Mar 6, 2020 - Sports

Why men's college lacrosse enjoys parity at the top

Photo: M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

From 1978 to 2009, five schools — Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, North Carolina and Virginia — won every Division I men's lacrosse national championship. Since then, they have won just three.

The state of play: Meanwhile, four first-time champions were crowned last decade — Duke, Loyola (Md.), Denver and Yale — and three of the current top 20 teams — No. 2 Penn State, No. 7 Maryland and No. 19 Ohio State — play in the Big Ten, a lacrosse conference that didn't even exist until 2015.

What's happening: Lacrosse has been the fastest-growing high school team sport for the past two decades and has expanded far beyond its east coast roots, but the number of men's D-I programs has remained relatively flat, especially compared to the women's game (75 men's D-I squads vs. 118 for women).

"With a larger talent pool to draw from and a similar number of programs competing for recruits, a lot more teams are now landing what used to be top-10 talent. It's kind of flattened that pyramid at the top and allowed programs like ours to climb the ladder."
Mike Murphy, Penn men's lacrosse coach, tells Axios

Between the lines: While football powers like Florida, USC and Oregon have added women's lacrosse programs in recent years, they haven't added men's teams partly due to Title IX.

  • "Vast football squads, without any female equivalent, must be balanced with several women's teams; creating another men's team only makes the math more difficult," writes NYT's Matthew Gutierrez.

The big picture: Michigan, Utah and Marquette are the only three big-time athletic programs that have gone D-I in men's lacrosse this century, but as the sport continues to grow in popularity, more could follow their lead.

Go deeper

How female workers can manage automation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Workers are set to have their futures upended by the effects of automation, but while the plight of men in manufacturing has received much of the attention, women will face unique challenges.

The big picture: Experts disagree about whether female workers will be more vulnerable to automation than men. What's clear is that automation will accentuate existing gender gaps in the workforce, and that without policies to assist the transition, older and less educated women in particular risk being left behind.

International Women's Day and the glass ceiling

Data: Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Women running for national and state office may be on track to break the record-setting runs and gains of 2018, as Republicans try to catch up with their Democratic counterparts.

Yes, but: The Super Tuesday results, and Elizabeth Warren's withdrawal, effectively ended any chance that this will be the year a woman wins the presidency. On International Women's Day this weekend, it's worth remembering that the struggle to reach the White House masks a lot of real progress at lower levels.

In mayors' offices, men far outnumber women

Data: Axios research; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Out of the 50 largest U.S. cities, only 15 have female mayors. That proportion stays the same when looking at the largest 100 cities: 70% of mayors are men.

The big picture: Women are running for office at every level of government. Although Elizabeth Warren's withdrawal effectively ended the chance of electing a woman to the presidency this year, there's progress elsewhere.