This news is a little old, but it just popped up on my Google Reader this weekend. I'm a blogger, not a journalist; yesterday's news tomorrow is good enough for me.
The ghosts of the Bulldogs have risen! The last time that Indianapolis, Indiana, had Division I lacrosse in its backyard was back in 2006 when Butler was meandering through a 4-10 season. That's all going to change on May 19, 2013, though, when the city hosts a pair of NCAA Tournament quarterfinal games at Lucas Oil Stadium.
This is very exciting stuff, and I know this because Tony Seaman said so:
“2013 will be an exciting year in men’s lacrosse as we take one of the quarterfinals to a newer grass roots area in the mid-west, and we return one to the state of Maryland, a place widely known for lacrosse,” said Tony Seaman, Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee chair and special advisor to the director of athletics at Towson.
“The committee felt moving one of the quarterfinals to a different geographic part of the country would aide in growing the sport of lacrosse, which is one of our most important goals. Both quarterfinal sites will play the games in top-notch facilities, and have staffs that are experienced and well-equipped for putting on a great championship event for all involved."
Byrd Stadium -- with its new playing surface that was created, fabricated, and marketed from the future! -- is the other quarterfinals site for next season's tournament.
So, is this a good idea, moving an important tournament double-header to the middle of the country, an area with only two Division I teams -- Notre Dame and Ohio State -- within a short drive from Indianapolis? Answer: I have no idea; if I could see the future, you can bet your ass I'd be swimming in a pool full of gold coins because I'd have Biff Tannen'd the hell out of the gambling industry. Regardless, some thoughts:
- I have no clue what attendance will look like. With campus sites hosting the first round and Philadelphia hosting Championship Weekend the week after the quarterfinals, it'd be pretty reasonable to assume that east coast folks may not trek to a place dominated by threshing machines and instead put that cash toward shooting to College Park and Lincoln Financial Field. The lacrosse community in the Midwest is going to need to drive this site, and given how the game is growing in that area of the country, it could be a big boon for Lucas Oil Stadium. There is potential with Indianapolis, and if the site can pull it off, we may be looking at a situation where the NCAA gives a place like Denver -- one of the hottest areas for the game right now -- a shot at hosting quarterfinals or, as has been talked about, Championship Weekend proper.
- It's interesting that Indianapolis will be the Sunday site while College Park will have the Saturday twin-bill. I'm not sure the process that went into that decision, but it smells like the NCAA was trying to maximize its draw in Maryland -- still the heart of the game -- and give teams going to Indiana an extra day to finalize any travel plans. Or it was just arbitrary. Whatever.
- In the overall, I like giving Indianapolis a shot at this, but fans and schools in the Northeast aren't going to be thrilled about this. A bus trip (and an easy car trip for fans in the region) is now replaced or totally removed. It's Philadelphia or nothing for the Northeast this year, and given Championship Weekend's attendance woes over the last few years, this may, in the end, be a good thing for college lacrosse's biggest event. All those trips that may have been made to a different "northern" region may, instead, be focused exclusively on hitting up Philadelphia. That's not the worst situation in the world.