American Athletic Conference to Sponsor Women's Lacrosse, Big East Responds with Realignment

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has announced the addition of women’s lacrosse as the Conference’s 22nd sport beginning in 2019. The six-team league will be comprised of current conference members University of Cincinnati, University of
Connecticut, East Carolina University and Temple University, as well as the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University as affiliate members.

The American becomes the 16th Division I conference to sponsor women’s lacrosse. Cincinnati, UConn, Temple, Florida and Vanderbilt are current members of the Big East Conference in women’s lacrosse, while ECU begins its first season of intercollegiate competition in 2018 after the addition of women’s lacrosse to its sports roster in March 2016. Women’s lacrosse is the first sport addition to the conference since its reinvention in 2013. The American will now sponsor 10 men’s and 12 women’s sports. The conference will conduct its first women’s lacrosse championship in 2019 with the site and dates still to be determined. The American will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship.

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In a move that was on the horizon for over a year, the Big East announced on Wednesday that women’s lacrosse would go from ten teams to six teams beginning with the 2019 season. After one fina

l season at its current 10 team configuration in the spring of 2018, the Big East will have a six team league the following season. Core Big East members Butler, Georgetown, Marquette, and Villanova will be joined by current affiliate member Denver and incoming affiliate member Old Dominion. Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Temple, and Vanderbilt will depart the Big East to form a new league under the banner of the American Athletic Conference, along with core AAC member East Carolina, who will play their first season of Division 1 women’s lacrosse as an independent in 2018.

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Akron Adds Women's Lacrosse

University of Akron (UA) President Matthew J. Wilson and Director of Athletics Larry Williams today announced their intention to recommend a novel, community support-backed effort to restore the UA baseball team and add a women's lacrosse team, beginning competition in the 2019-20 academic year. These programs will feature an Ohio-focused student-athlete recruiting strategy, the use of existing university and community facilities, and cost controls. Another key component of this plan is that any athletic scholarships provided to student-athletes for these two sports will come from community financial support – not University funds. The recommendation will be presented to the UA Board of Trustees for consideration at its October 11th Board meeting. President Wilson said,

"We have heard loud and clear the community's desire to bring baseball back to UA and we have been examining ways to do that in a financially responsible manner. Prospective students have voiced the same desire. We also want to offer an additional avenue for female student-athletes to simultaneously benefit from a quality education at The University of Akron and on-the-field Division-I competition. After much discussion and planning, we believe that we have identified some creative ways to achieve our objectives while focusing on student-athletes from Ohio. Now, we hope that the community will come forward and assist the University in restoring baseball and adding women's lacrosse."

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Ashland University (D2 OH) Adds Women's Lacrosse

Ashland University officials announced on Monday (Sept. 11) that its athletic department will add women's lacrosse and men's tennis as varsity intercollegiate sports, beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

"We have been evaluating the addition of these two sports for the past couple of years as part of our strategic plan to increase enrollment and continue to expand the geographic diversity of our student population," said Dr. Carlos Campo, President of Ashland University. "Ashland remains committed to maintaining a strong program of intercollegiate athletics marked by excellence and spiritual values."

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College of Idaho (NAIA) Adds Men's Lacrosse

CALDWELL, Idaho – College of Idaho athletic director Reagan Rossi has announced that men's lacrosse has been moved from a club sport to varsity status for the 2018 season.

 Lacrosse will become the tenth men's varsity sport – joining baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, skiing, soccer, swimming and track & field. It marks the first varsity men's lacrosse team in the State of Idaho – and joins the University of Providence (Mont.), Marymount (Calif.) and Westminster College (Utah) as the only small college varsity programs west of the Rockies. Student-athletes will have the ability to earn athletic-based aid, while budgets for the program have shifted from student fees to the athletic department.

"We are excited to have lacrosse move to a varsity sport," Rossi said. I feel this is the best transition for student-athletes and our department. The leadership that Matt Gier has provided will make this a natural transition and will continue to enhance the student athlete experience on our campus."

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Lewis University (D2 IL) Adds Women's Lacrosse

Romeoville, Ill. - Lewis University Director of Athletics Dr. John Planek announced on Monday (July 10) the addition of women's bowling and women's lacrosse to the NCAA Division II offerings of the Flyer Athletics Department, beginning in 2018-19.

 The addition of these two teams increases Lewis' scholarship sport offerings from 20 to 22. Since 1980, Lewis has competed as one of 15 current member institutions of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"We are very excited to announce the addition of these sports," Planek said. "Women's lacrosse is played in nearly 70 high schools in Illinois and we would be one of the few institutions offering scholarships.

