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Southern Virginia University Moving to NCAA D-III

Souther Virginia University LacrosseSouthern Virginia University will begin offering NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams beginning in July of 2013. The Knights inaugural season will be in the Spring of 2014 and they will compete in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) against teams such as Salisbury, Stevenson and Mary Washington.
“The transition to NCAA Division III from club lacrosse is a natural one,” said Deidra Dryden, SVU Senior Women’s Administrator. “We just joined the Capital Athletic Conference, which will provide a competitive schedule for our women’s team. We also feel this decision is in complete alignment with the spirit of NCAA in terms providing equal opportunities for male and female student athletes.”
While the Women’s team is still in the process of securing a head coach, the Men’s team will be lead by Stephen Macurdy.
“I was a freshman in Northern Virginia at Garfield High School when I first learned about lacrosse,” said Macurdy. “Although I didn’t know anything about lacrosse as a freshmen, I was very involved in athletics playing several different sports. On a free weekend, I had the opportunity to take in one of our school’s home lacrosse games and I immediately fell in love with the sport and played the next three years of high school. I was constantly reading and looking for people to teach me—I couldn’t learn enough about the sport. From the moment I saw my first game on, every other sport became second to lacrosse.”
Macurdy began coaching right out of high school. While working to save up money for a two-year mission for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Macurdy was asked to assist with the girls’ lacrosse team at his alma mater, Potomac High School. He played my junior and senior years at Potomac after playing his sophomore season at Garfield. Michelle Heindrichs was Potomac’s head girls’ lacrosse coach at the time and she taught Macurdy how to see the game as a coach as opposed to a player.
“After I returned home from my mission in Fresno, Calif., I learned that Southern Virginia University was starting a lacrosse program,” said Macurdy. “My parents had moved 30 minutes from Buena Vista, Va., towards the tail end of my mission. I visited the campus and deposited that same day. I felt like I was supposed to be here.”
“We are always looking for talented lacrosse players,” said Macurdy. “Having talented scholar-athletes makes my job a whole lot easier. I am really focusing on Latter-day Saints who want a Division III athletic experience in a wholesome spiritual environment. We’re also focusing on creating a core of returned missionaries that incoming freshman can look to for guidance and leadership. We welcome those not of our faith, who share our values. Many times these young men add consistency to our program, since they usually end up playing all four years without an interruption for mission service.”
Southern Virginia University Lacrosse
SVU formerly competed in Division II of the MCLA, the same division as Westminster and UVU.
“The MCLA is a quality organization that is both organized and competitive,” said Macurdy. “It has been very good to us. However, transitioning from the MCLA to the NCAA will mean that a significant increase in the level of competition next season. D-III lacrosse is extremely competitive, especially in the CAC with teams like Salisbury, Stevenson and Mary Washington, who are consistently ranked in the national polls. The NCAA also carries much more national recognition among high school athletes.”
Coach Macurdy also said, “I think it’s important for potential recruits to understand Southern Virginia University first and then our lacrosse program. Southern Virginia is a small liberal arts college with an honor code based on the values of The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints. I am a huge believer in this university and its honor code. With an average class size of 16, our students get to know their professors, who in turn help our students to grow and excel in ways not possible at larger institutions. The largest LDS Institute program east of the Mississippi services our campus making it a great choice for both young men and women preparing for mission service, as well as returned missionaries who want to continue to attend college in a spiritual environment. As for our lacrosse program, Southern Virginia offers the highest level of lacrosse a young man can play, while attending school in a Latter-day Saint environment. Our program focuses on developing young men both on the lacrosse field, as well as in the classroom and community. We prepare our scholar-athletes to be well-rounded leader-servants, as well as the best lacrosse players possible, by the time they graduate from Southern Virginia University. We will continue to grow and improve over in the coming year as we transition to full NCAA Division III membership.”
Luke Christiansen, an assistant coach at SVU and Cottonwood Lacrosse Alumni, will be at Storm Lacrosse on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 for a formal meet and great. All players who are interested in more information should attend the event to become more familiar with the SVU lacrosse programs.

    1. It will not and no. The athletic budget at SVU for the ENTIRE university (including football) is less then just the BYU lacrosse team.

  1. YES! BYU has not had to traditionally recruit because they have brand recognition and were the premier lacrosse organization in a LDS environment. With SVU going DIV. III they are actually playing better competition, I mean Salisbury c’mon they are legit. I didn’t realize CCLAX had the budget for both BYU’s team and SVU’s teams to compare. Corporate spy?

