Baltimore, Boston likely tourney hosts

College Lacrosse

September 21, 2005|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun reporter

The NCAA is expected to announce tonight that its men's lacrosse tournament championship weekend is headed back to Baltimore and eventually will land for the first time in New England.

Sources close to the NCAA men's lacrosse committee and its championship and competition committee said the NCAA will return the sport's premier stage to M&T Bank Stadium in 2007. Then, it will shift the annual Memorial Day weekend event in 2008 to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., the home of the New England Patriots.

There also has been talk, according to sources, that Gillette Stadium will host the Division I final four and the Division II and III title games in 2009, as part of an unusual, three-year commitment.

Since the late 1990s, the NCAA has selected its championship sites in two-year blocks. Beginning in 2003, after two-year runs at the University of Maryland and Rutgers, the event moved away from college campus settings to larger venues.

In 2003 and 2004, the championships played to record crowds at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens. The games then moved to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, where a record crowd of 44,920 watched Johns Hopkins edge Duke nearly four months ago in the Division I final.

In conjunction with the Maryland Stadium Authority and the Ravens, Baltimore bid once more for a two-year block in August.

Sources said the NCAA, which is eager to expose the sport to new regions, was highly impressed with the proposal by the Patriots.

"Both sides did elaborate and effective presentations. Both offer equally attractive NFL venues. I'll be surprised if this ever goes back to a college campus again," said Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards, a member of the men's committee.

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