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The Big Question

Quint Kessenich, A&S '90, was a four-time All-American goalie at Hopkins from 1987 to 1990. For the past 11 years he has worked as a lacrosse analyst on television broadcasts, most recently for College Sports Television.
Photo by Bill Denison

Q: Why Hasn't Lacrosse Spread Much West of the Mississippi?
A: "Actually it has. While the men's game is not growing at the Division I collegiate level, it's skyrocketing at the high school level. If you look at high school programs in California, there are 117 high schools playing now. There are 37 in Colorado, 58 in Texas. Lacrosse is doing well in Louisville, Kentucky, where 11 schools just started. Washington state has 25 schools now playing. Thirty-two schools in Utah.

"In colleges, club programs at Division I schools are growing like crazy. Right now, there are 87 club teams, including those at Brigham Young, Michigan, Florida State, Oregon — all big schools. They have successful programs and a huge national tournament. But club teams are a double-edged sword. Participation is good, but clubs give athletic departments the ability to say they offer lacrosse without spending money on [varsity programs].

"'Gender equity' is why men's lacrosse is not growing at the Division I varsity level. Title IX guarantees that all male opportunities for scholarships and participation are matched by opportunities for females. Because of the massive numbers that football adds to that equation, it's nearly impossible to add men's Division I sports. Gender equity has been the greatest thing for women's lacrosse because schools want women's scholarship opportunities to offset football.

"Right now there are 54 Division I varsity teams. Next year three schools are adding it: St. John's, Robert Morris, and Bellarmine in Kentucky. But lacrosse could double over the next five years at the high school level. Something's got to give. Where are all those athletes going to play?"

Return to June 2004 Table of Contents

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