Frequently Asked Questions
- What is SRQLAX, Inc.?
SRQLAX, Inc. (SRQLAX) is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization established in 2013 to facilitate the transition of high school lacrosse from a club sport to a Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sanctioned sport in Sarasota County public high schools. With the support of the Sarasota County School Board we established a pilot program at Riverview High School (RHS) in 2016, with the requirement that we fully fund the program ourselves. The organization subsequently established a FHSAA lacrosse program at Venice High School (VHS) that launched girls’ and boys’ varsity lacrosse in Spring 2018, also to be fully funded through SRQLAX. The SRQLAX Board of Directors is a committee of 16 who represent a cross section of lacrosse coaches, lacrosse parents and community members who believe in making lacrosse a sanctioned varsity sport in Sarasota County.
- Where will the FHSAA sanctioned high school teams be?
Through negotiations with the Sarasota County School Board and FHSAA, we were approved to move forward with the first FHSAA sanctioned boys’ and girls’ varsity lacrosse teams at RHS beginning in Spring 2016, and VHS in Spring 2018. The agreement with the School Board provides for 3-year pilot programs at both schools, funded in their entirety by SRQLAX. We were asked to raise approximately $100,000 per school to fund this program. Lacrosse will be offered as a pay-to-play sport.
- What does “Pay to Play” mean?
Those players selected for their school’s varsity team will pay a registration fee to play lacrosse. The fee is determined by the actual cost to provide lacrosse as a sanctioned school sport. SRQLAX will cover the majority of the costs, and is continually fundraising and applying for grants to help make the cost to play as reasonable as possible. At this time, registration fees are approximately $375 per player, with limited scholarships available. No player who makes the team will be turned away due to lack of funds.
- Are there boys' and girls' teams?
RHS fields girls’ and boys’ JV and varsity teams. VHS started their inaugural season with boys’ and girls’ varsity teams. With both schools, there were no JV teams the first year, with the potential to add JV teams in following seasons.
- When is the lacrosse season?
Lacrosse is a spring sport. Tryouts are typically held in January and the season officially begins in February. This year, tryouts were held the week of January 29th and the season kicked off the week of February 19th. Games continue through mid-April, with district playoffs the week of April 16th.
- What items will be provided to players?
All players will be provided uniforms and helmets and will be required to return them to the school at the end of the season or if they should leave the team for any reason. Goalie gear will be provided for all teams and will include helmet, throat guard, chest protector, goalie sticks, and gloves. Girls’ goalie gear will also include shin guards. Players must wear the issued helmets. They are not allowed to wear any other helmets.
- What equipment will players need to provide for themselves?
Girls will need to provide their own complete stick, cleats, and socks. Boys will need to provide their own complete stick, cleats, socks, shoulder pads, gloves, and elbow pads.
- What is required in order to try out for Varsity lacrosse?
Students must meet all district & school eligibility requirements, complete their school’s athletic packet, and have or purchase the district-required athletic insurance in order to try out for Varsity lacrosse. The packets must be submitted prior to participation. Packets can be obtained at RHS and VHS in the main office or athletic office and can also be downloaded from the SRQLAX website. In order to try out for the teams, a student must attend Riverview or Venice High School or be districted for RHS or VHS. There are exceptions for students who attend “special schools” such as Pine View and Sarasota Suncoast Academy. See explanation below.
- Will players be required to be US Lacrosse members?
All players who are selected for varsity teams will be required to hold a valid US Lacrosse membership. The cost is $35 per player payable to US Lacrosse. Memberships are valid for one year.
- How is the fundraising effort going?
Riverview High School’s program is fully funded, with ongoing support from the RHS Rams Lacrosse Booster Club. In Venice, we have raised over $60,000 through donations from generous donors and sponsors in our communities. We are currently holding a player drive and have spring fundraisers in the works. The fundraising is going well, but we still have work to do, with the final $30,000 for the Venice High School lacrosse program due May 1, 2018.
- How can I help?
Thank you for asking! There are many ways you can help. We encourage you to get involved with SRQLAX. It’s a great group, and we are currently seeking new volunteers to act as liaisons and help to establish booster clubs for each school. If you haven’t had a chance to donate to SRQLAX yet, please consider doing so, and if you know of a company or individual who might like to help out with a sponsorship, please help us make that connection. All donations are tax deductible. Contact Rachel Hautamaki for further information or to help out with any of the above. To stay informed, please join our e-mail list, and “like” us on Facebook at SRQLAX.
- What’s next?
If successful, we will look to roll out FHSAA sanctioned varsity lacrosse programs at the remaining Sarasota County public high schools in coming years as interest and support dictates. Ultimately we would like to have a sanctioned varsity lacrosse program in all of the Sarasota County high schools.
- What about the players who are not districted for Riverview or Venice High School?
Players who do not live in Riverview or Venice High School districts will be able to play lacrosse on local club teams until such time as their districted schools adopt a varsity lacrosse program. Players at “special schools” in the county (such as Pine View School and Sarasota Suncoast Academy) may play on the teams if they live within district, or they may apply for Riverview High School or Venice High School as their school of athletic choice through the Sarasota County Schools Office of School Choice. The next choice window is expected to be March, 2019, for play the following year.
- What kinds of lacrosse programs currently exist in the area?
Riverview High School and Venice High School are the only Sarasota County public high schools with varsity lacrosse programs at this time. Cardinal Mooney High School and Out of Door Academy are private schools in Sarasota that currently have sanctioned varsity lacrosse programs, as does Sarasota Military Academy, a charter school in Sarasota County. In Manatee County, St. Stephens Episcopal School has a sanctioned lacrosse program and Lakewood Ranch High School and Manatee High School started new FHSAA varsity lacrosse programs in 2018. There are two club programs, the Sarasota Seahawks in Sarasota County and the Monsters in Manatee County.
- Will club teams continue to exist after the pilot at Riverview starts?
Club teams will continue to exist as we build the lacrosse programs at the other Sarasota County high schools. Players from these club teams will then be able to feed into the new programs as they develop at additional high schools. FHSAA no longer allows club teams at high schools, so the Sarasota Seahawks will be the club team for Sarasota County. In the next year, we will need to recruit more coaches so that we can continue to support the lacrosse demand at the high school level.
- Who will our high school teams play against? What will the league be?
The varsity Riverview Rams and Venice Indians lacrosse teams will play other FHSAA sanctioned teams in the district, as well as out-of-district games arranged by their individual athletic programs. Currently, Sarasota Seahawks is a club team that can only play other club teams in our district. It is important that we develop more and more sanctioned teams as the existing club teams will be fewer and farther between in coming years.