Lost in the rabble surrounding the proposed Rule Changes by the Men’s Lacrosse Rules Committee is the fact that the NCAA, and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, have paved the way for the first Canadian school to be included in the NCAA. For many sports, this is simply a small, pelican sized blip on the radar, but for lacrosse, it really does mark a possible changing of the guard.
Right now, Simon Fraser plays in the MCLA, and they are the only Canadian MCLA team in existence. There are other Canadian collegiate field teams and clubs, some of whom play in the CUFLA, but Simon Fraser is probably the best run, and most talented, program North of the Border, and they are the only one that plays primarily US college teams.
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When it comes to their NCAA status, it looks like Simon Fraser will be playing in Division 2, and when it comes to a timetable, it seems like the move could happen as early as September 1st. It’s been in the works for almost three years, but it seems to be a done deal now.
So the question quickly becomes, at least for those of us in the lacrosse world, will Simon Fraser offer varsity men’s lacrosse as part of its athletic offering in the NCAA? And how could this change things moving forward?
So far, I can find no mention of SFU adding men’s (or women’s) lacrosse to its slate of athletic offerings, but if there is a bright spot there, it is that NEITHER men’s or women’s is offered. If one is added, the other could be as well. That bodes well for the future of DII, and the growth of the game. And now that SFU is indeed an NCAA member, perhaps they will feel compelled to field varsity lacrosse teams, fully funded by the school, simply because lacrosse is the national sport of Canada, and they are the ONLY Canadian school in the NCAA.
Of course that might not happen, because SFU does NOT offer hockey either, and that is also the national sport of Canada. Now that I’m looking at that again, it seems crazy. I guess the minor system takes precedence? Hopefully some of our Canadian readers can help me out here…
Now moving forward, I would tend to believe that someday SFU will indeed add a team. And when they do, watch out NCAA, because things could change really quickly, at least in DII. Yes, Canadians will still want to play NCAA lacrosse, and schools like Duke and Hopkins and Stony Brook will still be attractive. No, Simon Fraser won’t get every talented kid. But they will get some, and if they can play on the Canadian pride element efficiently, they could get a lot of kids. Their colors and red and white and they have a maple leaf on their helmet… Kids across Canada are sold already!
All kidding and preposterous overstatements aside, I do think Simon Fraser could make some waves in the NCAA, especially in Division II lacrosse. Keeping kids in Canada is definitely doable, and I could see talented Americans going North to play and learn as well.
Simon Fraser is a great school academically, and in Division II this gives them an advantage. I’m not saying the other DII schools aren’t good, but they typically aren’t NESCAC or IVY or Hopkinsesque. Simon Fraser is actually up there with those schools, and in DII, this could be a great recruiting pull.
Keep an eye on Simon Fraser, because if they actually add a men’s lacrosse team, the NCAA and especially D2 lax, could be in for a rude North of the Border awakening! If an even larger school were to go this route, and play D1 lacrosse, we could see a MAJOR swing in things. And wouldn’t that be interesting!
Finally, the article on NCAA.org makes mention that a Mexican University is also interested in competing in the NCAA. If that happens, Mexico Lacrosse could see a huge boost in talent and participation, just like Japan did when their college leagues took off.
All in all, I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but for lacrosse, I know that at the very least, it’s interesting.