An Internet Find: The Curious Case of Michigan State Varsity Lacrosse


I was poking around the internet the other day while searching for something I can’t remember and came across this article from December 2016, which was an analysis of what happened to the varsity lacrosse program at Michigan State.

I know a lot of the readers on this site probably had no idea that long before the University of Michigan went Division 1 varsity status a few years ago that their main in-state rival in all sports was long entrenched as a Division 1 program themselves.

I’ve put this up with a link to the article because it will give readers insight into why the spread of the sport at the D1 level has been slow and why it’s been limited lately to mostly colleges that are not part of the Power Conferences, like the SEC and the Pac 12.  Many of you have asked me about the spread of the sport in Florida and why certain schools haven’t gone ahead with a new program and much of that is covered here.  I commend the author for really doing his homework!

This should also be considered in tandem with yesterday’s articles about the decisions that young men and women need to make since you can see from these statistics embedded in the article that there is a HUGE disparity in the number of high schools that have started (2,333 in the past 35 years) and the number of D1 colleges (21 since the same time) and maybe realize that D1 aspirations are pretty unrealistic for the overwhelming majority of young players.


Here’s an excerpt of the article and a link to read the rest:


EAST LANSING, Mich. — January will mark the 20th anniversary of Michigan State varsity men’s lacrosse program being cut by the athletic department and turned into a club sport.

The disbanding of men’s lacrosse, in 1997, came alongside the removal of men’s fencing and the addition of women’s crew to comply with Title IX.

Lacrosse, one of the fastest growing sports in the country, still survives at Michigan State. The club team posted an 8-5 record this past season, and won the conference championship. The Spartans also reached the MCLA tournament.

Discussion and hope still linger for MSU to restore its varsity program, but the university is not yet on board. The MSU athletic department would not comment if there has been any recent discussion about moving the club lacrosse program to the varsity level.

“Currently Michigan State is focusing on getting its 25 other sports up to a competitive national level,” said Michigan State Athletic spokesperson Matt Larson.

For MSU, remaining afloat financially is the main reason to not add lacrosse back to varsity. MSU is in the minority by being one of the 24 athletic departments that operate in the black, according to the 2014 NCAA Revenues and Expenses of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics Programs report.

“It would be a misnomer to think that there’s all this extra money laying around. The athletic department is self-sustaining and we continue to try and support our 25 sports the best we can,” said Larson. “As you’re looking across budgets keep in mind there’s also operational budgets, travel, facilities, salary and benefits. So when we say were a self-sustaining department our focus is making sure that were putting those 25 sports in the best position they can be to be successful.”


Read the rest HERE

I think it is well worth the time to read this.


(Visited 32 times, 1 visits today)

One Comment

  • costerink

    Thanks for finding this. I had read it also. My son, who played at Seminole HS, is currently playing on MSU’s club team. They are very competitive in the MCLA, but it would be nice to see them make it a varsity sport.