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Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase - Utah vs. Grand Canyon 2 D1 lacrosse in utah
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D1 Lacrosse in Utah and the West

D1 lacrosse in Utah and the rest of the West has become a hot topic this week (yet again), and it has me thinking about what could be next.

Let’s face it: lacrosse is advancing across the US. It is happening slowly but surely, and we are, in fact, advancing. If you find this article especially relevant right now, you’ve probably already seen roughly 6.4 million tweeters dropping the ‘scoop’ that Utah will be transitioning into the realm of Division 1 lacrosse in the NCAA. Who cares that Utah has publicly said that they are NOT adding D1 men’s lacrosse? The thought is out there, so let’s talk about it!

This is great even if it turns out to be false, simply because it makes people think. What’s even better is that if it does actually happen, there is a time line alleged in these 6.4 million tweets that would have the Utes joining the big boy leagues as early as 2019. So it’s either NOT happening, OR happening by 2019. I’m excited either way and have no sources to point me in either direction.

Clearly saying a brand new D1 team could be on the field next season would be: A) aggressive, B) a hard act to follow, and C) clearly BS. But by giving a couple years heads up, this opens the doors for anyone and everyone to follow suit. Could we be looking at 2020 as THE breakout year in which all the big name schools decide to make the jump… dare I say… together?

Listen, I know Utah going D1 isn’t even settled science yet (will it even happen?)… and I’m already moving on to other tangents… but it’s worth it. Trust me.

Being the new guy in D1 lacrosse is never easy. Ask any of the new programs out there. Being the only new guy is even tougher. So I’m really hoping that some of these other schools can see the door that is being held open for them by the Utes (assuming they do go D1) and they can graciously say thank you as they step on up into the big leagues.

I’m looking directly at you: Oregon, Stanford, Colorado, UCLA, and USC.

You’ve got the money. You have successful club programs. Sure, you’ll need to add another women’s sport as well to comply with ye ole Title IX, but let’s not say that like it’s a bad thing. It’s quite the opposite. If anything, there is just as much if not more reason to add a men’s team BECAUSE you’re adding a women’s team to your school’s roster of sports. Many of these schools already have D1 women’s teams, so they know lacrosse can work out West on some level.

Oregon and Stanford are my two best bets, followed closely by the University of Colorado. While I don’t have numbers, sources, or a healthy attitude towards journalism, I do have wild speculation and a god given right to an opinion.

Why should Oregon join? I bet you said Nike. It’s not a bad answer, but it’s not what I would say is a
good enough answer. What other benefit does Oregon enjoy that could realistically bolster it’s reasoning to join the ranks of the NCAA elite? Two words: British Columbia.

Borderline obnoxious uniforms and a close proximity to some of Canada’s best lacrosse players? Now THAT sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

Recruiting players out of the BC Junior A league would be much simpler for a Pacific North Western school than a school based four time zones away. That’s just simple logistics. If I’m offered the same full ride at school A as I am school B, but school A has a reputation for the flashiest gear in all of sports and is only a short flight from home, I don’t really know what school B can offer me (legally) that would be that alluring besides an established big name, and those traditional big names haven’t really done much in the way of hardware for schools. The chance to shock the world at a new program? Sign me up, eh?

Stanford is up next. There are some stories floating around that Stanford is already on its way, but I don’t have any way to confirm that, nor the desire to. I’m not here to leak stuff. I’m just here to make bizarre comments that make you think. Stanford is in California. There is a lot of talent in California. At the moment, there are no Division 1 teams in California. A lot of the California talent is at top level high schools. Stanford is a top level university. This one really sounds pretty easy to me. You are growing some of the best… lacrosse players… in the country, and you have to export them to where there are teams for them to play on, instead of being the ONLY division 1 school in Cali. Even if that title of “Only D1 in Cali” only lasts a year or two, it will be long enough to establish Stanford as the dominant school early on, give them a step up, and make them the pioneer in the region that wants its kids to stay local.

The University of Colorado is third, but that’s just because I don’t have an easy answer for this one. Oh wait, yes I do. It’s in Colorado. While Utah is going to have to fight off the stigma of being in the state of Utah, Colorado has a much better PR department, and as a state has established itself as my generation’s California. Kids want to go there!

Full disclosure, Utah is the sweetest state in the union, and I can say that having lived in both Colorado and Utah. If your arguments include the words “Mormon” or “marijuana”, then you’re an idiot. There is so much more to both states!

Colorado can follow in Denver and Air Force’s success. Colorado, Utah, Texas, California, and Nevada are loaded with talented recruits, and they honestly have the romantic attraction of being in Colorado. There’s amazing skiing. It’s sunny even in the winter. People are more active. There are less people. It would be an easy sell not only to the top recruits out west, but for the top recruits out East as well. Recruits have for a long time been coming West to East, but I think the reverse is going to start being a big time deal. We’re going national, baby.

Ryan Conwell tweeted about playing D1 risk. I think if you’re playing for the win, you’ve gotta win the West, and then pincer the middle. They’ll fall like dominos and from sea to shining sea we’ll be able to watch top tier lacrosse in our own time zone. Che bellissimo.

However, if this hypothetical awakening of the PAC12 giant is even remotely feasible, it wouldn’t be that much more of a stretch to think that the SEC is watching. Once somebody in the SEC decides they want to play, get out your red dice and I’ll see you in Kamchatka. Game, blouses.