With the growth of lacrosse in Colorado and the United States in recent years, many schools have begun to add Men’s Lacrosse as a varsity sport. Fort Lewis added Women’s Lacrosse as a varsity sport in 2009, and the program has quickly grown more competitive in every season since. Local RMAC rivals Colorado Mesa and Adams State have also added varsity men’s programs from the ground up and have seen their enrollment numbers and facilities improve as a result. Several MCLA teams have made the transition to varsity in multiple divisions, most notably The University of Michigan last year.
The question has come up in recent years, “Why isn’t Fort Lewis varsity?” The reasons for Fort Lax not being added as a varsity sport are numerous and valid, from Title IX to a lack of funding, and skepticism over whether it help increase enrollment. Lacrosse has been a club sport at Fort Lewis since 1985, and has remained competitive throughout that history, listing multiple All-Americans and deep runs into the playoffs. All the while, Fort Lewis has built a reputation as a fun place to play, with a underdog attitude and a high-scoring style. The real question may be, is varsity the right fit for Fort Lax?
The MCLA and RMLC provide Fort Lewis competition with traditional opponents, while allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere that fits the personalities of many guys on the team. Players can play at FLC without losing NCAA eligibility if they do wish to transfer, and the cost is lower than that of most Division 1 club teams. Going varsity could change the culture of Fort Lewis Lacrosse. It would definitely mean the end of an era. Then again, a Native American sport being played at a high level at a school where Native American students attend tuition free could be the recipe for a powerhouse and a unique lacrosse environment. This is a debate that could go on and on, so we are asking you to share your opinion. Varsity or Club…which is better for Fort Lax’s future?