Michigan Lacrosse

Submitted by the_big_house 500th on May 15th, 2010 at 7:04 PM

I was on http://mgobluelacrosse.com/ and looked up the Michigan Lacrosse home page and I must say that they have some awesome uniforms. I really like the maize jersey and the shorts they wear. Plus the Winged helmet just makes it look even more badass. On top of the uniforms I didn't know how good this team really is. They have won almost every CCLA conference title since 1999. I take it CCLA means central college lacrosse association. And they have won back to back in 2008-2009 MCLA finals. Has anybody been to any games this year? What are they like?

Comments

HartAttack20

May 15th, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

How is Michigan Lacrosse OT? Tim posts info about them on the main page. This is about as on-topic as you can get regarding Michigan sports. I don't know a ton about Michigan Lacrosse either, but I know enough to know that they are one of the top club teams/programs in the country. I wish they could go to D-1. 

PurpleStuff

May 15th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

Michigan lacrosse is a club, non-scholarship sport (not just a sport oddly playing in a lower division) that gets either limited or no funds from the University or the athletic department (not sure which is the case).  The Title IX implications arise because in order to add lacrosse as a scholarship sport, UM would also have to add a women's sport (or maybe even get equal numbers of athletes, I'm not really sure how the math works).  Either way, it seems like more of a money or athletic department priority issue to me, but Title IX does put up something of a speedbump if UM had a desire to make lacrosse a scholarship sport.

Wendyk5

May 15th, 2010 at 8:37 PM ^

What about women's lacrosse? Doesn't Michigan have a women's team (club), and couldn't both then become scholarship sports? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the midwest (and thus Big Ten) is not a big Lacrosse region, unlike the East coast? 

PurpleStuff

May 15th, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

Women's lacrosse would seem to be a prime candidate as the matching women's sport addition.  I'm not really familiar with where Michigan would fit in as far as the national lacrosse landscape is concerned.  I think most Big Ten schools play at the club level if at all and I know that the national scene is dominated by East Coast and Mid-Atlantic schools like Princeton, Syracuse, Virginia, Johns Hopkins, etc. 

The Title IX issue factors into the calculation for the folks at Michigan because they can't just decide, "Should we make men's lacrosse a scholarship sport?" but rather, "Should we make both men's and women's lacrosse scholarship sports?"  Since the latter costs more money it makes it less likely that either sport will be added.  Unless there is some indication that men's lacrosse could become a revenue generator in the future (not sure if it is at big time lacrosse schools, even) or there is a big influx of athletic department cash I don't really see it happening any time soon (though I suppose a demanding public could influence things).

Wendyk5

May 17th, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^

http://sun.menloschool.org/~sportman/ethics/project/topics/title9/

 

Here's one take on the pros and cons of title nine. It's unfortunate that a positive step for women's sports has been in some cases a negative step for men. Perhaps the law needs to be re-looked at. But the intentions were right. Women and girls need to have the opportunity to play sports and be competitive on a national level. I can tell you that when I was growing up, most girls didn't play sports. I wasn't encouraged by my parents, and wish that I had been. My daughter is 7 and plays some of the same sports my son does: basketball, baseball, soccer. I don't want her to think that because she's a girl, she's not capable of doing the same things as him. She sees my son having fun and wants to have as much fun as him. And that translates across all areas of life, not just sports. I grew up believing that my brother plays sports and I do art and play with dolls. Now, my son plays sports, and so does my daughter. And I think it's largely because of title nine.  

Zone Left

May 15th, 2010 at 10:53 PM ^

I called it, the CCHA tourney turned it all around for Michigan. Since then there's been a gymnastics, softball, and lacrosse championship. The universe is slowly righting itself.

ncampbell

May 15th, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

Tim linked to this interview with coach John Paul a month or so ago but its very interesting and touches on the 'lacrosse going to varsity' topic for those of you that are interested.  This quote in particular:

"412: Is the ultimate goal to be a Division 1 team?

JP: It is. I never would have said that a few years ago with my professional background. I knew the realities here. I knew our old AD was not interested in that. So, it wasn’t something worth pursuing for us.

There are a lot of things coming together that make it a realistic goal. That doesn’t mean its going to happen. It just means the stars are aligning and we have a small window in the next year or two to see if we can make something happen."

whole article here.  pretty interesting stuff and id recommend the whole thing.  Doesnt really touch on the whole Title IX thing but as the athletic department has been running large budget surpluses for at least the last 5 years it seems likely that they could financially swing adding two more varsity sports.  i dont have any real inside info though.  Another national title cant hurt the the odds...

PurpleStuff

May 15th, 2010 at 11:45 PM ^

Do you (or anyone else for that matter) have any idea how competitive a Michigan program could be nationally at that level?  I looked it up and see that there are 61 D-1 teams (a few more than hockey) but the elite are a very closed bunch.  Either Virginia, JHU, Syracuse, or Princeton has won every national title since 1992, and only three other teams have ever won (compared to hockey where 11 teams have won the title in the last twenty years).

So I guess my question is, is it possible for any new (or established) program to be more than a spectator at the national level in lacrosse?

chitownblue2

May 16th, 2010 at 10:22 AM ^

Michigan beat a D-I team this year that finished over .500, in Bellarmine. In previous exhibition games in previous years, they were whipped badly by Army (a much better team than Bellarmine) and lost by 4 or 5 to Johns Hopkins 2nd stringers (at the time, a national powerhouse).

Lacrosse is definitely a game of "haves" and "have nots" - while there are 61 DI teams, there are about 10-12 that are on a completely different level than the rest of them. For instance, in the first round games in yesterday's DI tournament, which only takes 16 teams, UVA was leading the lowest seed, Mt. St. Mary's, by 16 before they took their foot off the pedal, and relaxed their ride.

