Two Steps Forward, One Step (Or More) Back in Ann Arbor
While Ann Arbor's college lacrosse teams — at the University of Michigan — are undergoing an exciting transition from club to varsity status, the city's high school boys and girls lacrosse teams are headed in the opposite direction.
According to a story on heritage.com, which covers news in southeast Michigan, the Ann Arbor school district on Saturday elected to cut all freshman sports, except for football, and pull funding from several other sports, including boys and girls lacrosse.
The cuts, made mandatory after the state reduced funding by $15 million this year, will essentially force the Huron, Pioneer and Skyline lacrosse programs to become club teams. Ann Arbor area schools will see $475,000 in cuts in athletic spending.
Those affected are understandably upset. The story quotes coaches who describe the growth of lacrosse in Michigan and how well-organized and funded some of their booster clubs are. For this reason, Skyline boys coach Nick Zoroya was surprised at the cuts because his program already received most of its financial support from players and boosters.
"Our program had one of the better-run booster clubs," Zoroya said, according to the story. "So we were a pretty self-sufficient team. We paid for all our own equipment. Basically all we asked the district to cover was bussing and officials. We didn't ask for much."
"I asked for a couple cases of balls, some scorebooks and uniforms for the first year varsity team," he said. "We didn't want to be a burden. Now I feel like we're getting punished for it."
This means players may have to pay more to play next season. As heritage.com points out, programs will also need to figure out things such as physicals, insurance, uniforms, supplies and travel, costs that can add up.
Pioneer boys coach James Corey said he will forfeit his coaching salary to help negate consequences from the cuts.
I wonder if those friends of Michigan Wolverines lacrosse, dubbed the "Project Lacrosse Founders Club," who raised the millions of dollars needed to start the Michigan varsity programs, would be compelled to help the high school kids who will wonder what's happening to their sport?