NCAA Soccer Proposal to Encroach On Lacrosse Spring Season

There is a potential conflict stirring behind the scenes in the NCAA right now. Two Division I coaching committees are about to come to a head over a proposal to expand the NCAA Soccer season. The Men’s Soccer Division I Coaching Committee is submitting a proposal to the NCAA with support from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer, which would largely eliminate mid-week games and move the NCAA soccer tournament to the spring:

"Under a proposal formulated by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the number of official team days would grow to 144 from 132. Teams would open training camp in late August, hold two friendlies, then play 13 matches between mid-September and the weekend before Thanksgiving. (Currently, some teams play two friendlies and as many as 24 games between late August and the holiday.) From late November until late February, teams would go on winter break, restricted to eight hour-long training sessions. Spring training camp would begin in late February and include one friendly. The season would resume in mid-March and include nine regular season matches, plus conference and NCAA tournament games." - Washington Post

In addition to the coaches association the proposal has support from a block of athletic administrators led by former Houston Dynamo President and current WVU AD Oliver Luck.

What is the reason for this push for change by the soccer conglomerate?

There are several.  1) College soccer coaches feel they are trying to cram too many games and practices into a fall season that is not consistent with other soccer leagues nationwide, many that play 10 month seasons. 2) For this reason they argue that many of the best players in the country are forgoing a college soccer experience in favor of other development opportunities. 3) They also argue that those that do play in college are not as prepared for post-collegiate soccer opportunities due to the limitations of the current structure 4) College soccer has long been envious of sports (like lacrosse) that have marquee championship weekends.  The NCAA College Cup, played in the month of December, struggles for tv coverage and fans, with only a few thousand often attending. 5) Soccer is clearly sick of being the little brother to Football and Basketball in the fall months.  Lacrosse has had the benefit of, for the most part, competing against the less tv friendly and more regional college baseball/softball.  Soccer wants a piece of that spring time exposure as well.

How does this affect the sport of lacrosse?

It comes down to a conflict over resources and space. Over 2/3 of all NCAA varsity lacrosse programs share a field with soccer, meaning soccer gets the field priority in the fall and lacrosse in the spring.  Additionally, about 1/3 of all varsity lacrosse programs, especially at the Division III level, share a locker room with their schools soccer team on a seasonal basis.  With only so many hours in a day, and knowing that not every school has a field with lights, how will schools that have M/W Lacrosse also add M. Soccer to their spring schedules?  Will all soccer programs now expect a year-round locker room and how will that be handled with those teams that share seasonally with lacrosse?  What if both teams share the same athletic trainer on an in-season basis?

Will the lacrosse community respond?

It seems that the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association is aware of this proposal and is preparing to push back.  The 2014 IMLCA Coaches Pre-Convention Survey included your typical questions about shot clock, assistant coaches, support staffing etc...but also included 3 survey questions specific to what facilities and resources a team shared with their schools soccer program. The IMLCA should absolutely push back on this proposal, and coaches should take the time to go to their ADs and discuss concerns about how their program would be negatively affected by such a proposal.  The IMLCA should also consider a counter proposal where if soccer is to become a year-round sport, than so should lacrosse.  Instead of making fall ball a 'scrimmage' season, make the games count, take a break in thanksgiving, and pick up again in March.  Why is it ok for soccer to go year-round but not lacrosse?

Could this really happen?

It depends on who you ask.  There is certainly guarded optimism among some coaches in collegiate soccer circles that the proposal is picking up steam and looks like it will be reviewed by the NCAA. Regardless, it is still an uphill battle for soccer.  In addition to the infrastructure and logistical challenges we've already touched upon, we must remember that soccer (like lacrosse) is a non-revenue sport.  It will be difficult to expect athletic departments, many of which are already cash-strapped to begin with, to add more practices, more games, and possibly more support staff, to maintain soccer year-round.  Especially when one considers that many of the NCAAs recent student-athlete welfare proposals have involved discussions about lessening practice times for athletes, it seems unlikely the governing body would agree to increase practices times for one particular sport. There is also no talk of applying any of these changes to Women's Soccer, which may not sit well with the gender equity conscious NCAA.  John Infante, an expert on NCAA bylaws recently stated that while soccer's plan is reasonable and well considered "It has virtually zero change of being enacted" We'll just have to wait and see.

