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Does The RMLC Have Its Act Together?


Author’s note: we cannot and should not judge any organization on the actions of a few individuals. The orginal piece was overly-agressive and did not reflect the intended message. This piece is not intended to slander any of the fine programs in the RMLC, but to elicit change from the conference. I have amended a few statements in the article to hopefully reflect that focus. Steve Nelson can be contacted at
A controversy that is not the norm (that, in fact, I’ve never before or since witnessed) occurred on the team sideline throughout the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference championship game last season. The RMLC, instead of providing a table crew for the championship game of its college lacrosse conference, left that up to college players, and that’s where the problems began.
RMLC LogoFor those somewhat unfamiliar with the game, the table crew are supposed to be impartial arbiters of keeping the game time and penalty time during a game. The table is specifically instructed not to cheer or to root for a side, because often they are provided by the home team in regular-season games. This is why, in Utah for example, the table crew for state championship games is provided by the league, and not by a team participating, because in such a big game, you want to avoid any appearance of even slight favoritism with something that can have such a profound impact on the game.
The table, in the case of the 2015 RMLC championship game, was staffed by what appeared to be injured college lacrosse players. At each timeout, they would jump up and join team huddles, they screamed at officials like fans on the sideline when there were no-calls they didn’t like, and they missed counting-down  penalties — so the opposing team ended up man-down for longer than they should have been on several occasions. When a female stat-keeper repeatedly asked them to make sure to do their job and count down the penalties, they responded with belligerence, yelling at her and telling her to “shut up.”
I’m no stranger to being caught up in the emotion of a game, or to doing stupid things as a college kid, but that kind of behavior is egregious, and is not okay no matter how much frat boys might want to laugh it off as just “joking.” And even if the table had acted correctly, wouldn’t a conference with three (possibly four) of the best club teams in the country want to do everything in its power to look like a professionally-run (or at minimum, run-as-well-as-high-school) organization? Isn’t a conference championship an important enough game to pay someone impartial twenty bucks apiece to avoid the appearance of favoritism and bias? Certainly mistakes will happen with any crew, but if it’s an impartial crew, then those mistakes don’t appear as favoritism toward a certain team.
After the game, I spoke with the organizer of the tournament, vice president-east of the RMLC and Johnson and Wales University head coach David Leach. He had just finished shrugging off the allegations of the female stat-keeper about what was said to her when I asked him if, in a game important as this one, he felt it was important to have an impartial table crew: “Yeah, I do. This is the first year that we’re taking [the tournament] back as a conference, before we had done a third party…that’s what we had tried to do in year’s past; we were lucky enough to have a third party host our event.”
It seemed as though the RMLC had forgotten the detail about an impartial table crew or simply didn’t feel it was important enough to even address. He seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole incident when asked why the decision was made to allow one of the teams in the game to provide the table crew: “I don’t think it was an active decision. It more just fell on us. The organization that was running it sort of dissolved…so we decided to open it back up to our teams to see if anybody would want to host it. I don’t know if it was really intended, or just a hiccup of them hosting for the first time in awhile.”
While Coach Leach told me that this would “definitely be a topic of discussion, for sure,” for the league, he didn’t respond this season when we tried to follow up about what the conference’s solution to the problem was, and this year the host school will again be staffing the table for the entire event. Luckily for the RMLC, the hosting Utah Utes didn’t make the postseason this year, so a championship team cannot be the host, and maybe the conference is just crossing their fingers and wishing upon a star that things will simply work out each year without having to address the issue. But, after what happened last year, do we really want to leave the tables in the hands of college players? (I think the Utes will do a fantastic job of running the tournament and the tables, by the way, but that’s beside the point.)
If this incident wasn’t enough to get the RMLC to take care of such a simple problem, what will?

1 comment
  1. Embarrassing and disrespectful to the integrity of the game and the people competing.

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