Will the NCAA Expand To Canada?

It was announced yesterday that a few new colleges could be added to the NCAA in the next couple of years. One of the teams that was mentioned has a recent history of lacrosse, but is a school many wouldn’t of considered at all. The school is Simon Fraser, who is currently a member of the MCLA. Simon Fraser has won the PNCLL five years in a row. It is a public school of 35,000 people and probably has the best mascot known to man in McFog the Dog. The one unusual thing about the school? It is in Burnaby, British Columbia and would be the first Canadian member of the NCAA.

The NCAA currently has a rule prohibiting non-American schools from entering, which would have to be altered. Simon Fraser was approved by the Division II board, but will take some work. It is expected that they would join as early as 2017. Obviously this relates back to lacrosse, because Simon Fraser Clan would most likely be the first Canadian NCAA lacrosse program.

The move to change NCAA regulations could open doors for more Canadian teams to consider joining the American ranks as well. The CUFLA (Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association) is the current governing body of field lacrosse in Canada, consisting of 12 schools. These schools are Bishop’s University, Brock, Carleton, University of Guelph, Laurentian, McGill, McMaster, Queen’s, Trent, University at Toronto, Western Ontario, and Wilfred Laurier. One would think that at least some of these schools would consider moving up in the collegiate lacrosse world.

The real question is will the NCAA welcome them. I’ve personally never thought the NCAA would be incredibly interested in moving into Canada, but it appears that they at least have some interest. While I doubt the NCAA suddenly welcomes large amounts of Canadian schools, I wouldn’t be surprised if Simon Fraser is not the only Canadian school to join in the coming years. As for lacrosse, it is a huge move for the growth of field lacrosse in Canada. If Canadian teams start playing at the highest level of collegiate lacrosse, of course more people will be interested. It would also encourage more Canadians to play field lacrosse at a higher level and increase the player pool. There are obviously no real disadvantages of this from a lacrosse perspective.

What do you think of the possibility of more Canadian teams joining the NCAA and Simon Fraser already being in the process of doing so? Does it make sense, and do you think any Canadian schools could compete in Division I? Its a very interesting thing to think about, and may be more realistic than anyone really thought.

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