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Why NCAA Should Allow Box Lacrosse as a Sanctioned Sport

After taking part as a spectator for both field lacrosse and box lacrosse games, it is safe to say from the point of view of many supporters and myself, box lacrosse is by far the superior sport of the two. Not only do the spectators and supports agree with this statement, the players as well would rather have box lacrosse as a NCAA sport rather than field lacrosse because of how much more exciting and exhilarating box lacrosse really is.

For those of you who are not familiar with box lacrosse, it is similar to field lacrosse but is played indoors, usually in an ice-rink arena where the ice is removed and played on a cement or field type surface. The rules are much more engaging then field, in the sense that the rules of box lacrosse are very similar to hockey but makes even hockey at times look like a child’s sport. In box lacrosse there are almost no rules, at times you will see players being hip checked to the point they can not even move, getting a plastic stick shoved in their faces, whacked on their legs and arms, or even getting “tomahawked chopped”, which is where one player is running with the ball in their stick and another player comes form behind raises their stick and chops down as hard as they can on the player running with the ball. With the sole purpose to force the player to drop the ball. Nothing goes in box lacrosse.

Box lacrosse is set up a bit differently where there are five runners and a goalie, three forwards and two defences, similar to that of hockey. Whereas field there are ten runners plus a goalie. In box the arena is smaller than a field so the players are more compacted which causes the pace of the game is more quick. Also in box you have the ability to check and hit the players as hard as you want, so it makes it more of a challenge for players to run right through their opponent without getting crushed.

As of right now there are 296 men’s field lacrosse teams and 375 women’s field lacrosse NCAA programs. Ranging from Division 1 to Division 3 schools. Not a single school contains a box lacrosse program and I still do not know why? I have researched it on many occasions and trying to figure out why box lacrosse is not an NCAA sport and to this date it is extremely hard to find any conclusive answers. The best answers I could get from websites is because it is the same sport as field, how would the players from field lacrosse be distributed to the box lacrosse teams, and also where would they play?

  1. Same Sport as Field Lacrosse: I speak for the many lacrosse players when I say, that field lacrosse and box lacrosse are not even the same sport. The rules of each sport are completely different, the pace of the game is not nearly the same, and the biggest difference in the two sports is that in field lacrosse there is no contact, whereas in box lacrosse there is nothing but contact in that sport. So for those who feel it is the same sport are completely wrong.
  2. How Would the Players Be Distributed?: This is a silly statement because just like any other sport for NCAA, players are recruited to be on a team as well as open try-outs. Depending on the season (Spring or Fall) box is played players would be able to play both field and box, and in ways that even saves money for Universities when handing out scholarships to players
  3. Where Would They Play?: Box lacrosse is played on the cement flooring underneath the ice rinks, so it makes it quite easy and convenient for Universities to just melt the ice down and have the box lacrosse played. There is no building costs for new arenas or stadiums cause they can play in the exact same arenas as the ice-hockey arenas. 

This leads me into further points about box lacrosse. For those NCAA representatives who feel that there is no money involved in box lacrosse can think again. The National League of Lacrosse (NLL) is a professional box lacrosse league in North America. The arenas Nationwide sell out on a regular basis. I attended a Toronto Rock lacrosse game a few months back at the Air Canada Centre and the arena was more packed  with fans screaming and hollering every time there was a hit or goal then when the Toronto Raptors played their home games.

Furthermore, the NCAA would not have to deal with stadium costs and building brand new stadiums or arenas for box lacrosse because they can play on the exact same rinks they have built for ice hockey already.

Scholarships can be dual scholarships to most of their incoming lacrosse recruits and Universities would save big since many players will play both field and box lacrosse. Another reason why NCAA should look into adding box lacrosse as a sport because it is a sport where University students and communities would love to come out and watch the upbeat and exhilarating style of play that box lacrosse possesses. NCAA Sports are the biggest reasons why Universities are not loosing money every year, sports bring in millions upon millions of revenue for the Universities. Which is why by adding in another sport like box lacrosse, Universities would pay virtually nothing since the arena’s for the box lacrosse is already set in place and there are people who are demanding and want to watch box lacrosse.

Another case that can be made as to why box lacrosse should be considered as an NCAA sport is because for those who are pursing the professional route like the NLL, which happens to be a box lacrosse league, it will be challenging for players to switch sports and get used to the rules and physicality that box lacrosse contains. So why not form a box lacrosse program in Universities since the lone professional league in North American just so happens to me box lacrosse as well?

Overall, adding in a sport like box lacrosse to the NCAA can do wonders for Universities. It would bring them more money through sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandising and many other business venture because it attracts such a broad range of age groups. The costs of starting a box lacrosse program is pretty inexpensive compared to starting up a sport that would need a brand new stadium. Scholarships cost schools next to nothing in comparison to the amounts of money that college sports bring in, so adding scholarships to one more sport is not a problem. Also the fact that many recruits would love to play both field and box you can offer a scholarship for both sports.

Written By: Matt Ravida

Categories: Lacrosse Tags: , ,