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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

The athletic department is developing the men’s lacrosse club program

Sophomore+attacker%2C+Kyle+Parker%2C+runs+with+the+ball+during+the+last+home+mens+lacrosse+match+against+Colorado+Mesa+University+on+April+21.+Photo+provided+by+Jayson+Ortiz.
Sophomore attacker, Kyle Parker, runs with the ball during the last home men’s lacrosse match against Colorado Mesa University on April 21. Photo provided by Jayson Ortiz.

Colorado State University Pueblo’s athletic department announced on Jan. 19 that its men’s lacrosse team would be leaving NCAA Division II status and would transition into a club sport at the end of the 2024 spring season.

The men’s lacrosse team finished its last varsity season in April, going 2-12 overall for the season. Paul Plinske, the university’s athletic director, has been having a lot of conversations internally with the athletic department about the development of the club men’s lacrosse program. Recreation Sports Director Emily McElwain and her assistant, Jack Schauer, have been essential to these conversations.

“Jack is very effective at running our club baseball program, so he’s got a lot of experience doing this. He’s already been having conversations with the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (RMLC). In these conversations, what we’re finding is that first of all, the league will allow applications to happen from now all the way up until September of the fall and so we plan on doing that.

“Second of all, we’ll cover those membership dues. There are some financial levels of support that the institution provides through the student fee process, so it runs through the recreation sports department and then it funnels to club men’s lacrosse. In addition to that, we know that the league will assign game officials. We know that they will develop a conference and the alignment of the conference and then they’ll have scheduling that they’ll do as a result of that,” Plinske said.

Club men’s lacrosse is also a spring sport, so the leadership of club men’s lacrosse will use the fall to analyze and determine who is interested in the membership and then how they’re going to line up the conference. If you’re in the top four in the conference, you get to advance to regional play and then move on from there. According to Plinske, it is a very sophisticated system, very comparable to what the men’s lacrosse team had at the NCAA level.

The athletic department has not decided about leadership among the club program, including a head coach, assistant coach, and team captains. They are trying to get the data in place regarding what the club program will look like, including financial aid, so players can be informed to assist in their decision-making to play or not.

“I get the fact that there’s frustration and the fact that it’s club and the student athletes didn’t come here to play club. They came in to play varsity, but it’s our hope that it can mirror a lot of what they’re seeing in the varsity program as they transition into a club. I hope they can see the support, that people come out and watch their games, that they’ll have use of our facilities whether it’s during the day or at night. That is the same kind of stuff we’ve done for our club baseball team, and it’s held up really well,” Plinske said.

According to Plinske, at least 13 men’s lacrosse players have enrolled for Fall 2024 courses at CSU Pueblo as of May 6.

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