmage club teams because they have been soundly beaten in the past.  Not sure where you are from, but #1-10 D3 would consistently beat #15-50 D1 teams–starters playing on both teams!!  Not a whole lot of scholarship money out there in lacrosse, so many D1 players get little if any money to go to the school — just like the D3 players.

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