By Marisa Ingemi
Most of the professional lacrosse leagues that the casual fan follows causes a stir. The National Lacrosse League isn’t on TV enough. Major League Lacrosse is slow. But what takes the cake is the case of the North American Lacrosse League and the Professional Lacrosse League.
The NALL was founded by former NLL commissioner Jim Jennings. The rest of the league looked incredibly solid. Scott Neiss, one of the smartest men in lacrosse and former NLL front office worker, was the assistant deputy to commissioner and Phil Evans, the former NBA D-League commissioner was the NALL commissioner. Graham D’Alvia, who is behind the USIL, the governing body of US Lacrosse, was a team owner along with former basketball owners Anthony Chase and Brett Vickers.
Evans would be out within a few months and they would hired Anthony Caruso, an attorney, to run the league. There would be five teams in developing lacrosse markets; Wilkes-Barre, Hershey, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Kentucky, with a team to play in Lowell, Massachusetts in 2013. There were some big name players in the league, and it looked like a refreshing change of pace from the NLL. With the season less than a month away, disaster ensued.
The league’s supplemental draft was scheduled for 12pm on December 31st, 2011. It was suddenly cancelled, only announced on the league’s Facebook page. Later that night, the NALL writer for InLaxWeTrust.com, Jack Goods, texted me to inform me that a player on the Wilkes-Barre roster told him that the season was cancelled. I emailed Jennings, who told me that the season was postponed to the fall, and that commissioner Anthony Caruso was fired.
The report immediately was posted, and then things would explode in the coming days. The league announced that four of the teams, Wilkes-Barre, Hershey, Charlotte and Jacksonville had left the league to play in the fall. Kentucky and the Boston ownership group, along with one of the majority owners of Wilkes-Barre and the league, would sue the teams that left for fraud.
The lawsuit was settled last week, but the verdict will not be made public by either side. The side that left, Fall NALL, is now known as the Professional Lacrosse League, and plans to play in late September. NALL somehow got a season off, Kentucky playing in six games, Boston in two and a new Lehigh Valley franchise in one. Kentucky also played the Jersey Jesters, a team who will be in the league in 2013 and the MILA’s Chicago Outlaws.
Which side was in the right in this case? Both would like to tell you that they are. But one league has played games, while the other isn’t official yet. Keep watching, this soap opera won’t end soon. Now, some links on lacrosse.
Roundtable– IL Indoor
Four of the best writers in the game, Stephen Stamp, Bob Chavez, Teddy Jenner and Ty Pilson debate
Crosby Blog– In Lax we Trust
Patrick Crosby, the goalie of the Kentucky Stickhorses blogs about the end of NALL season
IL Gear Opens– Inside Lacrosse
A new website all about gear launches from the IL
Swarm Host Media Event– SBN Minnesota
The Minnesota Swarm hosted a media game
Player of the Year?– Lax Magazine
Jac Coyne argues how a player qualifies for player if the year in D3
John Danowski and the Devils– Inside Lacrosse
The Duke Blue Devils coach talks to Geoff Shannon
Game of the Week– Lax All Stars
Villanova vs Notre Dame
MLL Commissioner– Lacrosse Radio Network
David Gross talks to Phil Shore
Games on TV and Radio This Week: Saturday
Air Force Falcons vs Ohio State Buckeyes- Big Ten Network
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays vs Navy Midshipmen- CBS Sports Network
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Villanova Wild Cats- ESPNU
Georgetown Hoyas vs Syracuse Orange- ESPNU
Rochester Knighthawks vs Buffalo Bandits- CBS Sports Network