Online sale of NCAA tickets under way

Over 5,000 go quickly for championships here

College Lacrosse

January 11, 2003|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Plans to draw the biggest crowd in the history of lacrosse began in earnest this week as online ticket sales opened for the 2003 NCAA men's championships, which will be held Memorial Day weekend at Ravens Stadium.

The joint venture, which combines Baltimore's four Division I schools with front office support from the Ravens and the Maryland Stadium Authority, aims to sell out the 40,200 available seats at the NFL stadium, where the upper deck will not be opened. When held at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium, the Division I semifinals have surpassed 30,000.

Baltimore has a two-year agreement to host the event, but just as Omaha, Neb., is home to the College World Series, the goal of the local organizers is to turn Baltimore into the permanent site of the lacrosse championships.

"That's not an automatic," said Bill Tierney, the Princeton coach who sits on the NCAA committee that oversees the game, "but if it turns out being anywhere near what the local organizing committee says it's going to be, I can't imagine anyone asking us to take it anywhere else. If we eventually have to open the upper deck, there's not a person in lacrosse who will say this was a bad idea."

Tierney and more than a dozen other coaches attended a news conference yesterday to promote the championship weekend. Despite the event's Web site, lax4baltimore.com, coming online just two days ago, more than 5,000 tickets have already been sold. The all-sessions ticket for one of the 32,000 lower-level seats costs $40. The weekend package for the 8,200 club-level seats costs $60.

Phone orders will be taken by the Ravens' ticket office at 410-261-7283.

The Division I semifinals will be held Saturday, May 24. The Division II and III title games are set for the same field for the first time the next day, and the Division I title game will wrap up things on Memorial Day.

Syracuse, which has been to 20 straight final fours, is the defending Division I champion.

Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Towson and UMBC will share the host duties.

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