Quincy University (DII IL) Adds Men's Lacrosse

Quincy University announced plans to completely renovate historic QU Stadium—home of QU baseball and future home of QU football—with a $4 million investment by PFIC, a California-based developer of facilities for colleges and universities such as University of Massachusetts, University of Houston, Bucknell University, and University of Connecticut. The renovations are to begin immediately and are slated for completion by fall 2015. Quincy University President Dr. Robert Gervasi stated that the improved facilities will benefit not only the players on the field, but also the university as a whole as well as the entire Quincy region.

 "QU prides itself in excellence in education and in all aspects. Therefore, we must be competitive in attracting student athletes," Gervasi says. "The expansion of QU athletics will increase overall enrollment, creating a more vibrant campus experience. We envision QU Stadium to be a destination for large scale events appealing to the entire Quincy Region."

Full Article

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Hamline University (DIII MN) Adds Women's Lacrosse

Hamline University is proud to announce that the game known as 'America's first sport' will be the newest women's athletics offering at Minnesota's first university. Women's lacrosse at Hamline will begin in the spring of 2016, making the Pipers part of a sport with deep historical roots which is thriving in popularity across the nation among high school and college students.

 "Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation so this new endeavor will open up many new and exciting opportunities for student athletes," Hamline Athletics Director Jason Verdugo said. "We are pleased to be able to build on the strength and depth of Hamline Athletics with a sport that has such a rich history and bright future with a new generation of athletes." Lacrosse is currently offered as a club sport at Hamline, but as part of Division III the new Pipers team will uphold National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) standards and regulations and will compete as an NCAA independent during their first year of competition.

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University Montevallo (DII AL) Adds Women's Lacrosse

MONTEVALLO, Ala. – University of Montevallo President John W. Stewart III announced the addition of women’s lacrosse as the 16th intercollegiate sport following approval by the Board of Trustees at its annual meeting in November.

Women’s lacrosse will become the ninth women’s intercollegiate sport at the University. “I would like to thank the University Board of Trustees and President Stewart for approving women’s lacrosse as we continue to add opportunities for prospective students,” said Athletic Director Mark Richard.

“Lacrosse is a growing sport on the national landscape and we are excited to be part of the sport’s continued growth within the state of Alabama.” The women’s lacrosse program will begin its inaugural season in the spring of 2016.

 A national search to find the first head coach in the history of the program will begin immediately. The program will play home games at the brand new natural grass field at the track and field facility, which will be completed in the spring. For more information about the head coaching position and the program’s new facility, visit www.montevallo.edu or www.montevallofalcons.com.

Full Article

Westminster College (DIII PA) Adds Lacrosse

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College has announced the addition of men's lacrosse as a varsity sport for the 2015-16 academic year. The addition of men's lacrosse increases the number of Westminster's varsity sports to 21. Men's lacrosse will be a spring sport.

 "The addition of lacrosse to our portfolio of athletic offerings reflects the growth of the sport nationally and increasing interest in it by both current and prospective students," Westminster President Richard Dorman said. "As the Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC) continues to see new varsity lacrosse programs established at member colleges, Westminster is pleased to be the next entry into this fast and exciting sport."

 Westminster is anticipating adding women's lacrosse as a varsity sport in the near future. At this time, women's lacrosse remains a club sport.

Full Article

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Concordia University - Chicago Adds Lacrosse

Oct. 28, 2014 – Concordia University Chicago will begin men's and women's lacrosse during the 2015-16 academic year. The announcement was made at the recent 2014 Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

 "Concordia University Chicago is an ideal university for student-athletes to flourish in the classroom, in their sports and ultimately in life beyond college," said Dr. Daniel L. Gard, President of Concordia University Chicago. "The University looks forward to lacrosse becoming a part of our active and growing athletic program and to the presence of lacrosse players who will add much to our campus. Go, Cougars' Lacrosse!"