"It is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and particularly in the Midwest."

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Utah to Add Men's Lacrosse, Become's the Pac-12s First Varsity Program

SALT LAKE CITY—The University of Utah will begin sponsoring men's lacrosse as an NCAA sport starting in 2018-19, Utah director of athletics Chris Hill announced today. The University of Utah Board of Trustees approved the decision. The men's lacrosse team will continue to compete as a club sport in 2017-18. Men's lacrosse is the U.'s first completely new NCAA sport since women's soccer was added back in 1995. The Utes began fielding a beach volleyball team this past spring, drawing its members and coaches from the existing volleyball program.

With the addition of men's lacrosse, Utah will support 20 total NCAA sports—eight men's and 12 women's. "A lot of research and effort went into our decision to add men's lacrosse," said Hill. "With several great club sports expressing an interest in achieving NCAA status, a working committee was formed to determine the parameters for adding a new sport. Among the factors considered were the potential impact on our other teams, financial self sustainability, compliance with Title IX and popularity in our community. Men's lacrosse met those criteria.

It is the first endowed program for University of Utah athletics. Nowadays, adding sports at the college level almost always requires an endowment, which resonated with the University-appointed committee."

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Press Conference Transcript

US Lacrosse Releases Annual Participation Survey

National lacrosse participation continued its upward trend in 2016 with the total number of participants on organized teams climbing past 825,000, according to an annual report produced by US Lacrosse. Overall, participation grew 3 percent to 826,023, and it was the 12th consecutive year that the net increase in players was at least 20,000.

The number of youth players topped 450,000 for the first time ever, and lacrosse continues to be the fastest-growing team sport at the high school and collegiate levels. Over the last five years, the number of schools sponsoring lacrosse at the high school level has risen 27 percent, and the number of NCAA schools sponsoring lacrosse has grown 33 percent.

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Survey .PDF

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Life University (NAIA GA) Adds Women's Lacrosse

MARIETTA, Ga. – Life University Director of Athletics Jayme Pendergast announced the addition of Women's Lacrosse to the Running Eagles athletics department on Tuesday. The program will begin its inaugural season in the spring of 2019.

"We are very excited to add Women's Lacrosse to our expanding athletic department," said Pendergast. "Lacrosse will bring a sport to LIFE's campus that is not only growing in the state of Georgia, but nationally. Lupo Family Field will serve as a beautiful facility for competition and I'm looking forward to adding such an exciting sport that is emerging in the NAIA." The sport is rapidly growing with 32 schools currently competing in the NAIA. While Women's Lacrosse is currently an invitational sport, it will transition to a national championship sport once a minimum 40 schools sponsor Women's Lacrosse programs.

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Recapping 2017's Inaugural Year Programs

Northland College
Division III (M/W)
M - 2017 Record: 6-9 
W - 2017 Record: 0-13 

Marian University
W - 2017 Record: 6-8

Cleveland State University
Division 1 (M)
M - 2017 Record: 5-9 

Concordia University
Division 2 (W)
W - 2017 Record: 8-8

North Central College
Division 3 (M)
M - 2017 Record: 10-4 

Monmouth College
Division 2 (M/W)
M - 2017 Record: 3-11 
W - 2017 Record: 1-14

Maryville University
Division 2 (M)
M - 2017 Record: 0-14 

Lyndon State College
Division 3 (W)
W - 2017 Record: 2-9

Newbury College
Division 3 (W)
W - 2017 Record: 0-13

Heidelberg University
Division 3 (M/W)
M - 2017 Record: 3-13 
W - 2017 Record: 0-12

North Central University
Division 3 (M)
M - 2017 Record: 0-10 

Madonna University
M - 2017 Record: 1-11
W - 2017 Record: 0-16

University of Northwestern
Division 3 (M)
M - 2017 Record: 5-7 

University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Division 2 (W)
W - 2017 Record: 4-10

Butler University
Division 1 (W)
W - 2017 Record: 1-16

Concordia University Ann Arbor
M - 2017 Record: 2-7 
W - 2017 Record: 3-12

St. Joseph's College
Division 3 (M)
New York
M - 2017 Record: 7-6

Ohio Valley University
Division 2 (W)
West Virginia
W - 2017 Record: 0-3

Chowan University
Division 2 (M)
North Carolina
M - 2017 Record: 1-12

Felician University
Division 2 (M)
New Jersey
M - 2017 Record: 1-12

Union College
Postponed until 2018

Barton College
Division 2 (W)
North Carolina
W - 2017 Record: 1-11

Keiser University
M - 2017 Record: 9-2 
W - 2017 Record: 1-12

Westminster College
Division 3 (M/W)
M - 2017 Record: 9-7 
W - 2017 Record: 7-6

Division 2 (W)
New York
W - 2017 Record: 15-4

DeSales University
Division 3 (W)
W - 2017 Record: 5-12

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University at Plattsburgh Adds Women's Lacrosse

