Blogs and Commentary

posted 09.04.2012 at 2.45 p.m. by Jac Coyne

USC Takes Steps Toward an MCLA Return

After a year away from the organization, the University of Southern California men's lacrosse program has reapplied for admission to the MCLA for the 2013 season. The Trojans will be accepted back into the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) – one of the 10 conferences that comprise the MCLA – on a tentative basis this spring, according to SLC president Matt Holman.

"[USC] will be a 'provisional member' for 2012-13," Holman said. "Should they fulfill all required game and administrative tasks, then the membership can vote to move them to full membership for the 2013-14 season. They will not be considered for playoffs or MCLA tournament play in 2013."

Southern Cal was ousted from the SLC after the 2011 season when they forfeited a pair of games, including failing to show up for a road game against conference rival UC Santa Barbara on Senior Day.

Non-conference games against USC in 2013 will not count toward a team's three non-league contests necessary to be considered for an at-large berth to the national tournament and will not be considered by the MCLA selection committee, according to Doug Carl, the association's vice president of eligibility. Carl did say that policy would be revisited in an upcoming conference call.

The return of USC isn't a game-changer within the MCLA – the Trojans haven't had a winning record since prior to the '05 season – but it is a tantalizing turn of events for an institution thought to be considering adding lacrosse as a varsity sport.

Last year, USC senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson – who oversaw the addition of the varsity women's program that will start competition in '13 – told's Corey McLaughlin that men's lacrosse was on the athletic department's radar.

"We're exploring the opportunity for men's lacrosse internally," Jackson said. "We recognize how fast the sport is growing, and the popularity from youth lacrosse all the way up. It's something we're really cognizant of. We launched women's lacrosse, and hopefully men's lacrosse is somewhere in our future."

A 200-plus team organization, MCLA is fast becoming a breeding ground for NCAA varsity programs. The University of Michigan last spring and Marquette University in '13 are notable NCAA Division I programs that have made the leap from the MCLA, but Augustana (Ill.), Hope (Mich.), Calvin (Mich.) and Lindenwood (Mo.) have also transitioned in the last two years.

Recently, Eric Barron, the president at Florida State, another MCLA school, told an alumni group that men's and women's lacrosse would be the next sports added at the institution, according to Seminoles head coach Bill Harkins.