 The addition of both lacrosse programs will increase the number of intercollegiate sports programs offered at CUC to 19. "We think that lacrosse is a growing sport that fits the profile of the students attending Concordia-Chicago," said Pete Gnan, Concordia-Chicago Director of Athletics. "By adding two additional athletic programs, it will enhance the opportunities that students have for intercollegiate competition at the university."

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Benedictine College (NAIA KS) Adds Lacrosse

The Benedictine College Athletic Department will add both men's and women's lacrosse to its intercollegiate lineup for the spring of 2016. "We have observed the growth of lacrosse as an intercollegiate sport in our region and nationally," said Benedictine Athletic Director Charlie Gartenmayer.

"We spent a great deal of time investigating the positive impact a program like Lacrosse will make on Benedictine College. This new program provides an additional opportunity for prospective student-athletes to explore the opportunities Benedictine College offers in academic, social and spiritual development in addition to an excellent athletic tradition."

A search for head coaches for both programs will begin immediately with a target of spring of 2016 for both teams to compete as part of the Raven Athletics varsity lineup. Currently, Benedictine has both men's and women's lacrosse as club sports.

Full Article

Georgian Court (DII NJ) Adds Men's Lacrosse

Lakewood, N.J.- Georgian Court University will add men's lacrosse to its current mix of athletic teams, growing the number of men's offerings to five by Fall 2015. The decision, motivated in part by the popularity of lacrosse in New Jersey and surrounding states, is expected to draw highly competitive players from across the Shore region and beyond.

"This is yet another step in becoming fully coed, and it also represents another investment in the future of the university," added GCU President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D. "When we announced the move to coeducation in 2012, we expected to move forward in phases that would impact academics, athletics, residence life, and student affairs. In adding men's lacrosse, we are taking yet another step to make more opportunities available to our male students."

"In 2013, we consciously decided to only add five men's sports—basketball, cross-country, soccer, and indoor and outdoor track & field—so that we would be in compliance with NCAA regulations and not overwhelm the university during the transitional process," added GCU Athletics Director Laura Liesman. "With the addition of men's lacrosse, we will become an attractive option for male lacrosse players who want to earn their degree at a Catholic institution."

Full Article

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Northern Michigan University (DII) & Ottawa University (NAIA KS) Add Lacrosse

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Athletic Director Forrest Karr announced Friday that the NMU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to add four intercollegiate sports. Women’s golf and men’s swimming and diving will be implemented next fall. Women’s lacrosse and men’s soccer will follow in 2016.

 All four sports will compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Full Article

Ottawa, Kansas – Ottawa University announced today the addition of men's and women's lacrosse. With the addition of these two teams, it brings OU's total number of varsity athletic teams to 20. The search for a head coach and recruitment of student-athletes will begin immediately, with competition slated to begin in 2015-16. Lacrosse is a spring sport, which fits well into the University's athletic offerings from a scheduling and facility standpoint.

Lacrosse was developed by Native Americans as early as the 15th century and was played for recreation, the settlement of tribal disputes and as a form of warrior training. Goals could be up to several miles apart with no sidelines to constrain play. Like so many others around the country, Ottawa University is opting to return to the country's original athletic roots, as well as its own roots through its ties with the Ottawa Tribe, to play the oldest game on the continent.

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University of Alabama Huntsville Adds Lacrosse

The University of Alabama in Huntsville Department of Athletics announced the addition of men's and women's lacrosse programs on Monday, and the teams will begin competition in the spring of 2016. The teams will compete at the NCAA Division II level, increasing UAH's number of varsity sports to 18. "Increasing opportunities for young people is always very gratifying," said UAH Director of Athletics Dr. E. J. Brophy.

"We look forward to having our first UAH lacrosse student-athletes on campus next fall to compete for, and earn degrees from, one of the finest institutions in
the country." The Chargers will compete at Charger Park, an immaculate on-campus facility that also houses the University's men's and women's soccer programs along with baseball and softball. UAH will join the current 57 Division II institutions that sponsor men's lacrosse and 85 schools that have women's lacrosse.

