Is Going Greenville Sustainable?
It's been argued that 'Going Green' is the wave of the future. For the MCLA, it's all about determining whether Greenville is sustainable.
The South Carolina city swept the association off its feet with a proposal that allowed the MCLA to avoid paying a nickel for the use of its facilities – a state-of-the-art soccer complex and an archaic stadium. When compared to the bill received after the three years in Denver, this provided nearly a six-figure annual savings. As such, the teams converged on the lacrosse outpost in 2012 and will do so once again in '13.
The first two years were part of the initial contract, but there was also an option for a third (2014). It would appear that final season is in doubt.
The MCLA has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) and association president Tony Scazzero has created a committee to look at other potential venues for '14, which could include an agreement for the '15 and '16 seasons, as well.
"Greenville is looking for their third year, and we'll take that on its merits," said Scazzero, who confirmed that there will be three suitors, and possibly four, applying. "The others will put in their two cents and we'll see where it goes."
Scazzero, who declined to release the names of the other possible sites, did not state any dissatisfaction with Greenville. Larry Monaco, the MCLA tournament director, met with the Greenville organizers, just as Scazzero said would happen when I spoke with him in March.
"We look for the ability to move quickly, the ability to respond to what is going on and the ability to provide solutions to any unplanned circumstances that come up," Scazzero said at the time. "Those are the factors that we look at very strongly. We look at attendance and the satisfaction that our teams have with location. We'll sit down within a month of the event and talk with them and figure out where we hit a home run and where we struck out."
Scazzero may not have enunciated any problems with Greenville when I spoke to him this week, but the RFP for '14 is a tacit admission that the Palmetto State might not be the optimum locale for the MCLA championship. If Greenville matched all of the initial expectations, the executive board could have rubber-stamped the trilogy and waited to solicit bids for '15.
Scazzero portrayed the RFP as less about Greenville and more about the demographics of the association.
"We're so nationally based that it is good for the tournament to move around," he said.
Scazzero is correct about the breadth of the MCLA, and therein lies the challenge for Greenville.
With all four of the Division I semifinalists located in the Mountain or Pacific time zones, and 19 of the 32 total 2012 participants residing west of the Mississippi River, Greenville is awkward. A lot of it is due to the lack of a major airport, which means any team between Colorado and the Pacific Ocean is looking at a $40,000 price tag for potentially one game.
That's a spicy meatball for programs working primarily off of player dues and fundraisers. It's a hit that didn't sit well with several coaches I spoke with, especially considering choosing Greenville saved the MCLA, as a whole, a hefty sum of money.
I like Greenville. It's a great city, and I look forward to traveling there again in 2013. Greenville presents serious obstacles for the MCLA, however, and many of them make me think that this spring might be my last visit.