Most years, being chairman of the NCAA lacrosse tournament
selection committee is a relatively low-profile job. After all,
there's no nationally televised selection show. But when the
committee excluded Bucknell in 1996, chairman John Parry found
himself in a firestorm. Didn't the Bison, the nation's lone
undefeated team, deserve a spot in the field of 12? "No. Actually
the committee was right on that one," says Larry Feldman, creator
of the authoritative national lacrosse power ratings. Feldman's
computer-driven system takes into account not only results but
also strength of schedule, and because of Bucknell's weak slate
he had placed the Bison 16th that year.
The following spring Feldman, an attackman at Penn in the 1960s,
put his ratings online as the centerpiece of a site dedicated to
the sport. In the four years since, laxpower.com has provided
ratings, schedules and scores for all men's and women's college
teams. It also keeps tabs on more than 2,000 boys' and girls'
high school programs in 35 states. Feldman often receives e-mails
if a high school's result isn't posted by the morning after a
game. He says the site gets 200,000 visitors a week during the
Feldman, a software manager at Intel who lives in that lacrosse
hotbed of Santa Fe and operates the site with three associates
and countless volunteers, also furnishes a free weekly online
newsletter and video links to some of the sport's memorable
moments. Still, the site's most potent feature remains its power
ratings. With the selection committee set to reveal the field on
Sunday, which bubble team should be sweating hardest? "Navy,"
says Feldman, which as of Sunday was 13th in the national polls
but four slots higher in laxpower's ratings. Feldman's rationale?
The Midshipmen (one of whose midfielders, Nick Lockwood, is shown
above) "play tough teams, but are always losing by a goal."