Full Article

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MLL Title Game May Help Land Atlanta Franchise

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“There’s a lot of interest in having an MLL team in Atlanta,” commissioner David Gross said. “Our goal is to field a team there in 2016.” There had been

Full Article

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All Quiet on The Varsity Status Front

As the summer of 2014 winds down, this websites 5th summer of existence, we have started to notice a (somewhat worrying) trend specific to colleges and varsity status. Frankly, there just seems to be less colleges announcing varsity lacrosse this year than in recent years.

By compiling all the dates of university press releases announcing varsity men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, or both over the last 5 years we came up with the below data:

Year  Announcements Per Month
2010 1.5
2011 2.4
2012 2.75
2013 2.6
2014 1.5

Now granted 2014 is not over, and is currently in line with 2010s announcement rate, however there is reason to believe it could ultimately end up trending below 2010s rate.  In the four year period from 2010-2013 there was a total of 3 months where there was zero announcements for varsity status.  Halfway through 2014, we already have 3 months this year with zero announcements.

However there are also some reasons to think 2014 could turn things around.  Over the last 4 years the month of August has averaged the greatest amount of varsity announcements (4) in any given month, followed by September (3.25).  The fall months in general tend to be very active for varsity announcements, so here's hoping 2014 ends on a strong note.

So what does all this mean? Who knows, could be nothing.  It's certainly too premature to worry about a slowing in the games growth.  However when you combine this data with the US Lacrosse most recent participation survey that showed in 2013 we had the worst year to year growth since 02-03, it's certainly something to keep an eye on.

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Small Colleges Using Lacrosse to Attract Students From East Coast

Even before the University of Indianapolis hired its men’s and women’s lacrosse coaches in June—and almost two years before the Greyhounds play their first game in the spring of 2016—Athletic Director Sue Willey already had fielded some intriguing inquiries.

 Wabash College has already landed players from California and Washington, and is also scouring the East Coast and nearby markets. “I got a call from a mother in Texas,” Willey said. “She was very interested in [the University of Indianapolis] because we’re adding lacrosse.”

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University of Indianapolis (DII) and Wilkes University (PA DIII) Add Lacrosse

INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Indianapolis made official its addition of men's and women's lacrosse, announcing the hiring of two head coaches Wednesday. Newlyweds Greg Stocks and Jillian Howley, both former head coaches at Division II Lake Erie, will each step in as their respective gender's very first UIndy lacrosse head coach. Married just a few weeks ago, the duo comes to Central Indiana from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio – a suburb of Cleveland. Both will have a year to recruit and build a staff before starting NCAA Division II competition in the spring of 2016.

 "We are extremely excited to welcome Jillian and Greg as our head lacrosse coaches not only because of their successful coaching backgrounds, but also because they are a great fit for the University of Indianapolis," said Dr. Sue Willey, UIndy Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. "Their passion for their sport, team-player attitude and desire to establish a positive experience for our student-athletes makes them a perfect fit for UIndy.

Full Article

WILKES-BARRE – Wilkes University is proud to announce its plans to add men's lacrosse to its list of intercollegiate sport offerings. The expansion will increase the number of intercollegiate teams at Wilkes to 20 with ten men's sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, and wrestling; and ten women's sports: basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.

 Wilkes will begin to search for its new men's lacrosse head coach immediately with the program set to begin play during the 2015-16 academic year. "We believe adding a men's lacrosse team enhances the student experience and allows student athletes the option of enrolling in one of Wilkes' excellent academic programs and competing at the collegiate level in the sport they enjoy," said Paul Adams, Vice President, Affairs.

Full Article

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Lacrosse Not In U. Illinois Future

CHAMPAIGN — The Big Ten will contest the first lacrosse championships for men and women next spring. Don’t look for the Illini to be in the hunt.

 Lacrosse is not currently one of the school’s 19 varsity sports, and UI athletic director Mike Thomas said Thursday, “We haven’t looked at program expansion. As we sit today, we want to see how we can help our existing programs before we look at adding others.” Thomas is familiar with lacrosse and its rapid growth nationally.

