Report: Florida State looking into adding lacrosse

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By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
July 11, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On Monday, the college lacrosse blog CollegeCrosse.com published a report with emails from Florida State leadership that indicated the university is interested in adding division one lacrosse.

The story, written by Safe Fekadu, includes emails that the site obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request after

One of the more interesting emails found in the report came from one sent in 2015 in an email exchange between FSU Athletic Director Stan Wilcox and FSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Vanessa Fuchs. Fekadu notes in his story;

"Also in late May, Fuchs forwarded Wilcox an email that he wrote back on February 23, 2015 in a response to another alum who was interested in Florida State adding men’s soccer. The position at the time was that the school was “tentatively discussing plans to add the sport of women’s lacrosse in the next 4-5 years” and that if the school wanted to add men’s soccer too, that it would need to add at least one additional women’s sport (not counting women’s soccer or women’s lacrosse) to be compliant with Title IX. Fuchs felt that the university could re-engineer the email to substitute men’s soccer with men’s lacrosse to use in their response to the alum that Jennings wrote about back on May 17 of this year.

From Wilcox’s 2015 email:

'Based on our current sport offerings and participation rates, we are obligated to increase our female student-athlete participation rates to comply with Title IX. We are in the process of completing a 5-10 year master facilities plan which will include a proposed facility for the addition of a new women’s sport. At this time, we are tentatively discussing plans to add the sport of women’s lacrosse in the next 4-5 years (approximate start-up & year 1 cost: $6.35 million; approximate recurring annual cost: $1.5 million).

The addition of men’s soccer, based on the average squad size for this sport, would require our athletics department to add one to two additional women’s sports teams (even after adding women’s lacrosse) to offset the increase in male student-athlete participants.'"

"That one really caught our attention," Fedaku noted, especially since Wilcox's response was coming on the heels about a question regarding adding men's soccer to FSU.

If a program were to come to Florida State, especially on the men's side, it would tremendously help the ACC, who is considered one of the best conferences in the sport, but who also only fields five teams, one fewer than is needed for automatic-qualifying status for the NCAA tournament. As of the 2018 season, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia are the only programs who field a men's program.

And, while each of those five schools are powerhouses in the sport, the Seminoles wouldn't be as far behind the 8-ball as some might think.

"If you're a school like Florida State, playing in a conference like the ACC, you're going to be a magnet for kids who are going to smaller D1 schools or D3 schools or who didn't have an outlet just because there aren't that many programs that play D1," Fedaku said.

He compared a potential FSU team to that of Michigan, who began playing in 2012, who had success in their first three years before running into some kinks playing in an incredibly talented Big Ten.

One of the crux's of Fedaku's article, and the conversation around FSU lacrosse as a whole, is that of a women's program.

"Administratively, it's easier to get women's lacrosse first, because of Title IX," Fedaku said.

Title IX comes up a lot in his reporting and came up often in our conversation, but if women's lacrosse does come to Tallahassee, it may be a better situation than elsewhere in the state.

For all the successes the University of Florida has had in their brief D1 history, there's one advantage an FSU women's team would have right away - a familiar conference. The SEC does not field women's lacrosse, so Florida competed in the Big East conference before moving to the American Athletic Conference for this past season.

The ACC has eight teams. Along with the five who sport men's programs, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Louisville play the women's game.

Whether you're talking about the potential for a men's or women's program, Fedaku says either squad will have no problem getting players.

"The south is rich potential for lacrosse," he said.

While some schools or athletic directors may just float the idea of starting a new program, Fedaku and the College Crosse staff think there's something to this.

"I really think the comments made by Thrasher in mid-May was definitely a signal," he said when asked about how soon the sport could come to FSU. "At the very least, it was much more than a trial balloon to see people's reaction. I think it was more 'If you're interested in this idea, we're seriously thinking about it.'"

If FSU were to start a program, they'd be the second men's program in the state, along with Jacksonville (who began play in 2010) and they'd be the fourth women's program, along with JU, Florida and Stetson.



 
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