  2. YES! BYU has not had to traditionally recruit because they have brand recognition and were the premier lacrosse organization in a LDS environment. With SVU going DIV. III they are actually playing better competition, I mean Salisbury c’mon they are legit. I didn’t realize CCLAX had the budget for both BYU’s team and SVU’s teams to compare. Corporate spy?

    1. The decision to go DIII has absolutely nothing to do with lacrosse; it is about collecting tuition dollars that they would otherwise never see. It’s a brilliant, low-cost way to do that.

      1. Pretty sure it has something to do with lacrosse since they are adding lacrosse. Lacrosse is a good investment right now. Why do you think Michigan went D1? And didn’t Westminster add lacrosse for the exact reason you are stating?

        1. The only thing is has to do with Lacrosse is the 45 kids it allows to play. Outside of Football, Lacrosse is one of the highest rostered sports in College. Adding lacrosse has the potential to add a lot of bodies. It’s not about lacrosse, it’s about numbers.

        2. SVU is not adding DIII lax to get tuition dollars from lax players. The University is adding DIII Lax because its joining the CAC to better market the school to donors and prospective students. Lax was selected because its one of the conference sports that the University feels is a good match with their existing athletic program. NCAA Lax programs rarely pay for themselves. If they did there would be 10 new men’s lax programs added each year.

  3. This is pretty cool. I mean, BYU has always been a dream for those of us who want to play top notch Lax in and LDS environment. But, now with SVU going, that changes everything. I mean the chance to play LEGIT lacrosse. Yeah, SVU might not be as good as BYU … YET … But I don’t see why ANYONE, with a chance to go NCAA would want to stay playing club if they could play NCAA. I mean, the chance to still be at an LDS school but have the chance to show off my skills vs. A SALISBURY…they are the BEST D3 program in the nation…2 years running. Those are the BIG time guys. I am sure that in the near future, SVU is going to start getting some if not most of those big recruits BYU is getting, and will start to be THE premier lax school in the LDS community. I am excited for that. it has DEFINITELY become a MAJOR option for me now. I hope that all my fellow laxers will think the same way. lets all get on board with SVU and beat us some National Champs!!! And BESIDES how is budget a big deal anyway. Who cares…from what I hear…SVU’s team dues are WAY cheaper than BYU’s anyway. So is it that BYU’s budget is bigger cause you have to pay a TON to play?????

    1. You may want to wait to call SVU “Legit” lacrosse for a few years. It will be at least 10 years before they will be competitive with a BYU, and they may not ever get there with the current coaching staff. Please go watch SVU play. The current coaching staff has built the current program. Here is their record (against some pretty weak competition)
      Becoming DIII isn’t a magic pill that will all of a sudden make this team better. They will be bad, for a looooong time.
      Team dues are a drop in bucket when you compare tuition. You could go to BYU, buy yourself a brand new car, pay your dues for 4 years, pay your tuition for 4 years, and still pay less that 1 year at SVU. Plus, your education will actually be respected when you go to get a job.
      SVU will never be the premier lax school in the LDS community, because the school can’t hold a candle to BYU. BYU may lose a few of the 30-40 spots on their roster to SVU, but for the kids that want to play high level lacrosse, BYU is still the best option.

      1. Quick facts: average SVU tuition is around $10,000 (minus $2,000 for rm’s) depending upon grades. BYU tution is $4,500 plus $2,000 more or less for player dues. So the disparity isn’t quite what you made it out to be.
        In the nature of full disclosure I am an alum of both schools. Both schools offer great educations, they are simply different. Anyone who says SVU can’t
        hold its weight against BYU in the academic arena is simply uneducated on the subject.
        I find it concerning that many on this forum are so quick to fling mud on SVU and in doing so possibly discourage student athletes from attending SVU. It is an excellent university, that now provides a very unique student athlete experience.
        SVU lacrosse has a long hard road to get to the level of BYU, and more importantly to compete at the DIII level. They will need to earn it. Many of the points regarding what the program needs to do to be successful are spot on, and they will happen.
        So to those skeptics I look forward to SVU proving you wrong.

        1. SVU $9,450 per semester (2012) = $75,600 Cost for 4 years
          BYU (assuming LDS, which every BYU lax player is)- $2,280 (2012) Per semester +1000 in dues = $3,280 per semester total cost $26,240 for 4 Years
          That leaves you $50,360 difference for 4 years, or $6,295 saved at BYU per semester. That’s not chump change, and that’s not worth low level D3 ball and a lesser education.

        2. SVU $9,450 per semester (2012) = $75,600 Cost for 4 years
          BYU (assuming LDS, which every BYU lax player is)- $2,280 (2012) Per semester +1000 in dues = $3,280 per semester total cost $26,240 for 4 Years
          That leaves you $50,360 difference for 4 years, or $6,295 saved at BYU per semester. That’s not chump change, and that’s not worth low level D3 ball and a lesser education.

