This weekend the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four is taking place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Mass. How appropriate is it that this Final Four is taking place there. Most of you probably know about a little issue called “Spy Gate” involving the NFL team that plays there. Well, the lacrosse controversy that won’t go away is the Duke Rape case. The controversy isn’t about the actual case, it is about the fact that the NCAA granted most of the players who had their 2006 season suspended, for what turned out to be no reason, an extra year of eligibility.
There were a lot of college coaches who were very unhappy with this decision from a lacrosse perspective. They felt it gave Duke an unfair advantage since they basically would have five classes of players playing this season. For the most part, the coaches were right. Duke has dominated most of their opponents on the way to a 17-1 record.
This weekend Duke can accomplish the one thing they have been unable to achieve so far in their careers: winning the National Championship. Standing in their way is a semifinal game with Johns Hopkins, the team that has beaten them in the finals 2 of the last 3 years. It will be interesting to see how a Duke championship would be viewed. Will it be viewed as a great team who deserved to win it, or a team that took advantage of a bad situation and won a title it doesn’t deserve? I think if Duke wins the title, they should be viewed as a great team who worked hard to overcome a situation and ended up champions.
The 2006 season should not have been suspended until the case was a lot farther along. The players accused should have been suspended, and the rest should have finished out the season. Since that didn’t happen, the only fair thing to do is grant them this extra season. As a Johns Hopkins fan, I can’t say I will be rooting for them to win on Saturday, but a small part of me wants to see them win that elusive championship.