There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Inside Lacrosse’s inaugural Committed Academy event, taking place at Towson’s Goucher College during the final three days of July. As of two weeks ago, a whopping 60 ranked players (according to Recruiting Rundown) in the junior and senior classes had signed up – that list can be seen at this link. Beyond just that list, dozens and dozens of top high school players have also signed up to compete with and against future teammates & rivals from their respective college conferences they’ll be representing.
RR interviewed IL’s Josh Davey about this summer’s Committed Academy to learn a bit more about where the event came from and how it’s shaping up.
A former Lynchburg attackman and captain, Davey helps run IL’s events and high school content. He is also the head coach of the Park School of the MIAA B Conference.
What are the biggest benefits of participating in Committed Academy?
Josh Davey: The relationships that future teammates and rivals will begin or continue to forge over the three days at the Committed Academy, as well as the off-the-field programming.
What makes the Committed Academy so special is the fact that IL is bringing players together who will be teammates and friends for the rest of their lives. To have an opportunity to meet kids who will be your roommates, locker room buddies and best friends for the next chapter of your life — that’s a pretty cool thing.
Alongside that, the off-the-field programming will be exceptional. Wounded Warrior Project will be running leadership training with all participants. This training will be based on their seven core values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Service, Honor, Integrity and Courage. We are not only trying to improve the attendees’ lacrosse skills, but their life skills as well. The off-the-field aspect will help them take the next step in becoming developed men.
How did the idea of the event come together?
JD: The idea came about after ILWomen editor Halley Quillinan and IL Events Manager Ashley McCulloch played in Lake Placid vs. “Baby Blue,” a team of high school girls who had all committed to play at North Carolina. They wanted to play together to begin bonding and building chemistry, but they couldn’t find competition that could keep up. This was a team of girls who would eventually be best friends and teammates for the next 4 years.
Halley and Ashley thought, “Why doesn’t this happen more often? There are very few competitive events for players who’ve already committed and/or have graduated high school…
…And the Committed Academy came to life.
What’s the involvement with college coaches? How has their feedback been in terms of having their college recruits building chemistry before enrollment?
JD: Before we announced the Committed Academy to the public, we reached out to college coaches and let them know about the event because we knew it’d have an impact on their programs and we were curious about their thoughts. The feedback has been really positive. Many of them host opportunities for their committed players to compete together, but — again — it can be difficult to find equal competition.
Off the field, why wouldn’t coaches want their future players to meet as early as possible and begin a relationship before they step on campus? The biggest support from coaches has been related to the Wounded Warrior character development programming. The attendees of the Committed Academy have an opportunity to learn from some of the most distinguished leaders who have risked their lives to protect our country. At the end of the day, a coach wants a team of responsible men who understand what true leadership looks like. This academy will speed up that process and help these athletes mature before they arrive on campus.
The competition, of course, is the highlight of the event. What are some of the components off the field that you’re most excited about?
JD: At the end of the day, these participants are student-athletes. I think one of the most overwhelming aspects of playing lacrosse in college is the time management when it comes to academics. These players are essentially full-time athletes and sometimes the academics can suffer because of that, but the “student” has to come first in “student-athlete.” The reality is that you need to have an education in order to succeed beyond the field. We are extremely excited about the academic advising portion of the Committed Academy that we’re currently working on. The attendees will participate in sessions to learn about time management, study habits, prioritization, goal-setting and how to make you a successful adult after college lacrosse comes to an end.