The US Box Lacrosse Association (USBOXLA) has confirmed that the Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (UCBLL) will be pushing their inaugural National Collegiate Box Series (NCBS) season to 2021.
The UCBLL, launched earlier this year by the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks, had previously intended to begin play alongside NCBS leagues in Colorado, Connecticut and Ohio this summer. Due to pandemic-related factors beyond the league’s control, the decision was made by USBOXLA, NCBS and UCBLL officials to delay the start of their season.
The state of New York has experienced by far the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the country. According to state officials, Long Island, New York City, the Mid-Hudson, Capital District, and Western New York – the region the UCBLL will be operating within – were at the highest risk in the state. Those regions were not included in the areas the state of New York will attempt to reopen to varying levels later this month.
The Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CCBLL), the Connecticut Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CTCBLL) and the Ohio Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (OCBLL) are still optimistic their seasons will be played at some point this summer, while USBOXLA and league management continue to regularly monitor government-mandated guidelines, advisories and regulations specific to each participating state.
“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of any players, coaches, officials and staff taking part in the UCBLL,” said Rochester Knighthawks General Manager and VP of Lacrosse Operations, Dan Carey. “Due to the significant COVID-19 spread our state continues to experience, we felt the only way to ensure everyone’s absolute safety this spring and summer was by moving our inaugural NCBS season to 2021.”
USBOXLA, NCBS and UCBLL officials also unanimously agreed that launching a new league during such uncertain, unpredictable and unprecedented times would not allow for the proper execution of the UCBLL’s first-ever season. The CCBLL will be entering their fourth full season in 2020, the OCBLL their third, and while the CTCBLL officially joined as a full-time NCBS member this year, the Connecticut-based league had an extremely successful affiliate season last summer in order to prepare for their recent promotion.
“In order to maintain adequate safety, as well as ensuring all our required boxes are checked when launching a new league, we didn’t feel the current climate within the state of New York would allow us to achieve those goals in 2020,” said NCBS Commissioner, Niko Blankenship. “Collectively we felt focussing on 2021 for the launch of the UCBLL would be much safer, smarter and successful for everyone involved, especially for the players participating in this league.”
Later this summer, the UCBLL will confirm the founding-four teams that will take part in the league’s 2021 season.
While schedules have still not been confirmed or released for the CCBLL, CTCBLL and OCBLL due to pandemic-related delays, the NCBS is still hopeful these seasons will take place at some point this summer. Players interested in taking part that have not yet registered can add their name to the NCBS Player Pool via usboxla.com/college-play. Further updates will be provided as league’s continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic within their region.
The US Box Lacrosse Association (USBOXLA) is the country’s largest and most recognized box-specific governing body operating today. USBOXLA is a 501(c)3 charitable corporation whose mission is to develop and promote box lacrosse in the United States through a unified organization that provides high-value services, programs, and benefits to its members. Founded in 2010 by current University of Denver Associate Head Coach, Matt Brown, and former National Lacrosse League player, Shaydon Santos, USBOXLA has grown from a small regional association to one that presently serves over 25,000 individual members all over the US, all playing box lacrosse the right way.
About the NCBS
The National Collegiate Box Series (NCBS) was established by the US Box Lacrosse Association (USBOXLA) in 2018. The highly skilled series provides American collegiate players an opportunity to improve their overall lacrosse skillset through box lacrosse, to compete for a national championship, and also increase their chances of one day playing in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). First formed in 2017, the Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CCBLL) predates the formation of the NCBS, joining the series when it was officially launched a year later. In 2018, the Ohio Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (OCBLL) was established with teams based in both Columbus and Cleveland. In 2019, over 200 US-born collegiate players competed in the NCBS, while new leagues in 2020 are expected to double the number of Americans taking part in this ground-breaking box lacrosse movement.