Yesterday, Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans announced a change in the Ivy League lacrosse season that will create a four-team tournament. Set to be implemented for the first time in the spring 2010 season, that will determine the Ivy League’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Championships. The winners of the Ivy League championships will continue, however, to be determined by the results of the league’s round-robin competitions.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase our very strong men’s and women’s lacrosse teams,” said Orleans, according to cornellbigred.com. “And we’re also pleased that we can avoid deciding our automatic bid recipient through a tiebreaker formula if we have regular-season ties, as often has been the case.”
The decision is important in the context of national lacrosse programs across the country because of the Ancient Eight’s status as one of the sport’s premier conferences—three Ivy schools, including Cornell, have won nine of the men’s and women’s national titles.
The NCAA has decided to add two new leagues to Division I lacrosse, which will change the number of automatic qualifiers per league, head coach Jeff Tambroni said.
“In this day and age, [the competition] has been a lot more competitive,” Tambroni said.
The Ivy coaches pushed for the development of the end of the year tournament for multiple reasons.
“It will help all four teams,” Tambroni said. “It will hopefully gain us more exposure in the Ivy League with television coverage.”
The change will also strengthen the top-4 Ivy teams’ schedules, giving them all a second opportunity to take a crack at the No. 1 and No. 2 Ivy teams, and perhaps to beat them outright.
Although the tournament will give more squads a chance to score an automatic bid than in previous seasons, Tambroni said he does not ultimately expect to see a huge change in the top teams.
The top teams at the end of the season just need to “take care of their business,” Tambroni said, in order to maintain their NCAA qualifying status.
“You hope that through hard work and a little bit of luck you come out on top,” he said.
However, the possibly will now exist that a team ranked No. 5 at the end of the regular season could come out with the bid.
Tambroni said he was also pleased with the extra motivation the new tournament will provide for his players — an added impetus to keep them on their toes even as the regular season is winding down.
“[It will be] something to play for at both the beginning and end of the year,” he said.