University of Virginia

Richmond and lacrosse

The University of Richmond is in the midst of a disagreement over the recent decision taken by the board of trustees to make some changes to the sports programs.  Men’s soccer is to be replaced with men’s lacrosse and men’s indoor and outdoor track will be eliminated as well.  The dicussion is both emotional and complex, and both sides have important points.

But the trend toward lacrosse is not just a U of R thing.  Lacrosse is being used at some schools to attract desirable high school students.  The USA Today wrote about it last spring here.  Quoting in part:

Lacrosse players are desirable for several reasons, but the main one is that they tend to be what enrollment professionals call “full-pay” students, or students whose families tend not to qualify for need-based aid. Because of that, they must pay an institution’s sticker price unless the college offers non-need-based grants and scholarships.

According to USA Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, lacrosse players tend to come from more educated households than the general population, with 85% of adults involved in the sport as either players or parents having graduated from a four-year college. They also tend to be wealthier. Less than 10% of lacrosse players come from households with incomes of less than $50,000, and nearly 75% of all lacrosse-playing families value their primary residence at $200,000 or more.

That certainly is a desirable group.  The article does not give comparable demographic information for soccer players, and soccer as a sport seems more popular across the country and across the population.  Lacrosse seems to be faster growing.  At the college level, the administration has to consider the number of scholarships and the different sports offered.  There’s no question it is complicated. 

It serves as a good reminder for all students that just because a college offers a program you are drawn to, whether it is academic or athletic, it does not mean that things cannot change.  Budgets are cut and academic offerings and majors are removed all the time.  Entire degree programs are jettisoned.  Do your homework.  Read school newspapers.  Talk to professors or coaches about the future if those things are important to you.  There are no guarantees, but if you do your due diligence, and you don’t choose a college for one single reason, you’ll stack the odds for a good outcome in your favor.