Editor’s Note: Who will be the next D1 men’s lacrosse team? It’s a question the entire lacrosse community has asked time and time again. When a new team is added, it tends to fuel the conversation. Brian Conlon, of LaxKingsTV, is back on LAS with his argument on why one of FOUR teams will be the next to go D1!
It is no secret that Lacrosse is growing exponentially across not only America, but the world. What has followed with this growth, is the addition of a plethora of teams at every level. Although Division 1 lacrosse has grown (team wise) in the past 20 years, they have added less teams than one would expect for such growth. However, this is understandable as Lacrosse is not what most colleges would call a “Revenue Sport”, or a sport that brings in money, eg, football and basketball. And this makes some Colleges hesitant to add it.
Numbers do not lie though. More and more players are picking up sticks everyday. Every month, a new High School team pops up somewhere out West. These youth participation levels help add a backing to Universities to add the sport, not just D1 wise, but D2, D3, and even the MCLA. The growth may be slower at the D1 level, but it’s coming, and here are four teams that I think will add Division 1 lacrosse within the next 6 years.
1. Boston College
There are a couple big factors for Boston College that make them so likely to add a Men’s Lacrosse program (Again. They had a team until the early 2000s):
- They have already had a D1 Lacrosse Program in the Past
- BC’s club team has seen huge success. In 2013 they lost to Sonoma State in the first round for the MCLA Championship, their only loss all season, going 13-1. That means there is a base of talent!
- BC has a Varsity Women’s Program
- They have the facilities to support men’s lacrosse
- Boston University, their rival, is adding Lacrosse in 2014
If we see anyone add lacrosse in the next six years, I can almost guarantee the Eagles adding it. I would think that at earliest, BC will field a team by 2015, if not, then definitely by the 2016 season. Everything is set for them, they just have to give the ol’ thumbs up, in my opinion.
The Huskies are another New England team that surprisingly doesn’t have lacrosse yet. Boston College and UConn share some qualities that give inspiration for an addition of Men’s Lacrosse:
- UConn’s club team dates back to 1986, and that’s almost 30 years of alumni to work with, and get involved.
- UConn has a Varsity Women’s Program
- They have the facilities to support men’s lacrosse
- UConn has one of the best in-state hotbeds to recruit from, Fairfield County in lower CT. Instate tuition for Uconn is only about $16,000, this could be a recruiting tool they could use. (Some people in Fairfield County may not have to worry about that kind of stuff, but some do. That’s homegrown talent potential right there.
- UConn has some great reasons to add lacrosse to their varsity program list. I see Uconn adding men’s varsity lacrosse in 2017, but by latest 2018. Maybe if their basketball team wins another championship, they can get some starter cash? I don’t know if it works that way, but I’m hoping it does.
3. Virginia Tech
- Virginia Tech’s club lacrosse team is a tradition that runs deep. It is one of the oldest club teams around, started in 1948. They have several reasons to add a Varsity team.
- Club lacrosse has been around at VT since 1948, that’s 65 years of alumni to network with and get on board.
- Virginia Tech enrolls 31,000 thousand students annually, and they pack the house for football games. I’d expect to see a good amount of fans at Lacrosse Games, potentially bringing in money for the school.
- Virginia Tech plays one of the longest schedules in the MCLA, they start in February and end in late April. Very simulating to a real schedule.
- Virginia Tech is successful at the club level
Another contributing factor is that they could play in the ACC, which is their school wide conference. They have a lot of rivals in the lacrosse world, so hopefully they’ll want to compete with them on another file. Earliest we could see Virginia Tech getting a team is 2016, which I think they might do. 2017/2018 at the latest. What can I say, I’m an optimist!
4. Florida State
Florida State shares qualities with every other team on this list, while also having some differences. Although a “new” club program (founded 1999), FSU has a good opportunity (and a couple great reasons) to add a Varsity Lacrosse program.
- FSU’s club team has been successful. It’s one of the best in Florida, as well as all of the South
- The only D1 lacrosse school in Florida is Jacksonville University. FSU can use this to gain a grip on Florida Lacrosse fans, and bragging rights against University of Florida for the future.
- FSU can be a leader in big schools adding lacrosse to their sport list. FSU can set an example and history as being of the first Big Sport school to add lacrosse. Imagine what the Media would be like?
- Florida State has good reason to add a lacrosse program, but the earliest I see it being done is 2018. More likely would be 2019.
South Carolina – If I could add a 5th team, this would be it. The GameCocks should be adding a varsity program within the next 7-10 years. I can feel it!
Florida – If Florida were more successful at the club level, they might have replaced FSU. If Florida sees mores success, we could see a team fielded as soon as 2020. Their women’s team’s success doesn’t hurt.
Clemson – I expect Clemson to add a lacrosse program within the next 10-15 years. If South Carolina goes, Clemson might go a year or two later. It’s very much a domino effect with some of these regions.
The West – Plenty of western teams could’ve been on this list, but the only way I see big schools adding Lacrosse out west is if 4-5 schools go in on the same year, and form a conference with Denver to ease the traveling costs. That, or a school gets a large budget increase. *Cough* Oregon PLEASE *Cough*
So that’s it from me. Who do YOU think the next NCAA D1 College or University to add men’s lacrosse will be?