Today it was announced that Notre Dame would be moving to the ACC in all sports but football, a move that affects the landscape of collegiate lacrosse. The conference now boasts six of the proudest lacrosse programs in the country, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse, and Notre Dame. They now have six members instead of four and will receive anÂ automaticÂ qualifier (not that it was really needed for these programs). However, the addition could make other ACC schools that do not have a varsity program yet shy away from the idea.
Many ACC schools have considered lacrosse on a varsity level, and most make a great deal of sense. Boston College has been rumored to be very interested, as well as schools like Miami and North Carolina State. One must consider the incredible hurtle a new ACC program would have to face with the current state of the conference.
Traditionally new programs struggle, no matter how big the school or what the conference. Just look at Michigan in there first year, its no easy task jumping into Division I lacrosse. Now imagine that you join the sport and must face arguably the six best programs in the sport. Its quite daunting.
Any ACC school considering joining lacrosse must consider that they could very likely be bad for a good amount of time. Recruiting would come eventually as players would love to play lacrosse in the ACC to go up against the best of the best, but it would be incredibly difficult to outrecruit the established programs. Schools may have to settle for being the fodder that the elite teams feed off of as the march for the post season.
Believing the odds are slim for a school to succeed in the sport it’d be hard to convince people to get behind it. Lacrosse is not a cheap sport, and it takes a great deal of commitment. If a team isn’t successful less fans are interested and the school doesn’t benefit from post-season play. These could all be factors that would scare away interested members.
Syracuse and Notre Dame leave the Big East as the school’s two best programs. It will be interesting to see where the conference goes from here. With most of the big name programs now in one conference it will be interesting to see how that affects the landscape of the sport going forward.