Lax: Weekend Wrapup... AND MORE!

Submitted by Tim on March 15th, 2010 at 11:35 AM
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I'll get to the actual game recaps in a moment, but there are a couple other things I wanted to talk about before getting to the "actual events."

MAILBAG!

First, a mailbag question from Josh:

I was wondering if on the next Michigan lacrosse diary update if you could cover Michigan being a member of the CCLA. I mean they dominate everyone in the conference by almost 10 goals every game and have won 9 of the last 11 CCLA titles. Their last loss, to a CCLA member, came against Michigan State in April of 2006. I just do not see any advantage for Michigan to be a part of a conference that provides little competition to the team.

Is there a rule for the MCLA that states members need to be a part of a conference, or can members be Independent. I would imagine if members could be Independent then Michigan could actually make a schedule that includes many of the CCLA teams but they could also include a tougher caliber of opponent rather than playing Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. Maybe make an East Coast road trip and play more PCLL teams, much like the West Coast trip every year. This trip could include teams such as Boston College, Northeastern, and New Hampshire. Another possibility could be to play a combination of road and home games with teams from the GRLC, such as Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa (through some Big Ten rivals in there). Any insight on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

I'm not sure whether the MCLA has a rule requiring teams to be in a conference. There are no independent teams competing now, and to the best of my knowledge there never has been. I believe the MCLA is more of a parent organization to the conferences, so it doesn't seem feasible. As for your question as it specifically relates to Michigan, the issue is not "can they?" but rather one of "would they want to?" I think the answer in this situation has to be "no."

What would Michigan's motivations be for leaving the conference? Though the CCLA isn't the toughest conference in the league (prior to Michigan's National Championship in 2008, every MCLA Champion had hailed from the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference or the West Coast Lacrosse League), it hasn't prevented Michigan from paying some tough schedules in the past few years. They had the #11 Strength of Schedule in 2008, the 3rd toughest schedule last year, and are on pace for the #2 SOS mark this year, all per LaxPower. In fact, one of the biggest aspect holding them back has been that they can't schedule themselves. Though they play in a conference that has a reputation of being "soft," that hasn't exactly held the Wolverines back come tournament time in the past couple years.

The other huge factor in this equation is the money. Playing fewer CCLA teams would mean that Michigan has to schedule more long road trips each season, and entice more big-name opponents to travel to Ann Arbor. As a club program (supported by player dues), the finances simply don't make sense, especially for the limited benefit they would get out of it. I think the program is much more concerned with making a push to earn Varsity status at Michigan than worrying about a slight bump in schedule difficulty.

As far as scheduling more Big Ten conference teams, that's something I would like to see, but the Wolverines play Michigan State every year, and have managed to play a Big Ten squad from the GRLC in recent years (Illinois for the past two season, Purdue coming up in April). A Big Ten Lacrosse Conference could be cool, but I doubt the Big Ten would sponsor a club league, so it would have to be far, far down the road for an eventual varsity program.

VARSITY

Speaking of a potential varsity program... Michigan Lacrosse is trying to make a push for varsity status (news at 11!), but it seems as though things have progressed more this time around than they had in past years. My personal speculation on this is that Bill Martin, in his drive to keep the Athletic Department financially viable, was one of the key opponents to adding more varsity sports. Michigan men's soccer coach Steve Burns was one of the few coaches who managed to successfully push for varsity status under Martin's watch. Coach Paul and other lacrosse supporters have undoubtedly talked to Burns about his experience.

The closer things get to a potential tipping point, the more fan support can help the effort reach a new level. Showing the Athletic Department that you're interested in seeing a varsity lacrosse team at Michigan can be as simple as commenting on these posts (or crafting your own!). Once lacrosse gains AD support for varsity status, things have the potential to move very quickly, as there are already plans in the works for a state-of-the-art lacrosse facility that would be among the best in the nation - at any level - and is merely waiting for support from donors who are confident in a D-1 team's coming into existence at Michigan. Video tour:

As I've made no secret in the past, I'm a strong supporter of a varsity lacrosse program at Michigan, and I'm confident it's something we'll see in the not-too-distant future.

