December 23, 2013

Stories of the Year: Controversy and Debate

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

The Iroquois Nationals will play in the top division of the 2014 FIL World Championship after a 2013 that saw much debate over the Nationals' status.
© Rich Barnes

As in other walks of life, there was no shortage of controversy and debate in lacrosse in 2013...

Early recruiting continues to get earlier, with a handful of high school freshman making verbal commitments to college programs in September after showing their skills at summer recruiting events.

A pair of lawmakers in February introduced a bill in Maryland that would have required headgear to be worn during girls' youth practices and games. But following input from US Lacrosse on continuing efforts to increase safety through the development of headgear specific to women's lacrosse and standardized, mandated coaches and officials education, the delegates pulled the bill from the House floor.

2011 Tewaaraton Award winner and No. 1 overall MLL draft pick Peter Baum chose to play on the LXM Pro Tour over MLL.

Indoor pro Lewis Ratcliff tested positive for using two forms of steroids and a prohibited pain medication during the Mann Cup, the senior amateur championship of Canada. He received a two-year ban that will end Nov. 9, 2014, but his NLL status remained unchanged.

The line demarking abuse from tough coaching continues to be fuzzy and complicated. At Rutgers, which was reeling from an embarrassing situation involving its former men's basketball coach, men's lacrosse coach Brian Brecht was suspended by the school for the last two games of the regular season pending an investigation into allegations of verbal abuse. Rutgers players, parents and alumni rallied in support and Brecht was reinstated after the season. Meanwhile, the Louisville Courier-Journal published a report in October in which former players and parents alleged abusive behavior by women's coach Kellie Young. Two days later, the school said it would not discipline Young.

NCAA men's championship weekend attendance continued a six-year downward trend, causing event organizers to rethink the event's financial model and consider non-NFL venues for future sites. Total three-day attendance has dipped below 80,000 in each of the last two seasons in Foxborough, Mass., and Philadelphia. This year's event will be held at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium and in December the NCAA announced Philadelphia will host 2015 and 2016 men's and women's championship weekends. The NCAA championships commmitee will continue to evaluate the event and name sites for 2017 and 2018 at a later date.

And finally, a recently resolved matter: The 28 full-member nations of the Federation of International Lacrosse voted in June to amend its bylaws to allow the Iroquois Nationals to play in the top division of the 2014 FIL World Championship, and later the FIL general assembly voted to put the Iroquois in the Blue Division and relegate Germany to a lower division as if it finished seventh in 2010 in last world championship in Manchester, England. Due to passport issues in 2010, the Iroquois technically placed 30th and under the bylaws a team is seeded for the next world championship based on its previous finish. The Iroquois appealed twice, the latter to the FIL general assembly.

This story originally appeared in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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