Nice find, hopefully the university can stave off cuts until the revenue cycle swings back to a better position.
Lax: Undefeated Road Swing
No MCLA program in the country had as a difficult start to their 2010 season as the Michigan Wolverines. With true road games against the #22, #5, and #6 teams in the country, there were never going to be any claims of Michigan padding the schedule with soft opponents. Despite playing without a number of starters in one of the contests (more on that later), the Wolverines emerged unscathed, and are ready to take on yet another top opponent this weekend.
In each game (against Arizona, Arizona State, and BYU), Michigan got off to a slow start, but managed to come back for the win. This isn't exactly a sign that they will be as dominant in the 2010 season as they were in 2009, but if they can work out the early-season jitters, an undefeated run isn't out of the question, especially with the toughest stretch of the schedule out of the way. Part of those mental mistakes - namely numerous offsides violations - can be attributed to the offseason loss of Goalie Coach Brad Gigliotti, who had been running the substitution box for the Wolverines the past several seasons.
The Wolverines welcome Simon Fraser University into the friendly confines of Oosterbaan Fieldhouse on Friday at 7:00 PM for the home opener. The Clan was ranked #3 in the nation last week, but dropped non-competitive games to Colorado State and Colorado (17-7) - both upcoming Wolverine opponents. Against the Rams, Fraser led 5-4 at the half, before allowing five consecutive goals in the third quarter on their way to a 12-6 loss. Since 3rd-quarter runs have been a strength for Michigan through three games, that bodes well.
On Saturday, the Wolverines "travel" to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan in a cross-county CCLA Conference Matchup. The Eagles went 3-4 against MCLA Division 1 opposition last year (6-5 overall), including a 33-8 pounding at the hands of their conference brethren very slightly to the west. This season, they have started with a 1-3 record, defeating only CCLA D-2 squad Calvin College.
Michigan held just a 5-3 advantage at halftime, but exploded in the second half for a 15-5 victory in Tucson. Junior Goalie Andrew Fowler got the start in net, and went the distance for the Wolverines. Reigning CCLA scoring champ Trevor Yealy put in 6 goals, and faceoff specialist David Reinhard won 62.5% of his 24 draws. Every healthy field player saw action for the Wolverines in the blowout.
The Wolverines took a 1-goal advantage after a period in Tempe, and matched the Sun Devils goal-for-goal for the remaining three quarters to come away with the 11-10 victory over ASU. The goalies each played a half, with Andrew Fowler getting the start, and Mark Stone making a last-second save in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Trevor Yealy had a relatively quiet game for the maize-and-blue, scoring only two goals (tied with David Rogers and Freshman Thomas Paras for most on the team). Reinhard was again exceptional, winning 84% (!!!) of his 25 faceoff attempts.
Against rival BYU, the Wolverines were shorthanded, with six players suspended for violating team rules. Captain Svet Tintchev, along with fellow seniors Kevin Zorovich, Clark Mcintyre, and Josh Ein joined juniors Steve Levitt and Matt Asperheim on the bench. All except Levitt are starters, and their absence was a huge blow to the Michigan effort, also forcing midfielder Jamie Goldeberg to play out of position at attack. Now that the scene is set, take a look at the freakin' awesome setting for BYU's field:
Trevor Yealy was back to form, leading MIchigan with four goals, tied again with Paras for most on the team. As just a freshman, it's clear Paras has a great future ahead of him for this team. Mark Stone went the distance in net for Michigan, and Reinhard again dominated faceoffs, winning 70.1% of his 24 opportunities. Michigan again had some mental mistakes, committing 33 turnovers along with 2 offsides penalties. However, it's the final score that counts, and Michigan's 13-9 victory kept them undefeated on the season.
I saw that article too. Stevenson is a dinosaur. He's older than me, and I'm pretty old (note the name). He'll be gone within the year.
Hopefully Brandon has some vision and fortitude to make some changes. Michigan has a lot of varsity sports. Some of them make sense to have now. Some are obvious Title IX adds (cough, cough, women's rowing, cough, women's water polo, cough). Some belonged 30 years ago but don't any more. How many men's gymnastics teams even exist any more? Are there 30? (I just looked it up. There are 14 NCAA division one teams. Ouch.)