The money (as always) will be a key factor here, but it will be tough for the Athletic Department to continue denying a consistently-excellent program the opportunity to play at the highest level. Remaining Title IX-compliant could be an issue, but the women's club lacrosse team and the women's synchronized skating and synchronized swimming teams also have club-varsity status, and if the dollars work out properly, a smooth transition is not only possible but likely. I talked a little about scholarship numbers in the comments of my last lacrosse post, so check that out if you're interested.

THE WEEKEND!

The Wolverines took on a pair of opponents this weekend, with Friday bringing the home opener against Simon Fraser University, and Saturday the conference opener at Eastern Michigan. Let's start with the home opener, in which the Wolverines wore all-new greay uniforms, with maize and blue accents.

Though the Clansmen(!) were ranked #13 coming into the game, Michigan made easy work of SFU, scoring the first seven goals of the contest on the way to a 22-10 rout. Though they allowed a couple scoring runs here and there, the early lead and the confidence it brought (on top of, like, being the better team) were too much for the opponent to overcome. BONUS video to the right of Michigan's 3rd goal, scored by Kevin Zorovich. Apologies for the lack of zoom, but that's life shooting video on a cell phone.

Trevor Yealy led the team with five goals, while Clark McIntyre and Jordan Kirshner each netted a hat trick. As per always, Michigan's ride was impressive, holding Simon Fraser to 16 successful clears on 33 attempts, and David Reinhard owned the faceoff X, winning 22 of 29 (75.86%) draws, and also notching his first goal of the year.

Mark Stone and Andrew Fowler split time in the cage, with Stone getting the start and the win.

(Official site recap)

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Sunday's game, since the time was moved up by three hours and I was traveling in from out of town. Howeva, based on last year's game against the Eagles, I can definitively say one thing: they aren't a very good team, and the 19-2 final score yesterday speaks to that.

We'll start with the goalies, who often don't get a big enough share of the publicity. Well, in this game, they probably don't need it, as Mark Stone and Andrew Fowler each played a quarter - and neither faced a single shot(!!). Freshman Conor McGee played the second half, allowing two goals and making a save. I assume since he didn't get into this game that McGee's classmate Cy Adbelnour will redshirt the 2010 campaign.

In the scoring department, Clark McIntyre paced the team with five goals, and Trevor Yealy put in four of his own. After David Reinhard and Edward Ernst dominated faceoffs to start the game, freshman Harrison Silver got to try his hand at the X, winning 5 of 9 faceoffs.

(Official site recap)

One thing I've noticed thus far this year is that the offense has been much less Yealy-centric than last year's effort. That's likely a combination of the blowouts (at east over the last two games) that Michigan has been inflicting on teams, along with opponents gameplanning to not let the prolific junior beat them by himself. Either way, more balanced scoring throughout the team will certainly help make the offense more potent when they need it most.

UP NEXT!

Michigan has just one game next weekend, as they'll travel to Dallas, Texas to take on 8th-ranked Oregon in the Patriot Cup. The game will take place at 7PM Saturday in Ford Stadium on the campus of SMU.

The Duks are 6-0 on the year, with victories over #20 Cal, Stanford, Montana, #27 Santa Clara, Washington, and #34 Portland State. They are paced in scoring by Senior Attack Justin Blackmore and Redshirt Sophomore Attack Max Schlesinger, who have posted identical 12-goal, 5-assist statlines in the first six contests. The Ducks also get production from Junior Middie Kevin Clark and Sophomore Attack Sean Silverstein, who are both over two points per game as well. For comparison's sake, Michigan has one player over four points/game, another three notching greater than three points/game, and six total over two points/game.

In the net, Oregon has played three different goalies, with junior Nick Johnston getting the most time, playing in five games while posting a .685 save percentage and 3.4 goals against per game. He hasn't faced an offense like Michigan's, however, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up against the increased pressure.

