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posted 04.11.2011 at 10.01 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: MCLA Division I

- One of the questions I was asked during my visit with the Collegelax.us radio show last week was what I thought would help the MCLA gain "legitimacy" in the lacrosse world. My response was that the association shouldn't worry about legitimacy from the NCAA crowd, because they are somewhat invested in making sure that MCLA never gains legitimacy.

For example, if the same player is looking at an NCAA school and an MCLA school, you can bet the first condescending question to the student-athlete will be, "Why do you want to play club ball?" It's in those coach's best interest to marginalize the non-varsity world to keep themselves at the top of the recruiting food chain.

That aside, there is one thing that the MCLA can address, or least streamline, to help with the general concept of "legitimacy." I'm a big fan of the MCLA, and want to see it prosper, but it still makes me cringe when I see all of the game cancellations that pop up on a weekly basis. Some are unavoidable, like weather related problems, and many MCLA teams don't have the budget to make up games. I get that. Some of the cancellations, especially the conference contests, have the appearance of being capricious in nature, however.

The new MCLA.us website is pretty good about keeping current on these cancellations, but the code can be confusing. Some are labeled as canceled, others as "no contest," still others that get the 1-0 score, and recently there has been the advent of games labeled simply "F," which doesn't show up in the legend. In order to avoid the alphabet soup on the website and keep a measure of legitimacy, the MCLA board needs to address what exactly constitutes a legitimate cancellation.

There needs to be a very narrow scope for allowing a cancellation, and if a game is not played, there must be a way to determine which team is "at fault." If there can't be a make-up game, than the faultless team should be given the victory. Otherwise, the schedule turns into a Gong Show, especially at the end of the year when teams have folded or are conserving funds for the next year. I understand that MCLA teams operate under different realities and there will be no way to stop cancellations, but the league can take a step -- if only for appearance's sake -- from looking disorganized.

- Michigan State coach Dwayne Hicks doesn't think there will be any surprises when the Spartans play top-ranked Michigan this weekend in Birmingham.

"Michigan will use their methodical, 'this-is-what-we-do' style and we're going to play more of a speed, transition game," he said. "It will be a good cat and mouse game. Are we going to pull anything back to save for a [CCLA] championship game? I don't think you can do that. You go out there to win and they are the No. 1 team in the country. We've got to go out and take it to them."

- My Morning Jac blog on Sunday took a look at some of the teams who could be 'contenders' for the No. 16 seed in the tournament...the Making Sense column that will be posted later this afternoon will feature Cal Poly coach Marc Lea and Hicks...don't count Simon Fraser out of the at-large hunt yet.