If you’ve attended the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four the decade or so, or even followed it on TV, what we are about to say should hardly come as a surprise.

But you won’t hear it from those with blind allegiance to the sport’s age-old, tradition-rich and proud home base of Baltimore.

We get it. It’s a natural tendency for many to cling to the past. To do what’s comfortable and convenient.

However, the hard fact is that lackluster attendance for the NCAA Final Four and championship game in Baltimore makes this abundantly clear to anyone who is objective enough to see it: It’s time for the Final Four to move beyond Baltimore.

The traditionalists who have their own Baltimore-based agendas will never say that.

We just did.

Those traditionalists will always stubbornly — and, in fact, delusionally — cling to the past. They will resort to issuing desperate, awkward and clumsy pleas for fans to attend the Final Four in Baltimore in hopes of maintaining its once-strong grip as host site for the showcase event of the nation’s fastest growing sport.

News flash. The sport has grown beyond its traditional roots.

It’s time to leave the past behind and go where the action is — and where the players are.

And that’s the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tristate region.

Just look at the numbers, folks.

Between finalists Duke and Notre Dame, 36 players hailed from the tristate, an area with a population of well over 12 million (compared to 600,000 for Baltimore).

Numbers don’t lie, just as the lackluster attendance figures for Final Four weekend in Baltimore show.

And facts are stubborn things.

So the only question now is where in the tristate should the Final Four be held?

Met Life Stadium (formerly Giants Stadium) is a natural. Those who advocate playing the event on a college venue may throw out Army’s Michie Stadium, or even Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, though it is outside the immediate tristate region.

Either are excellent options.

Some have supported playing the Final Four at another time besides Memorial Day Weekend. We disagree. Playing the Final Four over Memorial Day Weekend makes the Lacrosse Final Four the signature sports event of one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year.

One thing is clear. It’s time for the game to move to where the action is — the tristate region — and not cling to its past, no matter how glorious it was.

The last time we checked our calendar, it read 2014, not 1964.

Baltimore will always have an important place in lacrosse. But as a marquee venue for its showcase events, its time has passed.

Have a recruiting commitment to report? Send an email to, contact Joe Lombardi directly at or send a Tweet to @Joe_Lombardi or @LaxLessons. Video Specials

Click here for “Top 5 in 5,” team spotlights and other video features.

Get in the Zone: The HS Zone

High School Zone: Long Island

High School Zone: Hudson Valley

High School Zone: Connecticut

High School Zone: New Jersey

High School Zone: New York City

High School Zone: Upstate New York

High School Zone: New England

High School Zone: Pennsylvania

High School Zone: Maryland

High School Zone: Canada

High School Zone: Beyond the Northeast


Recruiting coverage

* Updated tristate recruiting commitment rundown for Class of 2014

* Updated tristate recruiting commitment rundown for Class of 2015

* Updated tristate recruiting commitment rundown for Class of 2016

* Updated tristate recruiting commitment rundown for Class of 2017

* Class of 2013 commitment rundown by high school/prep school

* Recruiting commitment story archive

* 2012 National Letter of Intent Fall Signing Week story/photo archive

Be a Lacrosse Insider

Apps for iPhone/iPad

* Download for free the new LaxLessons’ playbook Android app in Google play.

* Download for free the new LaxLessons’ playbook iPad/iPhone app in the iTunes store.

* You can subscribe to’s playbook, featuring animated drills and plays for your team, by clicking here.

Connect with us

* Follow LaxLessons on Twitter by clicking here.

* Become a Fan of LaxLessons on Facebook now by clicking here.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Be sure to sign up for our free online newsletter. Just enter your email address on the “Receive Our Newsletter” link on the homepage of



Posted In: College lacrosse

If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page.

One Response to “Analysis: It’s time for lacrosse’s Final Four to leave Baltimore behind”

  1. Lenny Vasullo says:

    It’s nice to think that a simple change of venue will help the “explosive” growth of the sport, but truth be told, the sport is growing but not exploding and the venue is not the problem.

    What is the problem? A genuine lack of interest in the mainstream sports audience. The (TV/attendance/media) numbers do not lie. The more the general public is exposed to the sport the louder their yamn becomes.

    Lacrosse can delude itself from now until doomsday that its growth is explosive and wonder how it’s going to manage such “enormous” growth, or it can look genuinely at where it is failing and address the game as a whole. The game is trapped well below 1 million players and in no danger of breaking that barrier any time soon.

    The lack of a legitimate pro game, coupled with; the lack of minority players, uncompelling slow-footed athletes, boring playbooks, a collectively poor transition game, skinny players wearing baggy pants and shirts that make them look anemic, a snobbish history, poor coaching (half the teams in DI can’t perform a simple coma or AJ), lackluster TV coverage, condescending broadcasts that insist on teaching the rules and tips of the game, no tangental off-field media….on and on, choose a metric. Did I mention the lack of a legit pro game?

    Venue change? Fine. Didn’t they do that to Philly a few years back? I can’t remember because it was so unimportant.

    The fact is, lacrosse is over-coached, over laden with “specialists”, overweight with slow people and just plain boring. You want truly explosive growth? Get better athletes to play and attract them through a fast-paced transition game. In the meantime, move the final four wherever you want and watch the attendance numbers bounce lazily around like a ping pong ball that has a hole in it.

    But make no mistake. The author here has it exactly right…in order for the game to truly grow out side of grade thru high school participation step number one is for the Old Guard to go.

    Good luck, I have to go now, girls softball is on ESPN (the main channel) for the millionth night in a row and the ratings are going up. Bye.

Leave a Reply