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NCAA D1 Lax Expansion Candidate Update: USC

5 - Published June 27, 2013 by in Growth, NCAA
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Remember a couple of years ago when I started a series of potential NCAA D1 expansion candidates?  One of the candidates that I felt most strongly about – and still feel strongly about – is the University of Southern California.

Thanks to a soccer forum, of all things, I came across a link to a story that may have positive implications for men’s lacrosse at USC.  The focus of the article is on the school’s 99 year lease with the City of Los Angeles for the Coliseum, but there are some interesting side notes about what that lease includes.  I am specifically referring to this tidbit:

…the new lease would allow USC to control the parking revenue in Exposition Park, which includes the Coliseum, the Sports Arena and multiple museums.

One of the many mockups available online

So what, right?  This provision allows for additional activity on the premises, including:

USC has the right to develop the Sports Arena property.The university has expressed an interest in putting a soccer stadium at the site

This site reportedly has been eyed by Chivas USA of Major League Soccer for quite a while.  Tuesday’s decision further strengthened the idea.  While the Goats would no doubt be the primary commercial tenant, it seems like there would be some sort of stipulation for the Trojans to make use of the proposed facility as well.

Of course the women’s soccer team is the first that springs to mind, but there is no indication that they are unhappy with or ready to leave McAlister Field.  The same can be said for the women’s lacrosse team.  It’s entirely possible that both teams could utilize the proposed MLS stadium for marquee events, but would that be enough to justify its existence (from the administration’s perspective)?

With the ACC holding their championship at PPL Park for the next two seasons, the NCAA holding last season’s  quarterfinals there,  and Major League Lacrosse utilizing soccer specific stadiums many times in its history, it is clear that such facilities work well for men’s lacrosse.  Because men’s lacrosse tends to draw more fans than either of the women’s sports mentioned above and because the sport also receives much more television coverage, the previously mentioned men’s lacrosse team may be the ideal tenant from the university.  As we’ve seen with Princeton’s Class of 1952 Stadium, lax and soccer lines have fewer visual conflicts with each other than either do with football.

Of course it remains to be seen if USC will build the stadium.  It seems fairly likely, based on the previous discussions.  But would Chivas be willing to share the field with a lacrosse team – especially in the early part of their season.  More importantly, will USC pursue men’s lacrosse now that their most accessible conference, the ECAC, is all but dead?  It will be interesting to see how or if either of these developments occur…

Coming soon to a D1 lax stadium near you?

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