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Florida Becomes First State To Mandate Helmets In Girls HS Lacrosse

It’s official: helmets have been mandated in the state of Florida. On June 10, the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled that all participating members of the FHSAA will have to wear helmets in 2015. These participating FHSAA programs will be the only teams in the nation state-mandated to wear this form of protective head gear.

 “The board did vote on mandating a helmet for the 2015 season,” Alex Ozuna, an Assistant Director of Athletics and the lacrosse administrator for the Florida High School Athletic Association, confirmed Wednesday. “A board member brought up this recommendation to the board for an action item. It was discussed during the operations committee, and we had individuals from US Lacrosse present to kind of give the committee a background on where they currently are in the process of standardizing specifications for a soft helmet for the girl’s game.” Ozuna continued: “The item was taken to the Board of Directors. The whole entire board reviewed and took into account what was said by the individuals from US Lacrosse and decided that because it is a major safety issue in our state — they took into account how long the process has been for US Lacrosse to get to this point — and moving forward that they wanted to go ahead and take the steps now instead of having to wait one, two, possibly three years for an actual product with the specific standardize specifications that US Lacrosse was going to implement.”

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University of Saint Mary (NAIA KS) & Movarian College (DIII PA) Add Lacrosse

The University of Saint Mary has hired its first ever lacrosse coach as it builds toward the launch of men's and women's club-level lacrosse teams that will take the field in the Spring 2015 semester. Lacrosse Coach Matt Kimsey comes to the University of Saint Mary Spires from the Blue Valley West Jaguars lacrosse program, which he coached for the past three years.

 He will shepherd the development of Saint Mary Men's & Women's Lacrosse—first as a club-level program for Spring 2015, and then as a varsity program the following year. Kimsey already has several recruits committed to playing lacrosse at Saint Mary, and USM athletics is offering scholarships to student-athletes to come play lacrosse for the Spires. "For me, the excitement is about building a new program here," Kimsey said.

"The University of Saint Mary has a real community feel, a real family feel. Building a lacrosse program around that is a natural fit.

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College will elevate its men's and women's lacrosse teams from club to varsity status beginning with the 2016 season. Since 2011, both the men's and women's teams have competed in the National College Lacrosse League for club teams. Previously, Moravian's women's team completed at the NCAA Division III intercollegiate varsity level from 2003 to 2010. The men's team squad competed on the varsity level from 2004 through 2010.

"Restoring men's and women's lacrosse to varsity level competition in 2015-16 is another step in Moravian College's growth and revitalization," said Dr. Bryon L. Grigsby '90, president. "There is a growing interest in playing lacrosse among college bound students in the mid-Atlantic region. We intend to attract those student-athletes with a transformative quality education and an outstanding intercollegiate sports experience."

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Recapping 2014's Inaugural Year Programs

Point University

M - 2014 Record: 3-10

Johnson & Wales University
Division 3 (M/W)
Rhode Island

M - 2014 Record: 4-13
W- 2014 Record: 8-9

University of Tampa
Division 2 (W)

Missouri Valley College

M - 2014 Record: 15-2
W- 2014 DNP

Northhampton Community College

M - 2014 Record: 1-6

Lourdes University

M - 2014 Record: 11-3
W- 2014 Record: 1-15

Georgetown College
NAIA (W) (Applying for NCAA DII)

W- 2014 Record: 2-3

University of Great Falls

M - 2014 Record: 1-5

Capital University
Division 3 (M/W)

M - 2014 Record: 8-6
W- 2014 Record: 10-5

Brevard College
Division 2 (M/W)
North Carolina

M - 2014 Record: 3-10
W- 2014 Record: 0-13

Rockhurst University
Division 2 (M/W)

M - 2014 Record: 1-8
W- 2014 Record: 0-10

Lynn University
Division 2 (M)

M - 2014 Record: 1-10

Rhodes College

Division 3 (W)

W- 2014 Record: 8-4

University of the District of Columbia
Division 2 (M/W)

M - 2014 Record: 3-8
W- 2014 Record: 0-10

St. Ambrose University

M - 2014 Record: 8-8

University of Richmond
Division 1 (M)