The official Michigan Lacrosse Twitter page (@UmichLacrosse) will be providing scoring updates for those who want to follow live, and fans in the DFW area can head out to SMU for a full day of lacrosse.

Comments

mgomistercheezle

March 15th, 2010 at 12:18 PM ^

would be cool, but there's a huge disparity in talent too. I played in college, and Wisconsin and Northwestern were in our conference. Wisconsin dominated the league, but they were the big fish in a little pond. This is their first year in the GRLC--I'm interested to see how they adjust. In my experience, they were always good, but not great. On the other hand, Northwestern was/is a pretty motley bunch: their best year was 2006 when they went 5-5.

nyalum83

March 15th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

It is about time that Michigan have a varsity Division 1 lacrosse program. The team has the talent, both in the quality of players and the tremendous coaching staff. Lacrosse has been the fastest growing team sport for years and the number of kids choosing this sport has been growing exponentially for some time. My 2 sons grew up playing baseball but both dropped it for lacrosse (one at age 10 and one at age 13). Both wanted the action and speed (and yes, the hitting) that lacrosse can offer. As a parent, I can undoubtedly say that it a much better spectator sport than many others. The team appears to have a very loyal cadre of doners who have voted with their wallets to support this first class program. If Northwestern can have the number one D-1 Womens lax team in the country and Notre Dame can have a consistently high ranked D-1 Mens team, Michigan can and should have a competitive D-1 Mens lax team. The time is now.

L'Carpetron Do…

March 15th, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

First of all, Mgoblog's coverage of the lacrosse program is excellent and it's the best the team has ever had in any media venue. Thanks fellas, keep it up.

In regards to the mailbag, I think it is no longer a question of whether Michigan lacrosse is too good for the CCLA but for the club level all together. It would be better if they could exchange teams like Central and Eastern for lower D-1 level teams like St. John's or Bellarmine. However, it is a lose-lose for those varsity teams. If they schedule a "club" team, it makes their schedule look weak and if they lose to them they have the stigma attached to them of losing to a club team.

However, despite their 'club' handicap, Michigan has still managed to attract talent. I played there years ago and we played Siena (a low level D-1 program) in an official game and we blew them out. We felt that we would have been able to run with several Division 1 teams that year. That was without recruiting, scholarships or even relaxed admissions. In those days we had several players who turned down opportunities to play at good D-1 programs.

The only difference now is that JP has taken the team to the next level and the team is extra dominant now. I would love to see them play some D-1 squads. The lacrosse team is currently one of the best, if not the best team, on campus.

If Michigan launched a varsity program, it wouldn't be 10 years before they were in the Final 4. They could get top players there immediately. I would love to see it. It would be big news in the lacrosse community and would expand interest in the game among the larger sports community.

If the Athletic Department does decide to add a team, I think they should take a page out of Ohio State's book. In its first season Michigan should schedule either Notre Dame or Ohio State in the Big House after the spring football game. OSU did it last year and exposed tons of people to the sport. Imagine that in the Big House? (Plus, by that time it may have been a long time since we beat OSU in anythng).

Go Blue! Beat the Ducks and keep on rolling! Keep up the coverage, boys and thanks!

phjhu89

March 15th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

play Michigan in anything other than a scrimmage. Back in the day teams like Hopkins and Syracuse used to play a highly rated DIII team from their areas each year. Those have been forbidden for a long time. (one of the reasons Hobart went from DIII to D1).

I agree that Michigan would have immediate success, but FF could very well take that long - parity is here, but there are still only four teams to win championships over the last 20 years - the big boys would love Michigan to come play, but they are not ready to give up their dominance quite yet (although my Blue Jays are certainly trying hard to do so.)

