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MLL Announces 2012 Expansion, 2011 Collegiate Draft Tonight

MLL Announces 2012 Expansion

Major League Lacrosse will expand in 2012 with new teams in Columbus, Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina.  Teams will play 14 game schedules instead of the current 12, and I’m sure we’ll have more on this as it develops.  Big news though!  Back to 8 teams.  Much better.  These locations are… totally workable!

MLL Coaching News

Brian Reese is now the Outlaws GM only, and they’ve promoted an assistant to the head coaching position.  I guess that’s a story.  Denver will still be good in 2011 – they have talent.  Coaches change, but the players are the ones that matter.  Reese as a GM is a good move because he clearly cares about the team and is a lax guy.  Good move!  Next!

Why The 2011 MLL Collegiate Actually Makes Sense

The MLL draft is tonight.  Some people don’t like it.  They worry about breakout Seniors not getting noticed and blah, blah, blah.  Honestly, who cares when the draft is?  Until all the teams aren’t basically owned and controlled by the league (and when trades aren’t done because the league wants them done), the draft is 100% irrelevant.

Personally, I don’t think there should be a draft at all.  All players upon graduation become free agents and the teams have to attract them by offering a good place to play.  Keeps the teams motivated, removes the “I’ll only play for Team X otherwise I’m out” guys and will allow the league to see which ownership groups are viable and which aren’t.  When the first draft pick means something (like a signing bonus) you can start having a draft again.  Drafts are for leagues where teams are more independent.  Not centrally run behind the scenes.  This isn’t meant to be mean spirited, just honest!  And it won’t affect the play on the field one bit!

David Gross, the Commissioner of the MLL, made some points about why this was a good move and most of them were pretty obvious.  The one I liked the MOST was this: If a kid is drafted to City X before he graduates, maybe he will get a job in that City. Some other, less visionary, writers thought this was stupid.  Let me tell you why its not:  Chicago folded for ONE reason and that is because they had NO FANS.  NONE.  They had no connection to the local community and therefore literally only 16 people in Chicago cared about the team.

By allowing players to move to the Cities where they will be playing, it helps create a community and that is very important for any fledgling pro team. Will it take time for the players to make this new place their home? Yes. But the MLL is showing great vision here. They know they can’t pay these kids enough for them to move to a particular City, so instead they try to just get the kid to the City first and then pay him a lot less.  Very smart move for a cash-strapped pro league.  Good for the game, good for the teams, good for the cities and good for the players. Great move by the MLL!