It's just not Johns Hopkins that is building a new facility for lacrosse and, I am to assume, expansive video game tournaments in a fancy new locker room. No way, man. Mercer -- yes, the program that has played at the Division I level for all of two seasons and holds a 2-25 record in that time -- is getting in on the action, paying contractors to build stuff while they whistle at women and talk about how they can't wait to see Dane Cook live this weekend.
Mercer is nearing completion on a huge capital project that will see the Bears' lacrosse team work within a complex that matches any in the country (save for Moon Base Blue Jay at Homewood Field). As part of the university's facilities upgrade, Mercer's lacrosse program -- as primary co-tenants with the nascent football program -- is heading toward this kind of luxury:
This is in Georgia, people. Georgia. Not Maryland, not New York. This is the kind of investment that overcomes geographic isolation with respect to game; this is what shows program commitment and support; this is what is going to change the paradigm of college lacrosse over the next decade or so.
Outside of the brand spanking new playing surface, there's all kinds of stuff going on here:
- The stadium will accommodate about 6,000 spectators. That may be the kind of capacity that can get a North Carolina or Duke to travel south to Macon to put on a show.
- The field house will eventually include a sports medicine clinic to provide treatment and physical therapy services to Mercer's lacrosse team should they be attacked by alligators or suffer some kind of lacrosse-related injury.
- The field house will include dedicated offices for Mercer's lacrosse coaches (assuming they hire a head coach after Jason Childs' resignation), team meeting rooms, student lounges, a dedicated locker room for the lacrosse program, and a gigantic weight and training room (where I assume a 1962 Volkswagen will be situated for dead lifting in accordance with Mercer's progressive strength and conditioning program).
The facility isn't quite ready for its debut -- the field house will receive its inspection on September 4th and there really isn't anything done yet inside the building -- but this is a strong indication from Mercer that they're serious about lacrosse and what it can mean for their athletic department. There aren't too many college lacrosse programs that have the luxury of standing on equal (or close to equal) footing with revenue sports like football and basketball. This is one of those important moments, people.