I have become a relatively new lacrosse fan over the past two-three years as my nephews have gotten involved. I follow the Michigan team and tell everyone I know that doesn't follow them yet what they are missing. Despite the pretty high level of play amongst the top MCLA teams, they are quickly exhausting any reason to continue playing club lacrosse. What's the point if there's no competition?
I know the economy is bad, but Martin has done a wonderful job creating a huge surplus for the past several years, with more of the same predicted for the immediate future. Even if they didn't adjust the sports they currently have, couldn't they add lacrosse and the necessary Title IX matching teams within the current budget? I doubt it would take $10 million a year to do that.
While the fanbase for that sport is obviously not so hot, I would like to point out that our Men's Gymnastics team is quite good.
Maybe I'm not business enough to make that kind of a decision, but I could never swallow cutting a sport we didn't at least suck at.
I wish we had a couple more girl's sports that could justify varsity status at this point for the Title IX problem. Not only is the lacrosse team well deserving of varsity status, but the men's rowing team also runs over the vast majority of its opponents, many of whom are varsity. I have little doubt that with varsity status, our rowing crew could easily compete for the national title year in and year out.
I'm not saying we have to be like Ohio State and make EVERYTHING varsity, but if we have the budget for it, I think its a shame that teams especially as good as the lacrosse team can't be on scholarship. For the love of sports, they've been undefeated national champions the last two years and despite having a load of players suspended, they just whipped on 2 other top programs (including a major rival) and managed to edge another. That's textbook dominance.
There are already plans to build a D-1 caliber lacrosse facility (like, it would be the best lacrosse-specific facility in the country) on Elbel field.
Not trying to be contrarian here, but that sounds a little more definite than "Michigan still wants to." I would imagine the article is phrased as so because the Athletic Department wouldn't technically have that level of involvement in a club sport at this time.
Enough with the LAX injuries, is the cactus okay?
I don't have a problem with those sports at all. Just saying they were Title IX ads. Women's crew has been added all over the country as an easy Title IX fix because of the size of the typical crew roster. At least Michigan hasn't gone the route of some schools and made women's cheerleading varsity.
I also would hate to see a sport cut, and there is no doubt that men's gymnastics is successful. But how successful? There are only 14 D1 teams in the nation! Being top 10 every year loses a bit of its luster given that fact. The sport is in its death throes at the college level (for men, not women). At some point you have to take a hard look at why you are keeping it, which I'm sure Brandon will do. If he finds a way to keep it going, while also adding sports that are currently a better fit at Michigan and trending upward (http://www.uslacrosse.org/TopNav/NewsandMedia/PressReleases/LacrossePart...), more power to him.
I agree that men's rowing should be recognized more for their success. From what I read, they have an incredible program that is in many ways like the lacrosse program. What rowing lacks compared to lacrosse is the national growth at the high school and youth levels, a mainstream sport fanbase, and perhaps most importantly, NCAA sponsorship. Women's rowing is an NCAA sport. Men's rowing is not. That may be a tough sell. If rowing had a chance, I would have thought it would be under Martin because of his Olympic background. As a fan, I've come to appreciate lacrosse simply because it's a great sport to watch. I can't say I've ever been to a rowing event. I'll give it a try. My expectations for a thrilling spectator experience are not all that high.
Michigan has traditionally been committed to fully funding scholarships for every varsity sport offered by the athletic department. If they add more sports, they'll have to do so in a manner that distributes additional scholarships - and maybe overall roster spots, I'm not sure - evenly between men's and women's sports to satisfy Title IX obigations. The NCAA-sanctioned sports that Michigan does not currently offer are as follows:
Fencing (4.5 scholarships maximum)
Water Polo (4.5)
Archery (5 scholarships maximum)
Ice Hockey (18)
Synchronized Swimming (5)
The NCAA apparently doesn't sanction men's rowing? I have no idea, but if that's the case, there's no serious advantage to having them as a varsity team as opposed to club, and they probably aren't at the top of the priority list for Michigan.
That's just speculation on my part, of course.
What about the attendance and revenue from just making lacrosse a varsity sport. The Michigan lacrosse website says that Oosterbaan holds 800 currently, the new Al Glick field house holds 2,000 (but no hard ball sports allowed yet), and the proposed outdoor facility would seat 3,000. I know that i have seen at least 500+ in there for some games (for those that have been to a game know how cramped it is with a game going on and know why 800 would be hard to believe) and i would imagine that jumping to varsity standing would only increase attendance greatly and thus improve the lacrosse revenue and athletics revenue in general.
