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Friday, July 16, 2010

Midwest Lacrosse Conference

On the heels of learning about Augustana, Aurora, and Lindenwood's move to NCAA lax, I was informed of a lacrosse specific NCAA Division 3 conference in our region. The Midwest Lacrosse Conference launched this past (2010) season. Its ten schools are located in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. The conference will have an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship tournament beginning with the 2011-12 season, which is Aurora's first.
With many of its teams near Iowa, this Division 3 conference offers attractive NCAA lacrosse opportunities to current and future players in the state. By and large, these teams will be scouting the stronger leagues in Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin over the newer leagues in Kansas and Nebraska. However, I believe that as the programs look to build stronger teams they will begin to look more closely at our league. Given the fact that game games typically feature at least three teams playing at least two games each in one location, this makes an attractive situation for scouts and coaches. The trick is in getting a team representative to attend the games...
As the schedule and Valley team come together next season, arranging a scouting trip is something that may be considered. Game film is another option that should be pursued by any player looking to play lax at an NCAA institution. But that is not an immediate concern. Unlike MCLA teams, NCAA roster spots are limited and making the team is a competitive endeavor.
Players interested in playing for an NCAA program would be wise to start by looking at these regional schools. In addition to learning about the lacrosse team, academics should be considered. Be sure to pay attention to the majors offered, the expected course loads, and the admission requirements. Weigh that information against your life and career goals. Most have a very limited curriculum compared to a state university. This is a process that you will want to begin before your junior year of high school.
Also look at the housing and cost of attending the school. Most schools of this size are private institutions and can be rather expensive. In many cases the costs can be very prohibitive. Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships. They do offer academic scholarships though.
Here is a list of the member schools:

Institution - Location - Team Name - Affiliation - Enrollment
Adrian College - Adrian, Mich - Bulldogs - Private/Methodist - 1,400
Albion College - Albion, Mich - Britons - Private/Methodist - 1,805
Aurora University - Aurora, Ill - Spartans - Private/Non-sectarian - 1,685
Carthage College - Kenosha, Wisc - Red Men - Private/Lutheran - 2,188
Concordia University Wisconsin - Mequon, Wisc - Falcons - Private/Lutheran - 1,608
Fontbonne University - St. Louis, Missouri - Griffins - Private/Catholic - 2,924
Hanover College - Hanover, Indiana - Panthers - Private/Presbyterian - 975
Milwaukee School of Engineering - Milwaukee, Wisc - Raiders - Private - 1,929
College of Mount St. Joseph - Cincinnati, Ohio - Lions - Private/Catholic - 1,334
Trine University - Angola, Indiana - Thunder - Private/Non-sectarian - 1,111

Update - Iroquois Screwed Out of Opener

Due to the ongoing passport saga of the Iroquois national lacrosse team, the opening game of the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships was forfeited. The team still has not been allowed into the UK and is therefore unable to compete. No resolution is in sight in time for the team to make their next scheduled game, tomorrow vs Hong Kong at 6:00 pm (Manchester time).
For all intents and purposes, Germany and the Iroquois have traded spots in the groupings. Germany played last night against England in the Iroquois stead and were originally scheduled for the game against Hong Kong. Germany moves up the Blue Division and the Iroquois tentatively move down to the Plum.

England had been due to play Germany in an exhibition match after the Iroquois - who might not possibly now competing in this year's tournament - forfeited their opening fixture because of passport problems. But the ILF ruled that Germany would be promoted to the Blue Division - and so the opening match became an official contest instead of an exhibition scrimmage.

This move pushes the English team to the number four overall ranking, directly behind long time rival Australia. England won last night's game 12-3, demonstrating the gap between the bottom of the blue division and the top of the rest.