          1. You seem to be a little ignorant concerning DIII lacrosse. Calling the Capital Athletic Conference low level D3 ball is like calling the RMLC low level MCLA ball. Neither one is true.

          2. Being in a conference doesn’t make you validate the level of your play. Is New Mexico on par with BYU because they are in the same conference? Nope. SVU is the New Mexico of the CAC. It is currently, and will be for the foreseeable future, low level DIII ball.

  4. The budget is the BIGGEST factor in whether they can ever hope to compete with BYU. Budget equals recruiting, facilities, travel, coaching, and other perks that can bribe a kid to play at SVU instead of somewhere else. I don’t see SVU being able to add a lot of top notch lacrosse teams to the schedule for a long time to come. But I am happy for them to have that option for kids to play. But unless they raise the proper monies to hire an actual athletic director and an actual lacrosse coaching staff that has NCAA experience, then there isn’t going to be any competition.

  5. The new lacrosse fields at SVU are very nice and in as picturesque setting as one could ask for. You should all fly out there in 2014 when Salisbury comes to town.

  6. The thing people are not realizing is that SVU’s goal now probably isn’t to be like BYU. Salisbury is the goal and they are better than BYU. Plus SVU will take a little time to make it to the elite level of lacrosse for men and women but this announcement makes the future look bright.

  7. Peter: Being part of the CAC means that you play Salisbury and everyone else in the ,CAC year in and year out. By the way playing Wyoming and the U of New Mexico is not what I call top level competition. Most High School teams in Utah could beat them.
    Jordan: All valid points, thanks for bringing some unbiased and positive insight to this conversation
    Eastcoastlaxer: You are completely right. There are dozens of LDS kids that play for not only BYU but other NCAA lacrosse programs that will now consider SVU. It would be ignorant to think otherwise.
    Guester54: It sure does sound like you have a grudge. The only reason why you would be posting things like that is because you are scared that recruits will choose SVU over BYU.
    From my point of view, I think that this will be a great opportunity for LDS lacrosse players who want to play lacrosse for a varsity NCAA team. I am LDS and wish I would have had the opportunity to do so. How awesome will it be to play on the east coast against Salisbury, Stevenson, W&L and so many other teams that have had great programs for decades. Most of the players from these programs have been playing since they were in elementary school… And of course SVU will face challenges, just like any new team would but I hope that SVU turns into the BYU of DIII and can play at that level. It will be interesting to see if SVU will come to Utah occasionally and play BYU, Utah and Westminster head to head. We should just let the teams do the talking before we jump to conclusions and say that SVU will never, “hold a candle to BYU” You may have forgotten that UVU had a good team a couple years back and gave BYU all they could handle.
    We should be celebrating this great news not arguing over how this will affect BYU.

    1. im sorry buy UVU’s lacrosse team never even gave BYU a reason to break a sweat. Thats like saying that the 4th and 5th grade summer team put up a fight with defending state champions juan diego. lets get real

      1. You must not have been at that game…. It was tied going into the fourth quarter. The only reason why BYU finished on top was because of their depth. The final was 15-10. I’m not partial to either program.

    2. I missed the connection with the Capitol conference. That is great for them. But it still doesn’t make it a viable lacrosse team. If they bring in the right coach and give the team the money that they need to recruit then you can talk about being competitive. But from what I have heard, there has been a severe lack of funding to the NCAA initiative. And you can start with assigning the duties of athletic director to someone who is not an athletic director. If that gets fixed, then you can tell me that you can be competitive. If you are only going to recruit mormon athletes then you will have to talk about how this affects BYU recruiting. I think that it doesn’t for now, but certainly could in the future. If SVU can keep the athletics running for longer than 10 years.

        1. There are a few former BYU assistants that might be great for the job. If you had enough money I bet you could go try and hire Jason Lamb for the job. That would show me that you are serious. If you put the same coaches and the same program out on that field in a year that you have this past year, why would you expect different results?

        2. There are a few former BYU assistants that might be great for the job. If you had enough money I bet you could go try and hire Jason Lamb for the job. That would show me that you are serious. If you put the same coaches and the same program out on that field in a year that you have this past year, why would you expect different results?