Looking at schools such as North Carolina, Duke and that school in Ohio, they only charge $5 per ticket; i believe that this is what Michigan charges as well. Back to my point if Michigan was to expand to varsity and it boosts attendance to 1000 then that would change ticket sales from $2500 to $5000. Then to span this over seven games a season that is $35000 in revenue. This made me question that maybe the potential reason from setting a timetable to jumping to varsity is the facilities.
As i said before Al Glick is a no hard ball facility. This made me think that maybe the University is waiting until the outdoor and indoor lacrosse facilities can be funded and thus avoid having to pay for the renovation of a brand new facility, that should have been made a hard ball facility in the planning. This could make sense because then baseball, softball, and women's lacrosse would all way a facility to use in the winter as well.
I don't think making Glick a no-hard ball facility was some sort of oversight. They wanted a facility for football that wouldn't have to be shared (a la Oosterbaan).
Re: revenues, I don't think lacrosse would generate much money for the AD. Even hockey, one of the more popular sports at the university, is barely over breaking even. It would take quite some time for lacrosse to become popular enough to hit that watermark, much less run in the black.
I guess the only thing about Glick that i don't understand then if why would the lacrosse website imply that they were considering using Glick at all. If the facility is only designed for football then i agree that it should have been a no-hard ball facility. But as the lacrosse website says, "Although the current design limits the participation of “hard-ball” sports (lacrosse, baseball, softball), discussions are under way to accomodate these sports, eventually giving Michigan Lacrosse two full-field, indoor facilities." This implies that there are at least talks of turning Glick into a multi-sport facility. I guess this could just be wishful thinking amongst the lacrosse program in the short term thus the info on their web site.
As for the revenue, i really phrased that bad. I am not really trying to say that lacrosse is going to generate tons of revenue for the AD. I was trying to imply that if lacrosse waited to upgrade to NCAA until the lacrosse complex was approved then i the school would have a better rationale for making the tea NCAA D-I. Just bad wording by me on that one, sorry Tim.
My first post!
I get Coach Paul's alumni emails, so I guess you could say I have some inside information on this.
First, use of Glick was promised to the lacrosse team by someone very high up in the athletic administration when it was being built. I don't remember the name, but I do remember it being an Associate AD or some similar title. Obviously, if this is true, Martin or RR must have blocked it.
I have to believe it was Martin, although as you can imagine JP would never call him out. From his emails, I get the sense that the lacrosse team has some pretty strong connections with RR that they haven't fully realized yet. One of RR's closest advisors is also a big-time lacrosse guy. RR actually brought up the idea to Coach Paul of playing a lacrosse game in the big house before the spring game in the future, much like Ohio State does. I also get the sense that Barwis and his staff have helped the lacrosse team to some extent, and I know that the lacrosse staff works closely with the football equipment and facility guys.
More than anything, I believe any momentum toward varsity lacrosse is coming from places you might not expect. Big donors, university VPs and regents (many of whom have a close relationship with Brandon), and others that Brandon would at least listen to.
As an alum I'm super excited about the team's recent success and increased attention, but I also see hope for varsity where there was probably no hope a year or two ago.
One other thing. The new lacrosse building everyone is mentioning is not an indoor field. It's a service building much like Schembechler Hall that will go up next to Elbel Field. Also, it's not a university project. It's a private project on private property that is being funded 100% by lacrosse donors.
Nice info really some great info in this, cannot wait to here some more of your updates.
Do you get the sense that there is planning to make the transition as seamless as possible, so as to avoid a lengthy period of time until a potential D1 team could make the NCAA tourney?
OSU and ND both spent MANY years in tournament purgatory before being in a position to reliably make the tournament more years than not (both teams are in serious danger already this year, despite ND's big win over Duke, of missing the tournament.)
If they hit the ground with fully funded scholarships, top of the line facilities, and the beginnings of a recruiting relationship with hotbed areas, perhaps they can have more of an immediate impact? Michigan has always been a very popular school for Long Islanders and Marylanders - much more so than that school down south!
Also, with the separation of ND and OSU into separate conferences, the conference landscape may be better than before of UofM.