A debate this week has been college lacrosse being played in the winter months. Lacrosse Magazine ran an interesting feature on it with quotes like “You’re missing a huge opportunity to generate interest in the sport when you’re playing all of these games, and they might as well be played in Siberia,” from ESPN analyst Eamon McAnaney.
Albany coach Scott Marr also said, “Sure, we can play our sport in the cold, but it really kills our crowds. And sometimes you have to stop running them at practice and do some teaching. More of our kids are getting hurt this time of year, with tight muscles and hamstrings. [This trend] has got to stop.”
The staff this week decided to debate it ourselves, so here are our thoughts on if college lacrosse season should be pushed back.
Andrew Goldberg (NCAA GameDay Live): Absolutely, while it stunk as a former player to have a prolonged preseason with little competition against other teams outside of scrimmages, it would increase attendance at games and also be better for athletes to play in. Plus from a television perspective, would I rather go against the meat of the NFL draft and NBA homestretch and march madness, or the beginning of the MLB season which is 162 games long?
Preseason may suck but playing in warmer weather and having more fans is a definite plus.
Ian Neadle (VP of Content): Ultimately, no. As a spectator, fan and critic of the game I would love to be able to watch games in more comfortable, warmer weather. Pushing the season back a month would enable the season to take place in more forgiving weather elements.
However, these student athletes are unpaid and not compensated. They already shorten their academic breaks to return to campus early for different trainings during different semesters. They would then be forced to postpone their personal summer plans to stay an extra month (they already attend playoffs approximately two weeks beyond finals). That is not fair to them or the families of all involved that look forward to the time together.
If players were compensated, it would be another story. Compensation aside, the MLL is one of few sports leagues that holds their annual player draft BEFORE a rookie’s final college season. By extending/postponing the NCAA season a month, it would interfere with the transition time already allotted to the rookies. They would not be nearly as prepared for professional league(s) play.
Alex Urquhart (MLLTalk): I believe that moving the start date back is an idea that would change college lacrosse, possibly not for the better. College lacrosse at the moment sort of fills a hole in sports at this point in the season of sports. It is a sign of the coming spring. Plus when you think about it was only a few years ago that we were complaining that the season didnt start early enough with such beautiful weather outside.
I also think it suits the type of game we have been seeing in the last few years. Many teams have gone to a grittier game and gone away from a more fines game. With that I think it makes for a more interesting start to the season, how many 1 goal games have we had in the early part of the season, although some games have een postponed this year because of the weather.
Overall I’d say don’t change a thing, yet.
Brendan Chamberlain (NCAA Lead Columnist): From column on December 17th The 2014 season begins on February 1st when Furman hosts Lehigh. Gone are February being a month for scrimmages and March and April for games. The season has to be reworked. It might be time to move Championship weekend to June. Traditionalists will say bah humbug, I say let’s embrace change.