A Penn State spokesman confirmed that CAA athletic directors have voted to bar Penn State from participating in the league championship for the 2014 season, their last as a conference member before joining the Big Ten in men’s lacrosse for the 2015 season. Sources said the vote came at the suggestion of the league’s men’s coaches.
The move effectively eliminates the Nittany Lions from contention for the league’s automatic qualifier in 2014, leaving their only path to the NCAA tournament as at-large qualification.
“While we are not in favor of the decision by the CAA administrators, we understand they had the right to do so according to the CAA by-laws,” Penn State men’s lacrosse SID Jeremy Fallis wrote in an email to Inside Lacrosse on Thursday. “It’s disappointing that our seniors won’t have the opportunity to compete for the CAA Tournament title and its automatic NCAA bid. Nevertheless, we’re incredibly excited to get back to work this fall as we try to earn a second-straight NCAA at-large bid this upcoming spring.”
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Such a move is not without precedent; for example, Boston University’s teams weren’t permitted in America East tournaments during the 2012-13 seasons, the Terriers’ final year before moving to the Patriot League.
Penn State has been an affiliate member of the CAA since 2010 and hosted the league tournament last year as the No. 1 seed, falling to Towson, 11-10, in the championship game. The Nittany Lions earned their way into the NCAA tournament as an at-large and hosted Yale, losing to the Bulldogs, 10-7, and finishing the season 12-5.