One real advantage that Michigan could have is proximity to Ontario - do you know if Paul has any connections there to box lax?

dtdanUM

March 15th, 2010 at 5:35 PM ^

I do think that Michigan would have the ability to attract east coast talent better than many of its rivals--especially the kids from MD and NY. However, I think that 10 years after becoming DI may be optimistic for them making a Final Four. I'm not saying that it couldn't happen, but I see two things: an entrenched group of elite schools (Hopkins, UVA, Princeton), plus more recent programs (Duke, UNC) that have developed into elite programs, plus the new parity that has made lesser schools (Towson, Hofstra etc.) competitive week-in and week-out. I think that it will be harder than ever for UofM to develop into a final four caliber team that quickly.

I'd love to be wrong, and I think that Michigan could develop into a tournament team quite quickly, but there is a pretty substantial difference, even still, between borderline tournament teams and final four teams. Even a casual lacrosse fan like myself can see it from a mile away.

phjhu89

March 15th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

UNC was a powerhouse in the 80s - the 80s were dominated by Hopkins and UNC, so if UNC (who looks really good this year) breaks the 20-year 4-school stranglehold on the D1 championship, they won't really be a newcomer. It will still be the same old schools.

There have been very few gate-crashers in the FF - in recent memory you have teams like Navy and Loyola, which have real history, and Delaware. Cornell's trip last year was their first one since '87 - but they were there in the early days of the NCAA tournament.

You are correct in your assertion though - I think Michigan would just be happy to win a tournament game in a shorter amount of time than it took ND and OSU.

L'Carpetron Do…

March 17th, 2010 at 10:50 AM ^

Duke is also not a recent program. My father played against them in the late 60s and early 70s. They weren't as powerful as they are today.

Back in 1992, Princeton was a nobody in the lacrosse world until they stunned Syracuse. So, there is still room for outsiders to crash the party. Also, in recent years we've seen schools like Navy, Delaware, G'town, ND, Towson, UMass and even Albany make some serious runs in the tournament. Back in the day, it was almost always UVA, Syr, JHU and Maryland.

I still don't think a Final 4 berth is that far-fetched. I didn't say they would win and I didn't say it would be easy but I think it is, in fact, very possible.

If you were to think of the most prestigious athletic powerhouses that don't have a varsity lacrosse program you would have to think of Michigan, UCLA, Stanford and Texas (and to a lesser extent, Florida). Wouldn't you think that it would be huge news if any of those other schools announced that they were going to field a D-1 team? Don't you think that it would not be long before they were attracting top talent and were competitive?

My point is this: Michigan would be the biggest/most prominent school to add lacrosse in recent memory. Plus, it would come at a time when the sport is rapidly growing in popularity. I wonder how many other schools would follow U of M's lead (however, not likely due to budget cuts, weak economy, etc.)

Michigan is better equipped to add a team than any other athletic program in the nation. With the talent Michigan has on the field right now they could play competitively with several Division 1 teams so it wouldn't be a giant leap to the upper echelon. Also, Michigan has better east coast connections than any of those other schools (in many ways, Michigan is more of an east coast school than several east coast schools).

Not to mention, the maize and blue and the winged helmets hold a distinct allure. U of M could poach NY, NJ and DC recruits from the likes of JHU, UVA and Syracuse not to mention PSU, OSU and ND. Wouldn't you want to be Michigan's first big star rather than possibly ride the bench at one of those other schools? Wouldn't you want to be on the first tourney team?

I know its comparing apples and oranges, but who has been one of the most powerful forces in the women's game? Northwestern. A U of M men's team could very well shift the balance of power slightly westward. It would be very interesting. I would love to see A.D. Brandon roll the dice.

Anyway, this is too long...GO BLUE!!!

phjhu89

March 18th, 2010 at 2:00 PM ^

I think you are right that Michigan is uniquely suited to enter D1 with fewer growing pains than fellow midwestern power schools OSU and ND experienced. They started their programs when there was less high school talent, fewer spots in the tournament, and less midwestern interest in the sport. Also, I don't see OSU as being nearly as popular a school for kids in the lax hotbeds. (ND is pretty popular in Maryland) You are right about the East Coast perception.

