Question about Men LAX (MCLA v NCAA)

Submitted by meechiganroses on April 20th, 2010 at 9:37 AM

I've started to follow the men's LAX team this year while waiting for football and basketball to start again. I'm an out of state fan (PA), so I don't get all the details and I'm late to the party--but, the men's team was on a ridiculous winning streak. When I looked on ESPN to see where they would be ranked, thinking it was #1, they weren't even listed! After a site search, I learned in a useful post (…)they are competing in the MCLA rather than the NCAA.

My question, as I don't think there has been an update to that post for some time, has the University found funds to support a varsity team? Is there a process in play at the moment? Can the team schedule exhibition games against 'Cuse and UVA to test the water? Any updates would be great!

Side note, though the football and basketball team have had some struggles and let downs, there have been some really successful teams at Michigan. I just want to jump on the bandwagon here and say great job to the gymnastics, baseball, LAX, and softball teams for their outstanding effort and ability to make me realize that not ALL UMich teams are in a funk.



April 20th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

has the University found funds to support a varsity team?

They're building a lacrosse facility on campus. So that should indicate yes.

Is there a process in play at the moment?

Not a fast moving one. They're still probably a few seasons away from making it happen. Potential Title IX implications. Just the fact that they're getting a facility should indicate to that, yes, there is a plan in the works.

Can the team schedule exhibition games against 'Cuse and UVA to test the water?

They could legally, as they've scheduled some minor D1 teams in the past. I'm not sure Syracuse or Virginia would schedule them.


April 20th, 2010 at 9:51 AM ^

The University is not involved with funding the lacrosse facility. That's a private project funded by donors to the Lacrosse program.

There is a process in the works, and it's moving considerably faster with the change in ADs. Bill Martin was worried about making the Athletic Department as profitable as possible (which you can't really fault him for too much). David Brandon seems to be more attuned with enhancing the varsity athletics experience for as much of the student body as possible, as well as Michigan winning as much as possible. Hopefully the process is moving along more quickly than it seems on the outside.

As FA says, they could schedule top teams in the exhibition season, as Johns Hopkins and Army cam e to Ann Arbor a couple years ago. I doubt they would come to Ann Arbor just for a one-off exhibition, and I don't think the Michigan program has the budget to travel that far just for an exhibition game. Now that you mention it though, it might be a great boon for recruiting to play against one of those teams on the East Coast, in front of a lot of kids who recognize the block-M, but don't realize there's good lacrosse to be played in Ann Arbor.


April 20th, 2010 at 10:02 AM ^

Questions answered and thank you for the update. My thoughts exactly regarding recruiting as there are many, many LAX teams here in the Philly area and the national championship was hosted in MD, Philly, and NJ. Like Tim said, until this year I never realized there was competitive LAX being played at UM. So again, thanks!


April 20th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

They scrimmage top-20 D3 teams all the time (which are generally better than high D2 teams in lacrosse). They generally do well against them, for what it's worth. They have also scrimmaged many lower level D1 teams like the ones you mentioned, including Bellarmine this spring (slightly above Detroit and Wagner). They smoked Bellarmine.

Nobody would expect them to compete with the top half of D1 right now, but I would bet you'd be surprised at how well they could hold up against them. Two years ago they scrimmaged Ohio State just before the season in Columbus. Preseason scrimmages like this are usually a much better gauge of competitive ability than fall scrimmages since the teams are fine-tuning to get ready for real games. This was Ohio State's best team ever. They spanked Cornell that year in Ithaca in the first round of the NCAA tourney. Michigan held their own.

I always describe them as a top level D3 team, which in lacrosse is much more of a compliment than it is in most other sports. I think it's pretty accurate. The team has a handful of legit D1 players and a lot of solid D3 players, and they run things as if they are varsity, not club.


April 20th, 2010 at 10:35 AM ^

There are a lot of delusional posts on this board. I don't think John Hopkins is planning on coming to Ann Arbor any time soon to play a club team. There is a vast difference between club and top end NCAA Lax. Hell there is a vast difference between the top of the NCAA and the middle. UM should play NCAA LAX, there are plenty of high schools in Michigan playing very good high school lacrosse.
BTW the best NCAA program at UM may be the women's water polo team. LOL


April 20th, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^

Michigan may not be competitive now with the top-end lax teams, but we definitely have the ability to. Ohio State has built a respectable program and Notre Dame has done very well recently.

Michigan has resources, and with enough resources you can create a competitive program. They won't be Syracuse, Princeton, UVa, or Johns Hopkins any time soon, but there's no reason they can't find their way into the NCAA tournament in the next decade.


April 20th, 2010 at 10:54 AM ^

You're right they played a fall scrimmage with some other NCAA programs and UM's club team (which was beaten badly by JHU). I was thinking in season, where the chances are pretty close to zero. Didn't consider fall ball, should have as it is often used to spread the gospel of LAX.


April 20th, 2010 at 9:03 PM ^

was a treat for both Hopkins and Michigan. Petro's boys got to go to the OSU game (these days Hop has a decent D3 football team, that gets maybe 1/10 the crowd the lax team gets), and make a statement to the Athletic Department about the potential importance of a future Michigan D1 team, while Michigan got to play Paul Rabil and the defending champs. The scrimmage looked a lot like the Purdue game last weekend. I do recall that Rabil played most of the game.


April 20th, 2010 at 10:57 AM ^

In the words of Lee Corso--not so fast my friend... Michigan scrimmaged and handily beat Belarmine, a D1 program. Michigan's power rating ( has them just below 90, which would puts them on a par with some of the weaker D1 teams. However, it's not that much of a stretch that their ranking would be much stronger if they played D1 competition, instead of beating teams like Purdue and Western Michigan by 20-25 goals. I'll admit that a game vs. Hopkins is likely out of the question, not because it would be OMG SLAUGHTER(!!!1!), but because there really isn't that big of an incentive or benefit for either program.


