Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have recently received a few suggestions/questions regarding starting a men's lacrosse team.

The primary argument to start a varsity men's lacrosse team is that it would be a good fit at the University of Richmond. The northeast is a lacrosse hotbed and is where the University recruits a high percentage of the student body. A perfect example is our women's lacrosse team...22 of the 24 members of the team are from the northeast. The admissions office tells me that they believe having a men's lacrosse program would be beneficial in the recruitment of academically strong male students to this campus.

Now, as they say, here is the rest of the story...Usually, when an organization is thinking about "doing more", finances are an issue. That is certainly the case with the prospect of adding a men's lacrosse team. Here are a couple significant financial issues:

1. We are currently one of the very few football playing Division I institutions that is in full compliance with the provisions of Title IX. For us to add men's lacrosse and remain in compliance with Title IX, we would need to either cut a men's sport that had about 30 student-athletes or add about 30 spots for female student-athletes to offset the additional number of males playing lacrosse. Obviously, this can't be done by just adding more student-athletes to each of the women's teams. We would need to add at least one other women's sport. Adding at least two sports would significantly impact the athletic operating budget [i.e., salaries, travel, equipment]

2. Scholarships are also an issue. If we started out with a non-scholarship men's lacrosse team our competitiveness would be questionable. I think very quickly the supporters of the men's lacrosse program would want to add athletic scholarships and be more competitive. To comply with Title IX, we would need to add additional athletic scholarships for our female student-athletes to balance this increase in scholarships for the male student-athletes. At $43,000+ for each scholarship, this becomes very pricey.

At the University of Richmond, the athletic department is expected to operate with a balanced budget. The department does receive an annual subsidy from the University to help us accomplish this. But, we have to work very hard to balance our budget every year. Clearly, there are no athletic funds available to support adding new sports. Adding a men's lacrosse team could only happen if the athletic department dramatically cut the funding of other sports or the University determined that adding a men's lacrosse program was important enough to increase the athletic subsidy.

With all that said, you should know that we regularly review the sports that we field and will continue to review the pro's and cons of adding sports such as men's lacrosse