Also, because the game is expanding, there are a number of newer D-I teams still in the "developmental" stage - PSU and U of D come to mind.

So, right now, with this roster, Michigan could go D-I and win a few games. At this point, they'd probably slot into the ECAC conference, which had some "OK" teams this year in Loyola and Denver. Bellarmine, who Michigan beat, finished 3-4 in this conference.

So, your answer - this Michigan team could probably be a lower-rung D-I team as currently constituted. That said - the sorts of players we'd get if we offered scholarships and the sorts we get now are obviously different. While I think guys like Parras and Zorovich could probably play on solid D-I teams, there are others that couldn't.

It's worth noting that Brother Rice high school has been sending players to play at some of the big boys out east for a few years, and is starting to get some recognition nationally as an elite high school program - so there is an in-state source of talent. Of course, Michigan would have a hard time competing for some of those guys if teams like Syrcause come in and offer.

WolvinLA2

May 17th, 2010 at 4:18 PM ^

The state of Michigan is up and coming in high school lacrosse, but it's true that Brother Rice is in a league of their own.  Rice is 27th nationally in HS Lacrosse, only the second team outside of the East Coast and California on the list.  However, Detroit Catholic Central is the second highest ranked MI team at #340 (this is all from laxpower.com)  

That said, if we went varsity, I imagine UM lacrosse would be a lot like UM baseball - rarely a national contender (based on the region) but would be able to pick up the few elite in-state players and would be able to draw in a handful of solid out of state players based on the school quality and overall athletic reputation.  We could compete with and occasionally dominate the midwest (Big Ten?) competition, but probably not a lot more in most years.  But based on the growth of lacrosse across the country, we might not be at the disadvantage to the east coast school for long, like M baseball is to the southern/west schools.  After all, Colorado and California are starting to get very good lacrosse as well.

Tim

May 18th, 2010 at 2:40 PM ^

While you raise interesting points about baseball/lacrosse, I do think there is a key difference.

Baseball has been around forever, and has, at times, been the most popular sport in America. Lacrosse, on the other hand, is relatively new to the mainstream, and could gain popularity in the midwest.

Michigan has had consistent success in other sports that aren't strong in-state on the national level, such as softball and water polo, so there's a chance that lacrosse could do the same. Of course, the Michigan brand also probably has more chachet on the East Coast than the West Coast, perhaps an even further advantage.

WolvinLA2

May 18th, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

Yeah, I really like your comparison to softball and water polo for M.  M is the only school west of the Mississippi to win a softball national championship (that may end this year though, with the emergence of the SEC teams).  M is also one of the only major water polo teams outside of California.  So there's so saying this rule can't apply to lacrosse as well.

However, those are both women's sports.  Often times, the same rules don't apply to men's sports as women's sports.  Here's to hoping we can break the "East Coast Only" trend in D1 lacrosse.

chitownblue2

May 18th, 2010 at 6:08 PM ^

If you look at the D-I tournament this year, only 2 of the 16 teams aren't on the east coast - Denver and ND. Denver was bounced by Stony Brook - a tiny school that maintains a traditionally strong program year after year.

Notre Dame, really, had no right being there - they somehow made the tournament despite having worse records, and a worse Big East Record, AND lost the head-to-head to Georgetown. ND won the season opener at Duke, and beat Loyola at a neutral site (who smoked Gtown) and rode that all the way to the tourney, whiile GTown left the regular season losing to UMass.

So what I'm saying - quality Lax players don't really leave the east coast. ND is an occasional tournament entrant, though they didn't really deserve it.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

May 18th, 2010 at 6:58 PM ^

Though I concede that Notre Dame should have given way to Georgetown, it's worth pointing out that 1) ND did bounce Princeton and 2) it may be that only two of 16 tournament teams are west of the Appalachians, but that's two of the five or six (depending on how you figure Penn State) that actually exist out there.  Notre Dame is actually more than an occasional entrant, and OSU, PSU, and Denver all have made their share of appearances.

Quality lax players don't leave the east coast because there are so few options out there and only so many of them can.

WolvinLA2

May 18th, 2010 at 7:10 PM ^

A big part of that is because most of the quality lacrosse players come from the East Coast.  This, however, will begin to change.  As for Michigan (because that's where I went to high school) - when the college LAX players who are seniors now were starting high school, half the high schools teams in Michigan didn't exist.  10 years ago, there weren't a lot of 10 year olds in MI with a LAX stick in their hands, so it there weren't many playing at an elite level, but this is no longer true.  This is the case for a lot of the non-EC states.  Based on how much LAX has grown in Ohio, for example, I wouldn't be surprised if OSU's team improves quite a bit over the next 5+ years.  

There is nothing innate about the East Coast making it better than the Midwest, it's just where the game started.  It will probably always be where a lot of the top teams are, but that gap will also start closing rapidly with the growth of the sport in other areas.  

BiaBiakabutuka21

May 18th, 2010 at 8:39 PM ^

Not sure if this is the place to post it but wasn't sure if it deserved its own thread. I went over to www.umvarsityblue.com  to see what was still there and one of the last posts was the Great Heisman Campaign where we voted on Michigan players against other Michigan players to crown the eventual "Heisman of the team"

Was wondering if there were any plans to do this again to help pass the time.  The winner, Brandon Graham, was eventually crowned in July of last year so this definitely happened in the off season.

I am always for hypothetical speculation over random OT threads.  Any thoughts on this?  Would anyone else take interest in doing this over at MgoBlog?  Maybe it could even be reader generated.

Also, Mods, feel free to move this post elsewhere or even just delete if you feel necessary.  Don't want to hijack this thread.