Your Princeton observation is an interesting one. Until they hired Coach T, they were the easiest opponent on JHU's schedule. However, the combination of a great coach (who had not been a head coach yet - hard to remember!), and a very attractive school led to very fast results. Could that happen here?

phjhu89

March 15th, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^

This really does need to happen. The lack of quality opponents is a real problem, and I would bet that the travel costs incurred to play the current schedule are far more than they would be after a shift to varsity status. The club's current travel costs dwarf those of the traditional D1 powers.

There is also great opportunity RIGHT NOW.
Parity is having a serious effect on D1 lacrosse (OK, 1-5 are still the usual suspects, and there are still only 4 programs to win the title for the last 20 years, but the top 20 is far more variable than ever before - see this weekend's results!) Michigan is in a good situation to enter D1 with fewer growing pains than fellow big-time-football schools OSU, ND, and PSU, who have been D1 for quite some time.

There is far more high school talent to recruit from, they won't have to wait as long until their first tourney appearance, won't have to wait as long for the traditional powers to schedule them, etc. The D1 season has been getting longer and longer - from a 10-game season to a 14+ game season, so there is more room for schools like Hopkins, UVa, etc. to schedule new opponents. There have been major conference re-alignments each year for the past 3 years, so there is a lot of scheduling wiggle room!

I can see waiting until new facilities are built, but i doubt that is really necessary to get going!

MaizeNBlu628

March 15th, 2010 at 1:21 PM ^

Michigan should def have a D1 lax program. It wouldn't even be very hard for them to recruit big time talents. I'm originally from Maryland, where it is a breeding ground for lax talent and high school lax is as big as football. Also, east coasters think very very highly of Michigan. The kids who play lax are also the type of kids that would be attracted to a school like Michigan otherwise, so it would def be a great fit.

phjhu89

March 15th, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

Your're right - kids from Maryland and especially Long Island really like Michigan. Lots of non-lax playing kids from those areas at Michigan already! Those are two of the three richest recruiting regions right there. Also, I have got to believe that Michigan would be able to get some box talent out of Ontario.

Jensencoach

March 15th, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

..how creating another male varsity sport would work with Title 9. I am under the impression all public school need to have the same amount of varsity sports for both male and female athletes. If this is true are they also creating a female LAX varsity team? Or maybe adding a different female varsity sport...or maybe I am wrong with my understanding of Title 9?

Vasav

March 15th, 2010 at 7:49 PM ^

I'm not positive, but I think it has more to do with keeping the number of scholarships equal between men and women than the number of sports. Which is why we have more varsity women's sports than men's sports - because of our 85 scholarship football team, which is exclusively male

dtdanUM

March 15th, 2010 at 5:13 PM ^

Varsity status is something that definitely needs to occur for this team, considering the strength of the program and the support that it has garnered.

On a side note--does anybody know who is responsible for designing that Lacrosse facility mock-up/video and pitching the Elbel site? Is this an independent project, or is it something formally being put together my UM-Lax? Does it have any legs?

Tim

March 15th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

UM Lax is involved in the design, but local photographer Martin Vloet (of UM Photo Services) is the one who put together the plans.

Turfing Elbel Field will be a Rec Sports project, I think, but the building is an independent project done in conjunction with the lacrosse program, to the best of my knowledge. Blueprints exist and whatnot (I've seen them), and I think the main delay at this point is funding, which would probably come mostly from donors when/if they hear the program has been approved for D-1 status.

Tim

March 15th, 2010 at 8:47 PM ^

I think that was just a matter of not filling in detail that wasn't relevant to the specific project. I believe this facility would be able to fit completely in the current grass area South of the MMB practice pad (where there are crappy soccer fields and a softball field now).

dtdanUM

March 15th, 2010 at 10:10 PM ^

But the facility itself looks like it is on the other side of the train tracks, where there is currently a small building and a 5-6 car parking lot. None of the building itself would be on Elbel, although the field looks like it would take up the area that you describe.

dtdanUM

March 15th, 2010 at 9:04 PM ^

...and also a little scary. I understand that land down there is scarce/nonexistent, but I think that these preliminary designs, although really cool looking, are functionally ridiculous. It doesn't make any sense (financially or logistically) to build a 4-story stand-alone Lacrosse building that isn't connected to any stadium structure with freestanding bleachers at the opposite end of Elbel, which would expose the main street-level view of the park to rather ugly bleacher undersides. If I were a player, I wouldn't want to have to go up and down a bunch of stairs to my 2nd floor locker room all the time, and a 3rd floor weight room either.

