On Saturday August 10 the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association announced that the National Tournament will be held in Orange County, CA. In the press release newly elected MCLA President Ken Lovic stated that the first two rounds of games would be held at UC- Irvine University, while the semi- final and finals would be held at Chapman University. This announcement came out late in the eyes of many team officials and press covering the MCLA.
The other locations that were consider for the National Tournament were Greenville, SC and Phoenix, AZ. With the uptick in complaints by teams about travel and field conditions in Greenville it is no surprise that the MCLA did not seek to continue their contract there.
The biggest problem with moving to the West coast is really the same problem that the MCLA saw with Denver and Greenville, travel distance. Yes the West Coast is a growing lacrosse market and more and more players come from the west, but teams like SUNY- Buffalo, Boston College, SCAD, Liberty, and many other teams on the East Coast must travel 2500 miles to 3000 miles to now attend the tournament. When the cost is thrust upon the players it makes travelling that far cost an impressive amount of money. Yes most teams in the MCLA are West Coast teams but it seems the MCLA is really just placating their majority instead of coming up with a reasonable solution to a national league.
The MCLA needs to actively look for a site that is more of a compromise in distant for East and West coast teams. One of the places that would be a good site is St. Louis, MO. The weather in May is pleasant with wind and rain being the biggest threats. Another good site may be returning to Minneapolis, although many site the fact that Minnesota has had snow in the later parts of April, but it’s really a rarity. Other locations come to mind, most come with a few more weather or lacrosse community concerns, like Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Chicago.
It is nice to see the MCLA try to go to new places and try to grow the brand. It will definitely be interesting to be on the West Coast this season.