For starters, to call the new college lacrosse event in Philadelphia the “Big 5” would be numerically inaccurate considering there are only four Division I lacrosse programs in the area.
There is also the fact that unlike in basketball, Drexel University is definitely treated as an equal to the other programs – Penn, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova.
Still, if the “Philly 4 Lacrosse Classic” can establish the kind of legacy that Big 5 basketball has, it will be a winner for all the programs.
The schedule for the games will begin on March 8 at Villanova Stadium with Drexel playing St. Joe’s at 5 p.m., followed by Penn against Villanova at 7:30.
The games move to Vidas Field at Drexel on March 10 with Villanova playing Drexel at noon and Penn playing St. Joe’s at 2:30.
The purpose of the Philly 4 is not to determine a Philadelphia-wide champion.
It’s just a celebration of one of the fastest growing sports in college athletics and a way to continue to promote and grow the game in the region.
The timing of the Philly 4 is ideal with the 2019 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships returning to Lincoln Financial Field. It will also be there in 2020.
The Final Four, which will be played May 25-27, returns to Philadelphia for the first time since 2016 and the sixth time to the Linc since its initial appearance in 2005. The other times that the lacrosse championships were in Philadelphia were in 1973 and 1992 at Franklin Field.
As host city for the eighth time, Philadelphia will now be second only to College Park, Md (10).
Penn leads the Philadelphia schools with 12 NCAA Tournament bids (its last coming in 2014). The Quakers reached the Final Four in 1988.