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Here is my thought of the week.  I did a little research and confirmed what I thought.  The University of Michigan is among the top selling in overall merchandise #1 in 2008.

What greater way to help give exposure to our game than wearing some Michigan Lacrosse apparel.

Honestly, and no disrespect intended, as great as the “standard” lacrosse marketed teams are, I am less than enthusiastic about buying yet another Syracuse or Hopkins hoodie.

On another note, how about the Men’s Team USA announcing their list of 84 players to tryout?

Not many surprises, except, I didn’t see Mikey or Casey Powell on that list…

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usc_laxProps to “The” Adam Shuman from U South Carolina for sending me a SC Lax shirt.

How cool is that!?

I am at my gym yesterday Parisi Speed School in Morris Plains, NJ where the training is very Delbarton Lax intensive and I get stopped by no less than 3 varsity players commenting on where I got it.

I am a bit on the horse of the MCLA, not just because they did a feature article on me in this months issue, but because I believe it to be the “real” concentrated growth in the game today.

Think about it.  Huge student bodies, legit alumni, on the map for TV and continuous recognition for the caliber of athlete deciding to play MCLA versus D2 or D3.

Ask yourself the question, would you rather play D2 or D3 at a small virtually unknown school or rock out playing high level club at eerrr!!!

Texas?? Or USC where the Girlz are pretty???

What do you think?

This legendary line to a popular song in the 70’s has been likened to the lackluster success of Dave Gross’s MLL going from 10 teams to 6.

To Industry insiders this should come as no surprise as Tickets Sold + Merchandise + Televsion and Media Coverage = Success.  As opposed to minimal fans + minimal merchandise + average television and media support = A Failing Entity.

If you ask Dave, he will assure you this is not the case ‘blah, blah, blah’.

I am not the first person to suggest that the MLL will continue to fail until he gets reassigned, replaced  or flat out cut from the roster, even though he will tell you that I am the only one.  The MLL has a ton of talent (on the field that is), a decent base of teams (cities), some real characters (in a good way) and a small but loyal fan base (in 2 cities).

Believe it or not, I would like to see the MLL succeed.  I have been talking this talk for 3 years now and feel like a broken record.  I even had a quality customizable product that would be a no brainer for the MLL to sell with their logos and a hefty profit margin.  Dave Gross wouldn’t consider the deal.  Dave Gross wouldn’t consider the deal.  I believe that giving someone who is not involved with his inner circle credit for a deal is something he is not interested in doing.  The bottom line is that most of the comments and criticisms come directly from player and or management in the league.

I am happy I don’t play.

Moving onto another topic.  Let’s try an experiment.

Ask any teenage laxer between the ages of 10 and 15 years old.  Ask them to name any 10 colleges that first come to mind.  Not lacrosse colleges, but just college’s.   I bet that at least 4 out of 10 are MCLA “club” universities.

How about U of Michigan, Michigan State, South Carolina, Oregon, Southern California, Texas and Texas A&M to name a few.

How cool would it be to see a Michigan Lacrosse hoodie???

This gear is available, but not from our standard buying options like the few Lax dominant catalogs and retail stores.  At this point we have to dig a little deeper.  Use your search engine of choice and search one of these programs.

You should see an online store with various pieces of gear.

Wait until you see the looks of disbelief as to where you scored that piece of swag lax gold!!

The Agent

With the game of lacrosse growing at such a rapid pace, it’s tough to keep up with all the teams, gear, moving of professional teams and new faces of stardom.  But hidden beneath all the hype of the top NCAA teams and MLL / NLL all-star games is the growth of the game at the college club level.

The club game has emerged and is flourishing at both huge universities and smaller schools all over the country.  Its growth has gone unnoticed by many following the game.  If you are a lacrosse traditionalist, you would not believe the amount of established teams and leagues that are available to college athletes these days.  And yes, they have sweet jerseys, helmets, gloves, droves of fans coming out to their games and National Championship weekends!

As the women’s game is moving to the NCAA at many schools in Middle America and out West, the men’s teams at most schools do not have the opportunity to move to NCAA status for participation reasons. (Yes, Title IX)   But that is no reason for these teams to lose a competitive edge or even recruit some insane athletes.  It just means that these student athletes have an alternative to play college lacrosse at the ‘club’ level. 

Having personally played with and against many college club players, I found myself amazed at the organization, competitiveness and skill level of some of these teams.  It didn’t even cross my mind to go the college club route when I was choosing where to play ball.  Imagine going to schools such as USC, Arizona or Oklahoma to play lacrosse!?  I didn’t.

While playing in a Hero’s game one summer in Annapolis, MD, I found myself guarding an in shape and talented youngster who had a local area high school helmet on.  I asked him where he was going to school next year and he said, “University of Florida”.  I thought to myself, “Florida…REALLY!?”  It turns out that there was more to lacrosse than what I knew. 

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The largest of the college club leagues is the MCLA (Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association).  According to their website, “The MCLA currently operates in the US and Canada with 213 teams in two divisions, across ten conferences.”   That’s right, 213 teams!!!  With huge schools such as Michigan State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, BYU, UConn, and 200+ others paving the way, the MCLA is filled with great lacrosse and the complete college experience.  

But it doesn’t just stop there.  The NCLL (National College Lacrosse League) has over 100 teams participating as well.  The NCLL contains some schools with varsity programs at all levels but that’s a lot of teams playing the sport of lacrosse.

In 2008, the defending NCAA National Champions, Johns Hopkins University made a trip out to Ann Arbor to scrimmage the highly ranked MCLA University of Michigan team.  This wasn’t only a huge deal for the folks at Michigan, but this was also a big deal to folks who did not know about what the club game had to offer.  Personally, I think it opened the eyes of many high school players who were making their own choices of where to continue their careers.

In due time, some of these teams will be making their way to the NCAA level and it will forever change our sport.  In a positive way!

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