NCAA MEN'S D1 LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP
What can truly be regarded as one of the true North American sports in origin, lacrosse originally was played by the Native American tribes of the Northeast like the Huron, Iroquois and Algonquin. As it caught on with French settlers during colonial days, the sport became a national pastime of Canada, as evidenced by the success of the nation's first team of this sort - the Montreal Lacrosse Club. Canadian dentist George Beers is considered the father of modern lacrosse, which adapted many of the same rules as hockey and is now one of the most popular sports in both Canada and the United States.
The sport's unprecedented growth led to the formation of the first NCAA Division I Championship in 1971, which replaced the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) and its annual Wingate Memorial Trophy, which existed from 1936 to 1970. Much like the ever-popular men's basketball tournament, teams capture automatic bids into the tournament by winning their respective conference tournament. Additionally, schools with strong records are selected by a committee and are seeded according to record, strength of schedule and conference.
The first NCAA Men's Division I Lacrosse Championship was won by Cornell University over the University of Maryland. Over the tournament's illustrious 40-year history, only eight teams have won the championship, making it one of the most sought-after titles in all of collegiate sports. Maryland, Virginia, Duke, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Princeton and North Carolina have each won the national title. Syracuse University has the greatest record of success in the tournament, winning the championship an impressive 10 times over its short history. It is also one of the few events in collegiate sports where Ivy League colleges and other institutions with sterling academic reputations are on an even plane with traditional athletic powerhouses.
One of the greatest benefits of the NCAA Men's Division I Lacrosse Tournament is that it is held in large football stadiums across the country like Gillette Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and M&T Bank Stadium. These large facilities allow it to sometimes outrank the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in total attendance numbers. The sport's growing popularity has also garnered the attention of national sports outlets. The tournament is one of the most exciting athletic spectacles of the spring and continues to expand its popularity year after year.