Currently a club team, lacrosse on its way to transitioning to sanctioned varsity sport

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All school sports played through this school are a part of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA). Each is recognized at school convocations for winning state titles or other awards, and most of the sporting events have many students in the stands. Lacrosse, currently a club sport, according to Athletics Director Jim Inskeep, has a chance to become another sport on that list in the next few years.

“When we consider a new sport, we look at all areas and how that will impact us,” Inskeep said. “We look at is there viable student interest that is sustained that we feel is beneficial to bring to the umbrella of Carmel High School and the athleticdepartment. I feel like lacrosse is at that point.”

With every beneficial aspect to adding something such as a sport to CHS, there remain negative side effects and roadblocks in the way. Whether it is financial difficulties, from a facility perspective or due to laws such as Title IX (an amendment that forbids sexual discrimination); Inskeep, along with lacrosse players and coaches, are striving for it.

Club no more: Junior Joshua “Josh” Coons hustles down the field during a lacrosse game earlier this season. Coons said he is excited at the prospect of lacrosse becoming a school sport instead of a club sport.

“It would have to have a recommendation from the high school administration, from me, that would then go on to our central administration to our school board with final approval so to speak,” Inskeep said. “It would have to be something that would be added to the contract because currently it’s not in our contract.”

Joshua “Josh” Coons, lacrosse player and junior, is working alongside his team to progress in making the shift from a club sport to a school sport.

“I think everyone is looking forward to lacrosse becoming a school sport,” Coons said. “A lot of the seniors that just graduated were really pushing for it. We talk about it a lot; we just got new jerseys last year so we were talking about what different teams at Carmel were doing, like the basketball team, and the football team. A lot of people want it so it’d be pretty cool. Especially winning state last year, we didn’t get recognized at the convocations so it’s kind of a bummer.”

Although other people involved in the program get to add their input, the final decision rests with the Athletics Director.

“Facilities, do we have a place to put them? Are we trying to make something happen that we can’t support from a facility standpoint?” Inskeep said. “We have plans to do some changes. For example, we currently have plans in two years to put our official turf down in Murray Stadium where the soccer team plays, and that’s going to be a big part of this process as well. Not to say it will happen in two years some of the dominos I feel like have to happen to know that we can hit the ground running when that starts.”

Joey Scott, lacrosse player and sophomore, is also apart of the club team. While debating whether lacrosse will become an IHSAA sport, Scott said there are pros and cons with every decision.

“I want (lacrosse) to be a school sport so that we can make the sport larger, and many more people would come to the games,” Scott said. “They would be announced over the intercom, just like all the other sports are.”

However, according to Title IX, there must be an equal number of sports offered for both women and men. If lacrosse were to become an IHSAA sport, women’s lacrosse would have to also.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox says that if schools such as Carmel are fielding teams, so long as an equal number of opportunities are afforded to both boys and girls, the school will remain in good standing.

“If lacrosse were added we would add both boys and girls and not just one or the other, so that would also play into it,” Inskeep said. “Knowing right now potentially also looks at capping participation in both of those. Right now the boys have several more team members than the girls. And also, Title IX is a big part of it. For the office of civil rights which oversees Title IX legislation and people following those federal laws, we would need to make certain that we can continue to offer a proportional amount of sports for both boys and girls, which is also proportional to our student population.”

This school’s student body defines a club sport as anything that is not run through the athletic department. Lacrosse, hockey and bowling are not clubs at CHS but that is the term that is used to describe them.

“It’s just a process. Lacrosse will be here in due time,” Inskeep said. ”I’m excited about that possibility, and I know that in our community the interest continues to just pick up every year. It’s an entertaining sport. If we take it on, we’re going to take it on all the way.”

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