Sanction the sticks?

Despite its huge popularity, boys lacrosse is still not school-sponsored.


Sophomore Brody Gilreath dodges his defender to go to the goal during a recent lacrosse game. Photo by Izzy Puccio

Patriots boys lacrosse is a team of 24 Parkway South students on varsity and 19 students on JV. Although all of these students go to South, the sport is not school sanctioned. Why is this?  

“I would like lacrosse to be school-sanctioned because then more people would go because it’d be more of a school sport than a club sport,” senior Makiya Mahaney said.

Mahaney is a member of the Posse, the spirit group supporting South athletics. The Posse organizes support for certain games of every sport. 

Junior Max Niedbalski plays both hockey and lacrosse. He has an opinion on the benefits of sanctioning boys’ lacrosse.

“More people would play, we’d probably be better, and we wouldn’t have to play at South Middle and twist our ankles,” Niedbalski said.

Because lacrosse is not sanctioned by MSHSAA, the boys have to practice outside of the South High campus. They currently practice at the grass field in front of South Middle School. Having lacrosse sanctioned would lead to better playing conditions and potentially a better team which is beneficial for everyone involved. Being school sanctioned would mean having home games where they don’t have to pay for the turf.

Athletic Director Matt Roach said “Title IX plays a huge role in this. The state can’t just add a boys’ sport without offering something for the females.”

Title IX is a law about the number of jerseys available in boys’ sports and girls’ sports and they have to be equal. MSHSAA has to take this into account when sanctioning sports. Because the numbers are currently evenly distributed, another girls’ sport would have to become sanctioned in order to include boys’ lacrosse. 

“The state can’t just add a boys’ sport without offering something for the females. It’s about jerseys, not individual sports. Sports need equal gender ratios,” Roach said. 

“Another problem is field space at South,” Roach said. Sanctioned sports have to practice on campus, and the turf is constantly booked.

“We have a little bit of space at the grass field. The turf would be potential. There’s some space behind the baseball fields where girls’ lacrosse used to practice. But we would have to organize our space and some people would practice later,” Roach said.

Student-athletes already struggle with managing time between practice, games, other extracurricular activities, and schoolwork. If you add in later practice times, it makes it harder for athletes to manage their time and underclassmen would not have consistent transportation back to campus for practice. 

A big issue with boys’ lacrosse not being sanctioned is the fact that the players are spending a lot of money to be able to play, according to senior Ty Knight. 

“It’s way too expensive. But we have enough fundraisers for most people to play, but some people have to work through the season,” he said.

Working through the season is an extra level of stress and time. On top of practice, games, school, and other activities, you have to add in working. It’s a lot of work and dedication that people put in to be able to play their sport. 

There are lots of factors that go into a school activity becoming MSHSAA sanctioned. Boys lacrosse is a popular sport among the student body, and becoming sanctioned could get the sport more exposure and traction, according to Mahaney.

“I do want to acknowledge our students because that’s cool. It’s not as easy as people think,” Roach said.