Aurora University - Another NCAA Lax Program

Clark Physical Therapy defender Patrick Shelton sent me information regarding his alma matter, Aurora University, moving to NCAA lacrosse starting with the 2011 season. This makes yet another Division 3 program in our geographic region and warrants consideration from our players. It is not very often that players have the opportunity to be part of a brand new program, yet I have learned of three within the last week.*

Aurora University, an NCAA Division III institution, beginning in the spring of 2011 will offer a men’s varsity lacrosse team. Mark Walsh, Director of Athletics at Aurora University, said, “We have watched carefully as the sport of lacrosse has emerged in high schools and clubs in the midwest. We believe that there is sufficient interest both on campus and from prospective students to support lacrosse at Aurora University. With the sport of lacrosse played in the spring in the NCAA, we felt this sport would be a good fit and compliment for our current athletic offerings and facilities." AU will begin the programs with current student-athletes who have expressed an interest in the sport, along with incoming student-athletes. The process of identifying and selecting a head coach for the men’s program has begun as well. As dropping sports has become a welcomed trend among college athletics, AU is going against the norm. Those interested in pursuing a career in lacrosse at the college level are encouraged to contact the Aurora University Athletic Department for further information. Aurora University is a member of the Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) which began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006.
Shelton even included a link to the school's Brine King II mock ups.

*I have heard rumors that at least one Division 3 school within the state of Iowa is considering adding varsity lacrosse. The reliability of these rumors is sketchy at best, but it is an interesting thought. My source did not give a specific name, but indicated that the school in question is in the Eastern portion of the state. It is likely that the rumored school would compete against both Augustana and Aurora since neither of their conferences sponsor lacrosse. However, Aurora will be a member of the Midwest Lacrosse Conference.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

World Championships Start Today

The 2010 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships starts today in Manchester. The opening game was scheduled to pit the Iroquois vs the host England. In light of the scandal and its continuing developments, this game obviously will not occur. In fact, the Iroquois may not be able to compete at all. Losing the fourth ranked team and the game's originators is a travesty.

Tomorrow the big dogs take the field as Canada faces Japan and the US meets Australia. The remaining teams/divisions will play their opening games today as well. Thirty nations will be represented in this year's championships:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Iroquois, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, and Wales
This field includes every full member nation, five associate member nations, and no emerging nations.
Associate member nations not participating:
Belgium, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Thailand, and Turkey

Emerging nations include:
Armenia, Belize, Brazil, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Estonia, Ethiopia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Lithuania, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and Uganda

Unfortunately no games are scheduled to be televised. However, you can watch the games online for a fee.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Iroquois Lacrosse Scandal

With the World Championships set to start tomorrow, this black eye is now plaguing our sport and nation. It is a disgrace to the players, fans, and sport.
British Consulate Delay Iroquois Nationals
NEDROW, N.Y. – The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team is scheduled to play the opening game in the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships in England, but the British Consulate has refused to recognize the team’s Haudenosaunee passports and has delayed issuing travel visas while awaiting assurance from the U.S. State Department that the group will be allowed back into the United States.The 23-member team and their entourage of family members, supporters, and fans – around 50 people altogether – are to be fingerprinted for visas at the British Consulate in New York on Monday morning, July 12. The hope is that the State Department will tell the consulate by then that the team and entourage will be allowed to return to the U.S. If that happens, the team will depart for England that evening.

Lacrosse Forums poster Sincere 22 had this to say about the situation:
As of today, the US State Department is refusing to recognize the passports issued by the Haudenosaunee, and thus are eliminating any hope that the Iroquois Nationals team has to compete in this years 2010 World Lacrosse Championships. I find this unacceptable. This team has a citizen from each of the Six Nations representing our people, our culture, our identity, and they are strong athletes playing the Creators gift to us: lacrosse.