It would make more sense, at least temporarily, for the Lacrosse team to use the new soccer complex as their home stadium. Sure, it could be a death knell for attendance based on location, but if they weren't going to build a new soccer facility at Elbel, I'd be shocked/disappointed if they pulled the trigger for Lacrosse, especially with the plans as shown.

Old Blue

March 18th, 2010 at 3:56 PM ^

Doesn't the hockey team go up and down stairs to their locker room? Four times a game? In skates? The football team goes down a big ramp from their meeting rooms directly to practice. I'm pretty sure they have to climb up it before they come back down it. I'm confident that college athletes can handle the stairs.

I would bet this is just a prelimary design anyway. I'm sure there will be adjustments. Are they on the second floor because there is a different tenant on the first floor?

The field we see in the video may be just a practice field. For all we know, lacrosse will use the soccer stadium for games. Football practices a fair distance from their game field. Seems to work just fine for them. Could lacrosse even use the soccer field though? It's grass. How deep into the lacrosse season would they be before it's dried out and in good enough shape after a hard winter and the muddy thaw?

Lacrosse has the potential to draw good crowds. Hell, the club team already draws bigger crowds than most varsity teams, and they get almost no media coverage or marketing (thank you mgoblog for doing your part). I truly believe lacrosse could eventually develop into a hockey-level sport at Michigan. Maybe not 7,000 a game, but certainly 3,000-5,000. They got over 4,000 when Hopkins came to town, and they play in front of thousands every year against State. Maybe the plan is to build a stadium for lacrosse eventually. I do agree that moving them to the soccer stadium area eventually would be a mistake. They get a lot of student support now. That would be a lot harder to come by 2 miles down State Street.

Tim

March 22nd, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

"I would bet this is just a prelimary design anyway. I'm sure there will be adjustments. Are they on the second floor because there is a different tenant on the first floor?"

The first floor would be a photography studio for a different tenant.

UM Lax 40 years on

March 15th, 2010 at 5:44 PM ^

Michigan Lacrosse has a long history of being leaders and best.

This program is more consistent with the UM traditions I cherish than nearly any other aspect of UM today. The fans at the Simon-Fraser game reflected the program Coach Jon Paul has built: enthusiastic, clear-headed, enthusiastic, well behaved, and enthusiastic. Classy.

We have a championship caliber, classy lacrosse program at a school once known for many championship caliber, classy varsity programs.

I was proud to bring my son to Michigan to meet Coach Paul. He found the lax program one of the the strongest assets of our university. BUT...he chose to go to college at the Michigan of the East, which has varsity lacrosse. Small consolation.

Coach Paul, the athletes he has attracted and developed, and the fans he brings onto campus, reflect the best parts of our Michigan championship heritage. Going D1 would be consistent with these best parts of our past, and a strong commitment to who we define our future selves to be.

AxMan

March 15th, 2010 at 11:22 PM ^

I couldn't agree more. As a former Captain of the UM lacrosse team and teammate of Jon Paul (1989-1992), I can hardly say that I am unbiased. However, the previous post is absolutely correct in saying that Michigan lacrosse has a long history of being leaders and best. We won the Big Ten lacrosse tournament all 4 years that I played.

Now, Coach Paul has taken his teams to another level and done an absolutely incredible job of building a first-rate program at any level. The fact that he has been able to achieve this and attract top-notch talent with a non-varsity program is difficult to conceive.

