College lacrosse is growing rapidly in the state of Iowa. While this is all fine and dandy, Iowa to this day has no varsity high school lacrosse teams. As lacrosse rises in popularity as a spectator sport, more and more colleges in areas lacking high school programs have begun to add collegiate varsity programs. This is both a brilliant athletic and academic recruiting strategy, which is almost guaranteed to increase out of state enrollment.
Not only has lacrosse become popular in the United States, but across the globe as well. Most teams are compiled of players from Canada and the United States, but it’s become common for players from Europe to appear on NCAA and NAIA rosters. Here at Clarke, the lacrosse team is made up of players from all over the United States and Canada. Freshman Canadian attack Drew Bannister had some comments to share on the topic of lacrosse and it’s rise in popularity.
“Lacrosse really is on a rise in the US and across the world, which means more players like me will be coming to the U.S. for school and lacrosse”, says Bannister. These sorts of opportunities mean more and more kids from across the world are starting to pick up a lacrosse stick in order to try out this amazing sport. For many, the draw of lacrosse comes from the finesse and aggression found within the sport that’s similar to hockey or soccer. It’s fast, skillful, brutal, and downright fascinating to watch.
Clarke University has recently taken on a new lacrosse coach. Coach Morhac, who heads both the Men’s and Women’s programs, is currently starting his second season with the University. Last year he led both teams to school records for most wins in a season. Morhac, along with Louis Deeny, a student assistant, was happy to give some insight as to why so many programs are popping up around the Midwest.
“The answer is primarily enrollment, with the exception of some schools with excess funding”, says Deeny. This essentially means schools will continue to add programs for financial gain.
Morhac agreed, adding “Schools like Saint Ambrose University had club teams then made the choice to add varsity programs due to the boom in high school lacrosse.”
If schools are willing to dip their feet into the water on new sports and take a risk, they clearly have to believe in the growth of the sport. This faith in lacrosse and it’s inevitable popularity extends to women’s teams as well.
“On the women’s side, lacrosse is introduced as a low budget and high enrollment option to balance out Title IX,” says Morhac. Essentially, this means that schools are introducing the women’s game as a way to comply and balance out scholarships with Title IX, a civil rights law which ensures fair financial treatment between men’s and women’s sports.
The lacrosse world by no ways is in ideal condition, but with more growth worldwide and in the college game on both the men’s and women’s side it will soon reach the level lacrosse fans have wanted it to be.
By Tucker LaBelle