M - 2014 Record: 6-11

Illinois Wesleyan University
Division 3 (M/W(2015))

M - 2014 Record: 8-6

Saint Mary's College
Division 3 (W)

W- 2014 Record: 2-13

Wingate University
Division 2 (W)
North Carolina

W- 2014 Record: 2-6

Caldwell College
Division 2 (W)
New Jersey

W- 2014 Record: 0-12

Stockton College
Division 3 (W)
New Jersey

W- 2014 Record: 10-5

Ursuline College
Division 2 (W)

W- 2014 Record: 5-11

John Carroll University
Division 3 (M/W)

M - 2014 Record: 13-4
W- 2014 Record:  DNP

Tusculum College

Division 2 (M/W)

M - 2014 Record: 5-8
W- 2014 Record: DNP

Kalamazoo College
Division 3 (M(2015)/W)

W- 2014 Record: 5-10

George Fox University
Division 3 (W)

W- 2014 Record: 6-6

Augsburg College
Division 3 (W)

W- 2014 Record: 6-7

Methodist University
Division 3 (M)
North Carolina

M - 2014 Record: 3-10

Elon University
Division 1 (W)
North Carolina

W- 2014 Record: 8-9

Post University
Division 2 (M)

M - 2014 Record: 4-11

Monmouth University
Division 1 (M)
New Jersey

M - 2014 Record: 0-10

Furman University
Division 1 (M/W)
South Carolina

M - 2014 Record: 1-12
W- 2014 Record:  DNP

Boston University

Division 1 (M)

M - 2014 Record: 2-12

University of Colorado

Division 1 (W)

W- 2014 Record:  11-8

Bryn Athyn College
Division 3 (W)

W- 2014 Record:  5-7

University of Pikeville

W- 2014 Record:  DNP

Albertus Magnus College
Division 3 (M/W)

M - 2014 Record: 3-10

University of Dubuque
Division 3 (M)

M - 2014 Record: 0-12

University of Michigan
Division 1 (W)

W- 2014 Record:  4-13

Quincy University (DII IL) Adds Women's Lacrosse

QUINCY, Ill. – The Quincy University athletic department announced Tuesday (May 13) the addition of a women's swimming program that will begin competition in the 2015-16 academic year. The department also announced that it will add a women's lacrosse program, which will launch in 2017-18. The department will begin a coaching search for women's swimming in the coming weeks with the aim of having the coach in place to recruit and build the foundation of the program during the 2014-15 school year.

 "We are very excited to launch our women's swimming program," said QU director of athletics Marty Bell. "We have received a great deal of interest on this front from a local level and feel the time is right to begin expanding our athletic offerings at the University. With eight other GLVC members sponsoring women's swimming, it allows QU to connect regionally with prospective student-athletes, as well as high school and club programs."

 Quincy will be the ninth school in the Great Lakes Valley Conference to sponsor women's swimming after the University of Missouri-St. Louis reinstated its program for 2014-15. The conference also features Drury University and Truman State University, which have combined to win 17 of the last 18 national championships in women's swimming and diving. Drury this season claimed the inaugural GLVC Swimming & Diving Championship and won its fifth national championship in six years.

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Purchase College (DIII NY) Adds Lacrosse

Purchase, NY (May 7, 2014) – The Purchase College athletic department is proud to announce that we will be offering men's lacrosse as an official NCAA Division III intercollegiate sport for 2015-16, said Athletic Director Chris Bisignano today.

 The addition of men's lacrosse will boost the ever-growing department to 17 varsity sports in two years and it also complements the recently added women's lacrosse team, which just completed its second full season – one that was filled with several highlights, most notably the program's first victory, its first conference win and two all-conference distinctions for the team's top two players.

 Adding men's lacrosse to a program that now includes women's lacrosse will not only enable Purchase to recruit quality student-athletes from the region and nationally, but it will also allow the department to continue to build on its recent success, Bisignano said. At the heart of that expected success will be the program's new leadership. A national search for the first-ever head coach for the new varsity program will begin immediately.

Full Article

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