  8. I enjoyed this article very much. I am hopeful that many others did as well. What a great opporutunity we have to have 2 GREAT options to play lacrosse in an LDS environment now for guys, and a GREAT opportunity now for women. I appreciate all the comments. It’s great to know and be in the position we are in. It’s great to know that there are so many people showing interest in our program. I will say this to those who have posted however. Give us a shot. It shows, based on everything that is happening already since we put out the press release as a school, that we have had a significant increase in interest and contact with players…all over the nation, that things are moving in the direction we would like. Are we going to compete with BYU next year, probably not. But who knows. As for all the talk about cost and budget and everything else…we have said all along that SVU is not for everyone. I applaude DON for his comment….there are plenty of LDS kids not at BYU. There are plenty not at SVU either. Will we not get kids because of the mystique of BYU, yes. Will we loose kids because SVU is small, yes. Will we loose kids because they want a major that we don’t offer…ha ha, yup, sure will. But, we will gain kids because of some of those same things. And as we have seen in the past 4 months, and just like EASTCOASTLAXER mentioned, we have had a ton of kids showing interest for no other reason than that we are, the highest level of competative lacrosse you can obtain, in an LDS environment. But, like JORDAN said, SVU’s focus is not to try and compete with BYU. We have different priorites. We have the Toughest competition in the NCAA D3 division, Salsibury, every year for the forseeable future. And, we have wonderful relationships with the top level ODAC schools that are all within 40 minutes of us, who are all very interested to get a game because of the proximity, so the cost is low. So competition will come to SVU, and we will go to it. No worries there. As for PETER, you are correct, we do not have BYU’s budget. We don’t need it. We are not flying around the country, therefore, our budget can be smaller. As for the A.D. situation, it’s funny the comments people will give when they are not in the situation themselves. We have recieved nothing but praise from the Capital Athletic Conference and many other D3 schools around for the Atheltic Director Model that we are using currently. So that’s not a factor. As for me, and the rest of the men’s and women’s coaching staffs. I don’t believe any of us have ever professed to be the best coaches out there. But we are fortunate enough to be coaching in the NCAA, and with great teachers around us willing, and have been willing to help us, we have improved ourselves significantly. it comes down to this, can we coach a team to be competative in the Captial Athletic Conference. Yes, emphatically yes. Never having met you, I am sure you will be skeptical. But I invite you to make a trip to SVU, I believe we are recruiting some of your High School players as we speak. Come out with them. Bring them to the OPEN HOUSE we have here on campus Nov 17th, as it is open for all prospective athletes to attend and determine for themselves all of these things. But come, sit with us, and talk. You have a vast knowledge, love, passion, and background in the sport as I can tell, so I would respect that opportunity.
    Here is what I say to all of this. SVU is not going anywhere. We are officially NCAA D3, and will begin competition next year in the Captial Athletic Conference. We will recruit in order to beat Salsibury. I am excited about the prospects. i am excited about the future. Anyone who is interested, I invite to come to SVU and have a look around. I invite all to come sit and talk with us as a coaching staff! I especially invite EASTCOASTLAXER to come on by or drop us an email. We’d love to talk with you. Is SVU there yet…no. Can we be? Time will tell, but we are going to give our totall and full attention and abilities. Go Knights! Now back to recruiting!!!

    1. I had this whole long response typed out, but I have been harsh enough and people already don’t particularly like me, so I guess the best thing to say is just, good luck. I really do hope that you can take that team and win with the great players and kids from Utah. These kids need a chance to play somewhere outside of this state and I am glad that there is now a team actively recruiting here in Utah that is from the east. If you want to talk to any of my players, feel free to find me online and I will direct you to them. Thanks.

  9. First off, everybody needs to slow their roll. This isn’t an either or scenario. I have been recruiting for BYU for the past 5 years, and I can tell you with 100% confidence that there is enough LDS talent out there to form 2 REALLY good lacrosse teams. Just look at Utah in the past two years. The level of High School play in Utah has exploded! Most of the best kids we are looking at for BYU recruiting live in Utah now. That wasn’t the case 5 year ago.
    It’s really awesome to see teams make the jump to NCAA status. The more, the better. And the fact that it’s a school that caters to the LDS community, that is AWESOME! Just as SVUCoach noted, there is a lot that goes into school decision beside lacrosse, and there will be players that fit better at both schools. I can tell you from first hand experience there were players that did not do well with BYU, due to size of classes, majors, or other factors that made it so it wasn’t a right fit. I think they would have been perfect for SVU.
    Will this effect BYU’s recruiting? Probably, but that’s not a bad thing. As the game grows, so does the talent. There are more great LDS lacrosse players than spots on a BYU roster. It’s awesome they have another great option to consider. Competition makes all boats rise.
    As for the future of SVU, let it play out! Nobody can guess or predict what is going to happen there. Give the coaches a fair shot to make something out of it, and you may be surprised. People have done more with less.
    From BYU to SVU, good luck! Reach out to me and let’s talk. I’m sure there are some ways we can help each other be better.
    Jordan Harris
    BYU Assistant Coach

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