April 20th, 2010 at 11:19 AM ^

It probably still would be OMG SLAUGHTER. (Except this year, Hopkins is way down, and it'd only be a regular beating.)

Beating Bellarmine is like beating, oh, I dunno, IPFW in basketball. In their really crappy conference they're not too bad, but they're way at the bottom of the D-I pecking order.

In a hypothetical world where U-M is D-I right now, they'd probably be competitive enough in the ECAC (Bellarmine's conference.) They wouldn't look out of place, but that's probably the best you could say. In a few years - three to five, say - the U-M name and new facilities would help the school outgrow that league and play on a level closer to the CAA or Patriot League.


April 20th, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

...I'm in denial. I think the 38-year NCAA streak is over, even if Hop wins out. BTW, although I am far from a 'hoos fan, what happened against Duke? I was really hoping that they would go back to where they were in the '90s.

Anyway, I agree that they would not be out of place in the ECAC. They would get waxed by Loyola, and by next year, Denver. But they would likely beat the bottom-feeders. Probably mid-level ECAC.


April 20th, 2010 at 12:25 PM ^

The light at the end of the tunnel is exactly that fact - SU had been falling off a bit over time, but since that missed tournament they have been scary good come tournament time. I think both schools had a habit of getting into the frame of mind that the regular season really wasn't that important.


April 20th, 2010 at 1:53 PM ^

What happened against Duke is that the team, collectively, forgot how to win a GOD DAMN FACEOFF RRRRGGGGHHHHHH.

Being that Duke had the ball for the vast, vast majority of the second half, I think you'd have to say we outplayed them given that they "only" scored 13.

Speaking of which, I was bummed when Hop fell just shy of pulling off the comeback against Maryland. There's nothing bad about a Maryland loss.


April 23rd, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

I think they are supposed to be comparable within a level of play (i.e. Men's collegiate, but obviously not translate to say, women's or high school).

Of course, I'm just guessing based on what the numbers themselves look like, and am too busy to actually, like, look for the actual information.


April 20th, 2010 at 12:22 PM ^ to mean that they would never get a D1 team to come out here in-season. Which is an entirely reasonable statement. Back when the NCAA ruled that only games within your division counted toward tournament placement, a lot of traditional games went by the wayside, or resulted in division changes. (the long-standing Hopkins-Washington College series died, and Hobart went D1 to avoid losing their yearly games vs. Cornell and 'Cuse)


April 20th, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

Michigan State's program, even for the MCLA, is on a completely different plane than Michigan's.

I'm not claiming the Wolverines would stand a snowball's chance in hell against Syracuse, but it definitely wouldn't be nearly that ugly.


April 20th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

MSU did not play Syracuse a few years back. I don't know where that post came from, but it didn't happen. State hasn't played Syracuse since the mid-90s. And in the mid-90s State was NCAA D1 in lacrosse and pretty darn good at that. They were cut in 1997 for Title 9 reasons. Too bad, as this was just before the sport became the fastest growing sport in America, as it has been for the past 10 years or so, and continues to be. Bad timing for Sparty.

Most of the top D1 coaches that I know (if I leave out names is it still name dropping?) believe that Michigan could be a very competitive D1 team very quickly. It's important to remember that the current team, as good as it is, isn't all that relevant to how the team would be as a D1 team 4 or 5 years down the road. I'm not saying they would suddenly become Syracuse or Virginia, but Michigan could definitely become a team that expects to make the tournament every year.

As a club team, the Michigan team and coaches are highly respected by their varsity counterparts. I don't think that's the case with any other club team in the country. That's why they scrimmage so many varsity teams, and it's why Hopkins and Army came out two years ago. Coach Paul has said that they are asked about similar fall events every year by top-20 D1 teams, but until they get suitable facilities done (Elbel Field conversion) to host events like that, they won't do it.


April 20th, 2010 at 12:47 PM ^

It may be the game in the 90's you're referencing, I don't follow the lax program nearly as close as football and basketball (not until like the FF), this info came from a friend that's a huge lax fan.

That said, if SU beat MSU 33-0 when MSU was a D-1 program, imagine what they'd do to them today.

I think UofM would be competitive with the low-level D-1 teams like UDM in the same way that Penn State is competitive with the low-level D-1 hockey programs. It's going to take a significant investment to get to just the level that OSU and ND have reached, but Michigan definitely has the resources to do it.


April 20th, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

That said, if SU beat MSU 33-0 when MSU was a D-1 program, imagine what they'd do to them today.

Dude, you were just shown this game didn't happen. You might as well say "If we lived on Pluto..."

And you're right - Michigan lacrosse would not be a top-tier team initially, and would take time to improve. That being said - the player's we'd get aren't the same as the players we have now - scholarships have a way of attracting better players.


April 20th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

Took me literally 2 minutes to go to the Syracuse athletic site, click on their media guide, and find out their results against MSU. Last time they played was 1994 in the final regular season game. It was at Syracuse. Score was 26-10. A blowout, but not exactly 33-0. Cuse also beat Cornell that season 22-5.

I can't find archives of MSU records, but the Spartans were not very good until their last couple of years. In 1996 they were a top 20 team. Then they got cut. Keep in mind this was before anyone off the east coast was good at lacrosse. Things have changed a lot since then.

Michigan's club team has an overall winning record against Michigan State's D1 team, by the way.


April 23rd, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

That was one cold night, and visibility was truly horrible. Facilities can't fix the temperature, but those lights were horrible. That was, however, a very cool event, very well attended.
EDIT: supposed to be under Tim's post.