Item: The image conscious NCAA needs a geography lesson.
Taking a look at the official NCAA bracket for the 2012 Men’s Lacrosse Championship, the quarter-final round site which would be Syracuse’s destination if it should upset third-seed Duke Saturday (12:00 pm ET /ESPN) in Durham, N.C., is listed as “PPL Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Oh, it is PPL Park, built primarily for anchor tenant the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer in 2010.
But its location is definitely NOT Philadelphia (20 miles from Center City Philly). No, it’s economically-depressed Chester, Pa., home to the state’s poorest and least performing school district for a city its size (population roughly 40,000), crime and a low income population base.
The stadium sits along the Delaware River on the fringe of the city under the massive Commodore Barry Bridge linking Chester to southern New Jersey, so that poses a nice backdrop.
Unfortunately, that’s about the only nice backdrop in urban Chester, and likely the reason why the NCAA apparently didn’t want to be associated with the city name as well as promoting the bigger “Philadelphia Market.” It explains Chester’s absence from the tournament bracket.
But why disingenuously play with the facts, NCAA?
The whole point of Delaware County where the venue resides and the state of Pennsylvania providing a combined $77 million towards the $128 million price tag was to give Chester an economic boost and spur riverside redevelopment (which, unfortunately, has yet to materialize).
Even the stadium’s web site clearly states the address is in Chester.
Next season, when the lax Final Four returns to the NFL Eagles home nest Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since 2006, then you can correctly list on the bracket that the stadium IS located in “Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”