Is Lacrosse on the Cusp of a Division I Sponsorship Explosion?

John Paul huddled with his players after they had just defeated Michigan State in last year's club lacrosse regular-season finale. Paul, a University of Michigan alum and former athletics administrator who over 14 years built arguably the most successful club lacrosse program in the nation, had an announcement to make. The Wolverines were making the jump to Division I, beginning with the 2012 season.

Shocked silence.

Fast-forward 12 months, and the shock lingers. The team, which lost one game in 59 while capturing three consecutive club lacrosse national championships between 2008 and 2010, tasted victory only once this season, but its Division I presence has nonetheless sent reverberations throughout collegiate lacrosse. No BCS school had launched a varsity men's lacrosse program since Notre Dame did so in 1981. "A lot of people are calling us the biggest story in the game in 30 years," Paul says, "which is nice of them to put a little bit more pressure on our backs."

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