We hope the athletic department and IU lax can one day be reunited.
I have always wondered why universities shun most MCLA programs from using the athletic fields that the varsity teams play on. Field time is a serious issue for most MCLA teams. Let’s explore some of the reasons AD’s wouldn’t want club teams using their fields. Please comment on any insight you may have. Definitely interested to see if there is anything that I may have missed, and what situations are like at other schools.
Note: This post is purely investigating the issue from both ends of the spectrum.
Reason #1: Grass.
Say, theoretically, Notre Dame only had an MCLA team. The school is not going to want a club team ruining the perfect grass in their football stadium in February/March, on rainy days, on overcast days, on 70 degrees and sunny days.
Rebuttal: None. The grass obviously takes priority over anything, the expenses to keep it the way it is are probably astronomical.
Reason #2: Facilities need to be available whenever the varsity teams need them.
The varsity programs want to keep the facilities free so that IF the players want to use them, they are able to.
Rebuttal: This is a problem we run into. There are several Spring Saturday mornings/afternoons where I ask my roommate, who happens to play football, if they are using the football field that day. I always get the same response, “No.”
What I have come to figure out over 4 years is that being a division 1 athlete is a full time job. When they are given breaks, they will take them. If there is nothing scheduled, they use the time to rest. They are already at the stadium 6+ hours a day. They aren’t about to just go use the field randomly one Saturday morning. So, I pose the question, what’s wrong with using the field for 2 hours if the players aren’t using it? Not to mention, there are 2 fields designated for football, one inside and one out. Oh yeah, don’t let me forget the two practice fields next to the indoor field. So, there are
2 4 fields designated for football.
Obviously, this is IU specific, but I am willing to bet Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa, any other big time football program has multiple facilities the players can use. Gosh forbid the varsity athletes can’t be in the stadium for 2 hours.
Reason #3: We don’t want the stadium or turf to be ruined.
Club sports are not sponsored by the athletic department. They want to avoid any unnecessary hazards. Why risk a ball ricocheting off a post and breaking a bulb in the expensive scoreboard?
Rebuttal: This question is for Ohio State and West Virginia. You guys are top notch football schools with rich history and tradition in your stadiums. Has anything ever gone wrong?
This reason, though I understand it, doesn’t do it for me. The tiny rubber ball used in lacrosse is not going to bulldoze the stadium to the ground. Nothing is going to get broken, plain and simple.
Mess up the turf? I’m fairly certain the idea behind turf is that it doesn’t get ruined.
Well, we don’t want you to paint it.
Ok, West Virginia plays in their football stadium and uses easily removable tape to line it.
We don’t want tape on the field.
Ok, Illinois State just uses some extra black beads to line the field. It works and all that happens is the beads go into the field after.
Reason #4: We don’t want to be responsible for kids getting hurt.
MCLA players aren’t under NCAA supervision and, thus, not associated with the athletic department. If a kid gets injured under their “supervision” they don’t want to be on the wrong end of a bad situation.
Rebuttal: This one does make sense to me. Even though all MCLA athletes must sign a waiver, the AD’s don’t know that. I guess the only thing I’d say here is that, they do indeed sign a waiver and the stadium is just a site for the game, it would make no difference if the kid got hurt at the rec sports grass field or inside the stadium. They wouldn’t be held responsible.
Reason #5: If one club team gets the stadium, all of them will want it.
Rebuttal: This is a strong case and I agree. It is unfair to be accommodating to one club and not another. I’m all for equality.
I would hope the AD would take the time to look into our club and realize we are more than what the connotation of that dreaded “C” word holds. The MCLA is a serious league that wants to be taken so. I think we are an exception over most, if not all, of the clubs. The amount of fans at the games and the support we get should be a clear indication that this is no recreational activity.
The venue doesn’t have to be the football stadium. Michigan State plays on their Field Hockey field. There are tons of arenas on college campuses that could host a lacrosse game. Perhaps there is a field turf soccer field? Why not.
My best case scenario is if rec sports would build a nice field(s) on campus that clubs can play on. Illinois has this, but even still don’t always get to play on it. Make it so that the serious club teams always have a home field they can rep. Money is obviously an issue for this scenario.
Oftentimes, games must be played at fields that are located off campus. Hopefully more programs in the near future are able to establish on campus, exciting venues that they can be proud of and show off their school.
What do you think? Is it too risky to let club teams use the varsity programs’ fields?
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