On Friday, the Allstate Sugar Bowl got its social media groove on and conducted an advertising blitz for its 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl College Lacrosse Classic. And by getting their social media groove on, someone created a facebook event page and tweeted at us. Somewhere, there is a room in New Orleans with old men dressed in Brooks Brothers head-to-toe high-fiving each other right now.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, there was a press release for the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl College Lacrosse Classic featuring two MCLA teams in New Orleans: Texas vs. Arizona State on February 25th. Here is the important part of that press release:
College Match-Up Announced for Allstate Sugar Bowl Lacrosse Classic – Friday, July 15, 2011
The University of Texas and Arizona State University will meet in the second annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Classic on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 at Pan Am Stadium. The sixth annual Allstate Sugar Bowl High School Lacrosse Classic will be played in January. Last year’s high school tournament was the first to feature a collegiate club match as Texas defeated Florida State, 12-11, this past January.
“We’re very excited to welcome the University of Texas back to New Orleans and are looking forward to bringing Arizona State to town this spring as well,” said Paul Hoolahan, Chief Executive Officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “Lacrosse is an up-and-coming sport in Louisiana and is gaining popularity across the country. We’re proud to be a part of building exposure for the sport through our sponsorship of both high school and collegiate competition in New Orleans.”
Don’t remember the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl College Lacrosse Classic? It’s OK, you aren’t alone. But it was a doozy, being the only game that FSU lost before falling to BYU in the national quarterfinals. That game was also played at Pan American Stadium in New Orleans, which is notable for not being the Superdome where the Sugar Bowl is played. MCLA fans won’t shed many a tear for that fact though. Having played to a cavernous Texas Stadium in 2008 we know the drawbacks of the big time venue for a lacrosse game.
At first blush, you should be honored that an institution like the Sugar Bowl is throwing some muscle (and their money) behind lacrosse, let alone the MCLA. They’ve been doing it for local Louisiana high school teams since 2007. The Sugar Bowl also looks to be setting its eyes toward higher fruits in the lacrosse world, seeking to attract two NCAA Division I lacrosse teams for the 2013 event. Tyler Gray, the social media conductor for the Sugar Bowl lacrosse event, said this on the Facebook event page, “The goal is to get two D-1 teams and two top MCLA teams to play in separate exhibitions in 2013. To get to that point, we need to have at least 1,000 fans at this game. So the biggest help that all lax fans can do is come out and support this event.” That means that they are likely seeking to make their event on par with some of the early year NCAA lacrosse exhibitions like the First Four and the Big City Classic.
The idea of bringing NCAA teams down to Louisiana is worthy of piquing your interest. The idea of having MCLA teams and NCAA teams together at the same event should perk your ears up even more. Gray did specifically say “separate” when referring to the timing of NCAA and MCLA teams, but it would be one gigantic leap for MCLA-kind to share the bill at an NCAA lacrosse event.
But is there a spurious motive for the Sugar Bowl’s involvement in lacrosse and with the MCLA? These Bowls that operate within the NCAA Division I football system have an obligation to give back to the community (and not just strippers). This commitment to lacrosse may go only so far as to engage some of the community funding that exists as surplus from the football coffers. It’s unclear if there are individuals running the show with a long-term unwavering commitment to the game, and the MCLA. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I’m going to stop looking the gift horse in the mouth and point out that YOU should book your hotel for Nawlins and what promises to be a spirited early season matchup between the defending LSA champ and the MCLA national runner-up. The lacrosse community in Louisiana continues to grow and this promises to be a great event to connect the local high school and youth lacrosse community with the MCLA.