But I know "JP" and I know exactly how he accomplished this amazing feat. Coach Paul is the most honest, hardest working, and classiest individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He has built this championship program on blood, sweat, and tears by demanding the very best effort from his players, his coaches, and himself.

And it's not just about winning. Just look to last week's BYU game for confirmation. With a 42(!) game winning streak on the line, Coach Paul was put in the very difficult position of disciplining 6 of his players (5 of them starters!) in a rivalry game vs. a Top-5 opponent. Without hesitation, he made the decision to sit all 6 players and teach them some valuable life lessons. The team was forced to play with just 2 (out of 3) attackmen, as they were already short at the position due to injury. The team could have lost confidence when he suspended so many key players earlier in the week. They could have packed it in and given up when BYU went up 3-0 in the first quarter. Jamison Goldberg, the midfielder Coach Paul had to put at attack, could have panicked when he was covered all night by their best defender, a transfer from North Carolina. All of the freshmen that had to be bumped up into key roles could have frozen when the bright lights of a game like this were on them, but they didn't. David Rogers could have called it quits when he sprained his shoulder in the second quarter, making it tough for him to raise his arm at all, but he didn't. Finally, the suspended players could have sulked through the game, but they didn't. They were the team's biggest cheerleaders and led them in the Victors after Michigan came back to win the game.

Coach Paul is precisely the kind of coach that UM deserves and could be proud to called our own. In a day and age when "win at all costs" seems to be accepted, John Paul is a throwback to the times when a Coach does more than just run drills and call plays. Coach Paul teaches his players how to be winners...on the field and off the field.

Now, don't get me wrong. Winning on the field is still very important. After all, the win streak is at 44 games and counting. But it's the quality of these wins that is most impressive to me. Not one of those 44 wins was "bought" by sacrificing ethics or the high standards that Coach Paul demands from everyone within his program. All 44 wins have come 100% classy.

However, it is becoming increasingly evident that there is not much further room for the UM lacrosse team to grow. Coach Paul has taken this program to the top of the mountain and they will continue to distance themselves from even the best teams the MCLA has to offer, despite the fact they wear a giant bullseye on their jerseys each and every game as repeat Champions. But how much longer can this go on? How long before recruits see the lacrosse team's incredible accomplishments, not as a testament to their hard work and determination, but as a lack of challenging competitiion. How long before Coach Paul gets snapped up by a D1 team looking to rebuild their program?

The simple fact is that Coach Paul and the UM lacrosse program have outgrown the MCLA. Coach Paul will never rest on his laurels, and he will never allow his players to do so either. But without the challenge of D1 competition, I fear that we will lose Coach Paul to a less deserving school. Varsity lacrosse at the University of Michigan has been a long time coming. What better time than now? And what better person to lead Michigan than Coach John Paul?

Vasav

March 15th, 2010 at 7:47 PM ^

I think from a revenue standpoint they'd draw pretty well, especially if you could package them with the men. But there must be a legitimate reason that they aren't a club-varsity team, like the other sports mentioned.

Vasav

March 15th, 2010 at 8:05 PM ^

While Title IX is a federal law and the NCAA is a private organization, does the fact that synchronized swimming and skating are not sponsored by the NCAA prevent them from becoming varsity? Could the University still award scholarships to their athletes in order to offset the scholarships of a varsity men's lacrosse team, and remain in compliance with the Title IX, both in the eyes of the feds and the NCAA?

Old Blue

March 16th, 2010 at 12:54 PM ^

The games are usually packed with kids, many wearing jerseys or jackets from Oakland county teams. I saw at least three whole teams at Friday evening's game. One of them was about 100 young kids from a youth lacrosse program in Birmingham.

I suspect they play in the evenings to maximize their crowd. Facility availability may be an issue as well.

Block IVI

March 25th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

I'm all for making Lacrosse a varsity sport. God knows that they play hard enough and well enough to deserve it. However, what does this lacrosse field mean for the use of Elbel? Would it still be open for public use or would it be like the field hockey arena where its all fenced off and can't be used by the public?