3/14/11 12:00 AM
By Redmond Zmudzien, Contributing Writer
Major League Lacrosse recently announced a partnership with University Lacrosse, affectionately known by its members as ULAX. Founded in 2005 by University of Colorado alumni Neema Kassaii and Tim Leonard, ULAX was established to provide an outlet for athletes to play lacrosse without the high cost or commitments of club teams.
“ULAX has provided the unique opportunity to play in a lacrosse league that is connected to a nationwide network of leagues,” said ULAX Founder Neema Kassaii. "The way we look at it, ULAX is helping to maintain a demographic of lacrosse players that would otherwise not be playing the game."
Major League Lacrosse has teamed up with ULAX in an effort to augment the growth of the fastest growing sport in the country through cross-promotional efforts and other collaborations.
“We are happy to support an organization that is so dedicated to expanding the sport of lacrosse,” said Major League Lacrosse Commissioner David Gross. “We support ULAX in their efforts to provide athletes who don’t have the opportunity to play at the professional level with a chance to play competitively.”
ULAX is a company that complements the growth of lacrosse by providing players with a continued outlet; something that has been lacking in the lacrosse community according to Kassaii.
“We are working to keep players in the game,” he said. “It is our philosophy to keep the game fun, competitive and accessible; thereby we believe that we will continue to attract college and post-collegiate athletes by giving them an experience not previously offered.”
ULAX leagues can be found in a number of towns in the United States, all the way from the big cities like New York and Boston to smaller and lesser known lacrosse areas like Buffalo, N.Y. and Ann Arbor, Mich. Kassaii says ULAX averages about 2,000 players a year but plans on having 40 leagues operating simultaneously around the country within the next three years.
“We hope to stay involved and to provide opportunities for the growing numbers of lacrosse athletes to not only play lacrosse, but to offer jobs in the game of lacrosse as well,” Kassai said.
What separates ULAX from similar lacrosse leagues is that it treats every single league as an individual business.
“We have a system for determining whether applicants are likely to succeed in developing a league or not and we require that people submit a well thought out proposal outlining their strategy and goals,” Kassaii said. “This takes place before the company agrees to move forward and commit to any and all applicants. It is a very professional process that is continually being improved.”
Organization is also a major contribution to ULAX’s success as Kassaii and Leonard place a huge importance on keeping everything easily accessible. Everything is organized through the ULAX website as players can check their game schedule, rankings and statistics. There are also photographs and videos taken for each game that can be seen at the company’s official website (www.ulax.org).