The Fresno State Athletic Program has made another questionable decision, but it wonâ€™t be settled in a courtroom.
In an effort to seek Title IX compliance, the Fresno State Athletic Department started off 2008 by announcing two new womenâ€™s sports.
This marks the return of the womenâ€™s swimming and diving team along with the beginning of the womenâ€™s lacrosse program. Swimming and diving â€” smart decision. Lacrosse â€” not so much.
The womenâ€™s lacrosse program is destined for failure.
I donâ€™t understand why the university would add a sport that has no popularity in our own state. Not one high school in the Valley has a lacrosse program.
Only four sections out of ten in California support high school lacrosse programs. This does not bode well for recruiting.
Also, take a look at last seasonâ€™s Top 20 Womenâ€™s Lacrosse Poll: not one team in the poll is in the Pacific Time Zone.
If our university thinks it can keep pace with East Coast powerhouses like Duke, North Carolina and Maryland, it is sadly mistaken.
Womenâ€™s lacrosse athletes are hard to come by and most of the decent players will opt to play at an established program. A new program may be attractive for playing time, but not for success.
This addition may be a financial liability as well. Fresno State will have to travel long distances to find opponents to play. A new facility east of Bulldog Stadium is going to be built as well.
A more suitable option for an additional womenâ€™s sport would have been womenâ€™s water polo.
Lacrosse may be king on the East Coast, but water polo is the extremely more popular sport in California.
Several universities in California, including Pac-10 Conference powers Stanford, Cal and USC, already have water polo programs.
Eleven universities in California have womenâ€™s water polo programs, compared to four that have womenâ€™s lacrosse.
Not to mention the fertile recruiting area we have in the Central Valley. Water polo is extremely popular among Fresno Area high schools.
So now I ask why our university would add an athletic team that is popular in the eastern United States, but has no following whatsoever in California.
It just doesnâ€™t make sense to me.
Donâ€™t get me wrong â€” I will support any Fresno State athletic team. However, adding a sport that no one around here understands or follows is still a mistake.