Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, June 6, 2013
When it was announced that Pitt, Syracuse, and Notre Dame would be joining the ACC in 2013, the first thought on everyone's mind was "wow, that will be an amazing basketball conference." One could even argue that it would be the best basketball conference in the NCAA.
But basketball may not be the sport that the ACC is the most dominant in. That sport would be lacrosse.
The ACC currently has four teams that participate in NCAA Division I competition. Those teams are North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and Maryland. For 2013, Syracuse and Notre Dame will be added into the mix. So what is so special about these six teams?
Well, since the NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship was founded in 1971, only nine teams have won a national championship. Of those nine, five of them will be in the ACC next season, accounting for 24 of the 42 championships. Also, at least one ACC team will have participated in 39 of those championships, with seven games made up solely of ACC membership. The newly added Syracuse Orange can account for ten of those championships (plus one vacated championship in 1990) and 17 of the 39 appearances. That, my friends, is domination.
So what about Pitt? The Panthers have a men's lacrosse team competing in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association, and at a high level over recent years. Pitt would finish second in their conference each of the last two seasons, and were seeded tenth in the 2012 MCLA Division I National Championships.
Is there a chance that the Panthers will move up to the NCAA Division I level? Marisa Ingemi of the "In Lacrosse We Trust" blog thinks the move makes sense as she stated in a Cardiac Hill fan post from 2011.
Major League Lacrosse has an abundance of Pitt alum in the front offices, and the newly minted Ohio Machine franchise GM is a former Panther. It would certainly create a buzz of Pittsburgh lacrosse in the pro lacrosse world, and continue to grow the sport in Pittsburgh.
If this move is going to happen, we can only hope that it is sooner rather than later. Being part of the most dominate conference in the fastest growing sport in America can only have a positive impact on both the university and the youth of Western Pennsylvania.