Colorado State University Cuts Ties with Men's Lacrosse Team
Ft. Collins, CO
By Alex Smith
April 1, 2005
The Colorado State University men's lacrosse team is no more, according to sources close
to the program and within the school. Due to what the CSU Club Sports Department describes
only as, "budget cuts and massive violation of club policy," the university has
cut all ties with the men's lacrosse team, including naming rights, field availability and
budget stipends for the remainder of the 2005 school year and possibly the future. The measure
was put into effect on Wednesday, March 30 and was implemented immediately.
"Obviously, we are all very disappointed with the findings," said an understandably
despondent Colorado State coach Flip Naumburg in an official release from the team. Naumburg
would not go into detail as to what exactly the "massive violation of club policy"
entailed and no one from the university was available for comment.
"We consider ourselves a family here at CSU and I guess one way you could describe
this whole mess is to call it a divorce," said Naumburg.
The relationship between the university and lacrosse team was already shaky before the
current problems took place. Restrictions on field use, damage to school property and parking
violations for players at practice had created tension over the past six years. On Wednesday,
the tension reached its boiling point.
The Rams are currently enjoying an 11-0 season and a #1 ranking in the MDIA after their
double overtime win over #4 Sonoma State on Tuesday.
"Yeah, I'm upset," said senior captain Nick Stanitz-Harper. "This is something
I've been building and being a part of for almost five years. It's really upsetting that
the school would pull this (expletive) at this point in the season."
Naumburg was equally passionate on the issue. "I'm still trying to figure out how
this could happen. These players give so much to play a game that they love. They don't
get paid. They don't get financial aid. These kids are what college sports are all about.
CSU says budget cuts have something to do with it, but I have a hard time believing that's
not a smoke screen for something else."
Speculation and frustration on campus continued Thursday as many students expressed their
anger by protesting the university's club sports department. Over 100 people picketed the
entrance, which is located inside the student recreation center on campus, making it virtually
impossible for students to enter or exit the building for over an hour on Thursday.
While Colorado State University will no longer officially be affiliated with the program,
the team has found a loophole that will allow them to remain a part of the MDIA for the
remainder of the season.
Since Front Range Community College is a part of all public universities in Colorado, all
students who are enrolled at Colorado State are also accepted at FRCC. From there it becomes
a matter of registering for classes at the small community college located about six miles
south of Colorado State.
Each student-athlete must be registered for at least six credit hours at FRCC for the cross-enrollment
to be applicable.
"We've made arrangements with the good people over at FRCC," said Naumburg. "They
have been kind enough to take us in and accommodate us in any way possible."
Naumburg indicated that most members of the team will be enrolling in one of the four basic
curricula that Front Range offers.
"I guess I'll be adding History of Jazz Music and Introduction to Fire Prevention
Education to my schedule," said Stanitz-Harper, who majors in Business and Chinese
and is already taking 16 credits in his final semester. "We've got to finish what we
started here. We've been through adversity before so this is just something else that will
help our family stay strong."
Front Range Community College does not currently field any athletic teams. There are no
fields near the college, so the lacrosse team formerly known as Colorado State is researching
possible field locations in the Fort Collins area.
Another big problem will be getting jerseys and gear. Colorado State University will not
allow the team to wear anything that bears resemblance to the university, including the
team's trademark horned helmets and jerseys emblazoned with CSU on the front.
"I guess we could stick with green and gold, but to be honest, I'm ready to move past
this ugly stage in team history," said Naumburg, who is currently trying to procure
different colored uniforms for the team.
The team will likely just peel off the horns on this year's helmets and use the blank green
and golds until suitable colors are decided on next year.
MDIA President John Paul was supportive of the team and expects that Front Range will likely
be a contender for the national championship this May. He confirmed that the cross-enrollment
will be acceptable for the team this year.
"Flip is a good friend of mine," said Paul. "I'm sure he'll find a way to
get his troops ready for the tournament. He'll probably use this all as motivation and we'll
all be in trouble!"
Naumburg and FRCC host the Colorado School of Mines on April 1st.
"We'll just keep on keeping on, I suppose," said Naumburg. "You can't always
get what you want and this is a classic example of that. Luckily, I have a bunch of guys
here that I know have the character to get it done."
The future will be unknown for the unnamed FRCC lacrosse club, but judging by the spirit
of its members, it won't be a waste. It is not known whether or not the team will be reinstated
for the 2006 season or be allowed to continue the cross-enrollment.
"One step at a time," said Naumburg. "I'm only thinking about the next practice
and the next game."
After that, it's anyone's guess.