Sincere 22 also included a letter from the Iroquois Nationals Team, and our friend Ansley Jemison is the General Manager of the team, that it is supported by every citizens of every Haudenosaunee Territory:

Dear Friends,

The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team's travel documents were declared unacceptable for travel by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security at 4 pm, July 8, 2010. This is traumatic to the Iroquois Nationals' travel schedule and budget. The Board of Directors, Travel Committee, Coaches, Staff and Team of almost 50 people are struggling to convince the Department of State and Homeland Security to accept our travel documents so that our All-American team can compete as a nation against team Canada, team USA, team England, team Australia and team Japan in the premiere Blue Division of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships hosted by England at Manchester from July 15 to 24, 2010. The game of De-hon-tshi-gwa' ehs (Lacrosse) has become an inspiration to a third of the world's youth – 109 countries in all. The long-stick game is a gift to the world from the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. It would be strange – beyond strange, indeed – if the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, the national team of the Haudenosaunee were denied participation in the World Lacrosse Championships by agencies of the United States. We are perplexed by this position taken by the Obama Administration. Since the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team's admittance to the Federation of International Lacrosse in 1983, the team has participated in every world competition as a member nation, flying our own colors, singing our own anthemand traveling on our own Haudenosaunee passports to England (1985, 1994), Australia and Japan. As citizens we have traveled internationally on our own passports since 1977. We do not take this issue of passports lightly. We have traversed our request with the utmost respect for the sovereignty of the nations involved. As Indigenous Peoples of North America, we have over 200 years of treaties and international relations with our brother, the United States. We need your support to help convince the U.S. to accommodate our travel to Manchester, England. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team and Team England are scheduled to open the World Lacrosse Championships at 7:00 pm Thursday July 15th. This is a call for support. We want to ensure that Native Peoples should not be told they cannot leave or cannot return to their homelands. Please contact the White House at 202.456.4771 to express your support for our clearance to leave and return to participate in the World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England, as soon as possible. Let us know you did so by emailing also email White House Indian Affairs senior staff Kimberly TeeHee at and two State Department officials, Kathleen Milton at and Lynn Sicade at

Thank you for your support. When we win, you win.
Day na to, Joagquisho,
Oren R. Lyons
Honorary Chairman

Please read the letter above. Show your support of our American Indian brothers and inventors of the game that we all hold so dearly. Forward this letter to friends and family members that support lacrosse, American Indian rights, or both. Contact the individuals listed within the letter and let them know that you are displeased with their actions.
It is our duty as Americans to respect the rights of our country men, especially those that we have slighted many times in the past. It is our duty as lacrosse players to support those that gave us this game.
Thank you.

Edit: I had this prepared earlier today to post after the scheduled start time for tonight's games (I wanted the cancellation to remain the top). After writing this, forwarding the letter to our league, and writing my own letter to the government officials listed above, I learned of a change in the situation. The US government has given clearance to the Iroquois passports. They are currently awaiting similar clearance from Canada before heading over to Manchester.
The bad news is that the team is scheduled to play in the opening game tomorrow. Considering the jet lag involved, I sincerely hope that another team is able to switch with the Iroquois. In light of the circumstances, I strongly believe our own national team should step forward and play in their stead. However, it looks like they may be forced to forfeit their opening game:
THE Iroquois Nationals are expected to be in Manchester tomorrow for the opening day of the 2010 FIL World Championships. But if they do not turn up in time for their opening match, then they will be forced to forfeit the game. The team are due to face England (pictured right) at 7.30pm in the opening match of the tournament at the University of Manchester Armitage Centre, but have faced travel visa problems over the last few days in their attempt to reach the tournament.

I wonder to what degree the public outcry affected the decision. From what I have gathered, the response by the various tribes around the country was great. But the response from the general citizenry was even greater. New Mexico Governor and former Presidential candidate Bill Richardson even addressed the issue personally in a plea to settle the issue in favor of the Iroquois.

7/15/10 Edit 2: Here is an article that expands on Kurt's comment. It is a shame that the game's originators and fourth ranked team may not be able to compete at all. Ironically, it was a contingent of Iroquois that introduced the game to the British Isles almost a century and a half ago.

Tonight's CILA Summer League Games Canceled

Due to the high temperatures, extreme humidity and heat indexes over 100 degrees at game time, tonight's Central Iowa Lacrosse Association Summer League games are canceled. While I hate cancelling games for any reason, this is the best course of action for tonight. Today is arguably the hottest day of the year so far and the humidity and heat index definitely exceed anything we have experienced in 2010. In addition to the increased potential for illness and injury, the high heat will dissuade many from attending. So in the best interest of every player, we are not having games.
I am hopeful that this will be our only cancellation as next week's temperatures are predicted to be a good 6-10 degrees lower. Last year we managed to play for entire summer with only a minor interruption around this time.
The schedule will be examined and changes will be considered. I am also contemplating make up games.