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Plattsburgh State Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced the addition of women's lacrosse as its 18th varsity sport on Tuesday afternoon. The Cardinals will begin NCAA Division III competition in 2018-19 and will compete in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC). Plattsburgh State's addition of women's lacrosse means that all 10 SUNYAC schools will now sponsor the sport.

The rest of the SUNYAC includes The College at Brockport, Buffalo State, SUNY Cortland, Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, Oswego State and SUNY Potsdam.

"I am beyond thrilled to make this announcement today," said Plattsburgh State director of athletics Mike Howard. "The addition of women´s lacrosse has been a point of discussion for many years here at Plattsburgh and was certainly high on my list of priorities when I accepted this position as the director of athletics in June. This program complements all of our existing programs extremely well and positions us well as we look to expand our recruiting footprint throughout the entire Northeast. The sport of lacrosse is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing sports on the high school level, and I am hopeful that this program, similar to all of our other Cardinal teams, will play a key leadership role in the continued growth of the game at the youth and high school level in our region. It also provides a tremendous opportunity for young women who are looking seriously at SUNY Plattsburgh and are passionate about continuing to play the sport they love. It's a win-win situation for all of us."

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University of Wisconsin - River Falls (D3) Adds Women's Lacrosse

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (uwrfsports.com) - The University of Wisconsin-River Falls announces it will be adding women's lacrosse as its 17th varsity sport, with the first team set to compete in the 2018-19 academic year.

 UWRF will become the first public institution in the area to sponsor women's lacrosse as a varsity sport in any of the NCAA's three divisions. Currently there are 282 Division III institutions that sponsor women's lacrosse, including approximately 30 in the Upper Midwest.

 "We have been exploring the possibility of adding women's lacrosse for a number of years," said Crystal Lanning, interim athletic director. "Given the growth of girls and women's lacrosse in the area and our recent facility renovations, the timing was right to make the move and we will be well positioned to produce a highly competitive team."

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Illinois Tech (D3) Adds Men's Lacrosse

CHICAGO, Ill. – Illinois Tech Athletics is excited to announce the addition of a new varsity athletic program. Men’s lacrosse will join the Scarlet Hawk athletic lineup beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

 "Men's lacrosse will be a great addition to our athletic department profile at Illinois Tech,” said Joe Hakes, Director of Athletics. “The combination of a world class STEM school and a growing, exiting sport will be a draw for the student-athlete who is looking for the best of both worlds.” Illinois Tech expects to hire a Head Coach for the new program prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The Scarlet Hawks will join a large group of NCAA Division III institution with men’s lacrosse sponsorships. As of this spring, 237 men’s lacrosse programs competed at the Division III level. “Our Stuart Field facility is a great place to play, and we look for the men's lacrosse program to grow quickly in both size and talent,” Hakes said. “We are beginning a national search to identify the right person to start this program and to recruit top quality students and top quality athletes into it."

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Barton College (D2 NC) Adds Men's Lacrosse

WILSON, N.C. – Barton College will add men’s lacrosse as an intercollegiate sport beginning with the 2018-19 season, school officials announced Wednesday. The addition will increase the number of sports offered by Barton to 22 and the number of student-athletes on campus to nearly 350.

 “Barton College is looking forward to the addition of men’s lacrosse,” said Todd Wilkinson, Barton’s director of athletics. “Men’s lacrosse will support the institution’s enrollment initiatives and Barton’s desire to grow in the coming years.”

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St. Bonaventure (D1 NY), Sage College (D3 NY) and Marietta College (D3 OH) Add Lacrosse

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – As part of its strategic initiatives, St. Bonaventure University will add men's lacrosse to its NCAA athletics lineup beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.

"For a number of reasons, the addition of men's lacrosse at St. Bonaventure is extremely beneficial for the institution," Director of Athletics Tim Kenney said. "This is a strategic decision that recognizes an opportunity for our department and for the university. Over the next several years, men's lacrosse will add approximately 45-50 student-athletes to our growing department, which will be an integral part of enrollment at St. Bonaventure."

