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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Why can’t the NCAA get this right?

Noon on a Thursday, huh?

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Let’s start with the positive.

Two years ago, as the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team was making their run to the 2021 NCAA Championship game, the tournament’s quarterfinal round was a complete disaster.

The four games were played on a Saturday and all overlapped with each other, with starting times at 12 PM, 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM. If you wanted to watch every game, you needed two, or at times even three, screens in front of you. If you wanted to watch the big stars like Meaghan Tyrrell, Izzy Scane, Jamie Ortega, or Charlotte North, it became a chore of going back-and-forth instead of being able to enjoy watching them in their own windows.

The positive is that the overlap problem was remedied last year as the quarterfinals moved to Thursday and each game’s start time was spaced out 2.5 hours apart from each other.

The same format remains for this year, and while it’s an improvement on two years ago, the issues still persist. And, unfortunately, Syracuse drew the short straw this year on the biggest issue of all with this format.

The Orange will lead the day off with their quarterfinal matchup against the No. 7 seed James Madison Dukes inside the JMA Wireless Dome at 12 PM on ESPNU.

While it’s great that each game gets it’s own individual window for television, there is a big problem with the first two games taking place in the middle of the day on a weekday. It’s obviously the worst for the Orange’s 12 PM time slot.

Sorry to all the ‘Cuse fans who either go to school or have a job. Sorry to all the young girls and boys who look up to these athletes and love watching them play for their favorite team. I guess you’re out of luck unless you want to play hooky.

(Ed. note: Education is important, but if you happen to schedule a doctor’s appointment for your kids for this time slot, we won’t judge you)

Probably the biggest shame of this is the fact that this isn’t just one of the best Syracuse women’s lacrosse teams in history, it’s also one of the most beloved.

In the 25 year history of this program, SU has recorded 31 home games with more than 1,000 fans in attendance. 11 of those (35 percent) came this season alone, and that’s in only 12 home games.

In the first 24 years of the program, not once did the team have multiple games in the same season with over 2,000 fans in attendance. This season? They had FOUR. People have come out to watch this team in a way they never have before. And now, in their last chance to see them at home in 2023, most of them won’t be able to.

Adding to the frustration here is that there is a solution to this issue right in front of our eyes, and all we have to do is look over to the men’s side for answers.

Every year, quarterfinal weekend on the men’s side involves two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. But on the women’s side, they put all four games on the same day. How about splitting the games into two on Thursday and two on Friday? That way, you can set up start times like 5 PM and 7:30 PM for both days, and we don’t have to worry about this middle of the day on a weekday nonsense.

Instead, we’ve got @Cuse on Twitter asking for people to “take the afternoon off”.

Well, I guess we have to, since the NCAA can’t seem to figure out how to get this right.