Each year, as lacrosse grows in popularity, the sport adjusts the requirements and rules to better players. As time goes on, the skill level of lacrosse athletes becomes more and more intensified, and the competition to impress college coaches becomes even harder. On April 14, 2017 the NCAA Division I Council passed a new legislation that prohibited college coaches from talking to possible recruits until September 1 of their junior year in high school. Before the NCAA passed this rule, there was no regulation that prevented college coaches from talking to players as young as fourteen.
In March of 2016, 8th grader Brennan O’Neill from Long Island committed to Penn State University. Brennan said, “I love the big school with the big football, the big basketball and even lacrosse.”
Having teenagers who may be naive and unsure of what they want in the future could have negative consequences. Student-athletes need more time to work on their grades, prepare for standardized tests, and research the colleges they may be interested in attending. Teenagers at the age of fourteen may not be finished developing, which could possibly impact their playing. Also, athletes may sustain injuries that could result in a termination of their scholarship, leaving them to scramble for a new school.
So was establishing this rule for college coaches and players the right move? Many believe this was the best decision the NCAA council could have agreed upon. It gives teenagers time to be regular students and reduces the stress on student-athletes. Sophomore Morgan Orlando who is on varsity lacrosse here at PMHS has four friends from Jamesport, Long Island who play for the Long Island Top Guns, one of the best club teams in New York. They attend Riverhead High School and committed to top Division I lacrosse schools Maryland University, Florida University, John Hopkins University, and Syracuse University as freshmen.
“It was weird to me that I didn’t even know what club team I would play for or what classes I would be taking in high school, and that my friends already knew where they were going to college,” Orlando said. “It was hard for me to imagine myself ever committing [to college] this young because I still felt like a kid. But that’s just the way it is there.”
This new rule also allows for players that may not live in prime lacrosse areas such as Long Island, Connecticut and Maryland, to have a chance to be seen by college coaches. Many times the young athletes committing to these colleges come from places that have elite programs from the time they are five years old. Hopefully, this new rule will allow the lacrosse players here at Pelham Memorial High School to have more time to prove their worth and continue their lacrosse careers at the collegiate level.