It literally feels like ages ago that lacrosse was a sport for the elite and was played in Maryland and New York (and to a lesser extent VA suburbs of DC, New Jersey, and suburbs of Philadelphia). Now you can see several programs from Florida to California and from Texas to Michigan.
Maryland and New York are still king for high school talent as far as a sheer numbers game, but the talent pool is growing. There was once a time when Maryland as a state had Top 20 programs in Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Towson, Loyola, Navy, and UMBC (technically could count Georgetown). And even Mt. St. Mary’s would get some votes here and there.
Then again, there was a time when Division 1 lacrosse was more elite than FBS football. Not much more than 10 years ago there was less than 40 total programs in the top level of NCAA men’s lacrosse. Now the number is at 70 and growing. The number of club programs numbers in the 400’s and includes schools like Wake Forest, Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Oregon.
Moreover, even the lower divisions of athletics, which essentially were one in the same for a long time, have found some parity while also losing some talent to the new programs above. Salisbury University (Maryland) was once the de facto Appalachian State of college lacrosse. They had the talent to beat any team outside of the Top 10 in the top division and couldn’t lose (much like Mount Union in football).
Maryland schools were never dominant in DIII lax outside of Salisbury (though Washington College, St. Mary’s and Western Maryland-now McDaniel had varying success). And Stevenson had a brief run of dominance that has subsided a bit as well. But this division is now lead by several programs in the Northeast, mainly because the best academic programs (perhaps in all divisions) are in this region and scholarships aren’t a possibility or a neceessity for many of these student-athletes.
The lax bro has experienced an evolution similar to the sport itself. Once a very particular sport with a very particular following, laxstitutes are everywhere. Former players everywhere will testify to the brotherhood that is made this sport the thriving one it is today.