Moving on up: Augustana

After leafing through this month's issue of Lacrosse Magazine, I noticed a blurb about Augustana hiring a new lacrosse coach - then I noticed that his hiring came about because the program is moving the NCAA in Division 3! Mens lacrosse is now listed as a varsity sport, whereas before it was a club sport through the MCLA. The team begins NCAA play next fall (2011).
From the Vikings' website:

Kyle Hart has been tabbed to direct the first ever men's
lacrosse team at Augustana, it was announced today by Mike Zapolski, director of
athletics. Hart, who has spent the last three seasons as the assistant coach at
Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will assume the head coaching
duties immediately.

With the move, this puts an NCAA lacrosse program squarely on Iowa's border. Augustana is located in Rock Island, IL, just across the Mississippi River and part of the Quad Cities. Its location is ideal for Iowa based talent looking for an NCAA program in our vicinity and may be the first step towards an Iowan playing Major League Lacrosse in the near future. Although Division 3 programs do not offer scholarships, the team will face quality and storied programs from across the nation.

The potential for further lacrosse development in the Quad Cities and Eastern Iowa just took a major step forward. This is a great thing for our sport and state. We would all do well to support this program. Hopefully more will follow.
Augustana also added womens lacrosse as a varsity sport.

As you may know, Valley assistant and CILA co-organizer Tyler Nielsen is an alumnus of the Augustana MCLA team. A graduate of Mason City, Nielsen first played lax as a Viking. I hope to have the opportunity to speak to him soon about his opinions on this move.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rattlers Reborn?

As part of their "national tour" this summer, the Machine recently played a game in Rochester, NY. You may recall that up until last year Marina Auto Stadium hosted the Rattlers since the league's inception. Then the team closed down and the personnel moved to Toronto. This year's event was designed to test the waters with the stadium's new owner, Rob Clark, who also owns the Rochester Rhinos soccer team.
Now it seems that Clark wants to resurrect the Rattlers to compliment his highly successful soccer team. The previous incarnation of the Rochester Major League Lacrosse team won the Steinfeld Cup in their final season before moving to Toronto (where they won it again).
Although the Rattlers name and colors are available, there is a possibility that the team will go with an entirely new identity. Rumors are circling that the Nationals may simply move back due to a stadium issue that saw them evicted from BMO this season. It is also quite likely that the Machine will permanently relocate to Rochester, though statements made by the league indicate that they will continue the road show again next season. Perhaps Rochester 2.0 will mean that the league will slowly increase the number of franchises again...
Either way, resurrecting professional field lacrosse in Rochester is a good move for the city, the league, and the fans. I look forward to seeing the team back in the fold.

Lindenwood University - Moving Up

I recently learned that Lindenwood University is moving its athletic programs from the NAIA to the NCAA. This move obviously affects all 21 varsity teams at the University. But more importantly to those of us in the lax community is what will happen to their fairly successful MCLA club; it is moving up too!
This announcement comes directly from the Lions' website:
Lindenwood plans to have 26 sports programs when it begins play at the NCAA level. These include all 21 sports that currently compete in the NAIA, as well as field hockey, women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s volleyball. Every sport will compete at the NCAA Division II level except for women’s ice hockey and men’s volleyball, which will compete at the National Collegiate level, which includes NCAA Division I schools. Lindenwood’s other sports will compete at the club level.

Granted the move is only to Division 2 so we will not see Johns Hopkins or Syracuse coming to St. Charles, MO on an annual basis or anything. Still, to have a school in our neck of the woods make the jump speaks volumes about sport's growth in the Midwest. Who knows, perhaps a Valley player or two will be recruited during the program's inaugural season...

Tribe 7