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Albany, NY--The Sage Colleges' is pleased to announce the addition of two new varsity teams to its athletics program. Endorsed by President Susan Scrimshaw and Sage's Board of Trustees, the Gators will compete in field hockey and men's lacrosse beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year. The new teams elevate the total number of Sage's varsity offerings to 17.

 Director of Athletics Dani Drews made the official announcement noting, "The two programs will fit perfectly into Sage's growing athletic department." She added, "With high school participation centered in the Northeast and our new membership in the Empire 8, we are confident that we can successfully recruit over 50 new student-athletes to Sage and be immediately competitive within the conference."

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MARIETTA, Ohio — Marietta College announces the addition of men's and women's lacrosse as varsity sports, with competition beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. The lacrosse teams will bring the total number of varsity sports at the College to 22 — 11 men's programs and 11 women's programs.

"It's very exciting for Marietta College to bring back men's lacrosse and add a women's program, arguably the fastest-growing sport in the NCAA," said Marietta College President William N. Ruud. "We are committed to making sure our lacrosse programs will be competitive in the Division III landscape, which means recruiting student-athletes in different parts of the nation. PioNation will enjoy watching this fast-paced sport in the near future."

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Whitworth University (D3 WA) Adds Women's Lacroses

SPOKANE, Wash. – Women’s lacrosse will become Whitworth University’s 21st varsity sport and will begin playing games in the spring of 2019. Whitworth will become the seventh Northwest Conference school to sponsor women’s lacrosse. George Fox, Linfield, Pacific (Ore.), Puget Sound and Whitman already sponsor women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport. Willamette will also begin playing varsity games in the spring of 2019.

 “We are excited to provide another opportunity for our students to compete in a Northwest Conference sport that, up until this point, we did not offer,” said Tim Demant, Whitworth’s Director of Athletics. “We will now provide an opportunity for those students who desire to play women’s lacrosse at the collegiate level an opportunity to also get a Whitworth education.”

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Taylor University (IN NAIA) Adds Lacrosse

UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor University has announced plans to begin men's and women's varsity lacrosse programs, increasing the number of intercollegiate programs offered to student-athletes at TU to 20. 

"We are excited about bringing men's and women's lacrosse from a club sport level to a varsity sport," stated Vice President for Student Development Skip Trudeau. "As clubs they have been a great addition to our campus and taking them to the varsity level is the next logical step."

The men's lacrosse program will continue as a club sport until it begins playing official varsity contests during the spring of 2019 and the women's lacrosse team will begin playing competitively the following season in 2020.

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Eastern Mennonite University (D3 VA) Adds Women's Lacrosse

Eastern Mennonite University announces the addition of women's lacrosse to its athletic program. Director of Athletics Dave King says EMU will hire a head coach in the spring of 2017 to begin recruitment, with competition beginning first at the club level before moving into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for the 2018-19 season.

"I'm thrilled that we will be able to provide more young people the opportunity to develop life skills through playing a collegiate sport," he said. "As we continue to understand what collegiate sports do for young people and the campus community, it's exciting to expand our sport offerings."

The search for EMU's first women's lacrosse coach will begin immediately, with a start date of June 1, he added.

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University of Chicago Adds Women's Lacrosse

CHICAGO – The University of Chicago announced on Wednesday that women's lacrosse will be added as an intercollegiate sport, with varsity competition slated to commence in the 2018-19 academic year.

"The national growth of women's lacrosse exceeds any other sport and its presence in the Midwest at the Division III level is strong," said Erin McDermott, Director of Athletics & Recreation. "We are very excited to offer another varsity sport to current and prospective students wanting to compete at a high level as part of their University of Chicago educational experience."

With the inclusion of women's lacrosse, UChicago will offer 20 varsity sports (10 men's and 10 women's) that compete at the NCAA Division III level.

Full Article

Newberry College (D2 SC) Adds Men's Lacrosse

NEWBERRY – Director of Athletics Ralph Patterson has announced the addition of men’s lacrosse as Newberry’s 20th NCAA Division II sport and the hiring of Nick Cotter to lead the program into its first season of competition in the spring of 2018. Lacrosse has been a mainstay on campus since 2012, when the women’s game first came to Newberry. Home games will be played at Setzler Field, with the men’s lacrosse program joining football, field hockey, and women’s lacrosse at the facility that first hosted Newberry contests in 1922.

Cotter will serve as the program’s inaugural head coach. Cotter had a remarkable collegiate playing career as a three-time All-American at Dowling College that led the Golden Lions to their first-ever Division II national title game appearance in 2006. He has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Saint Leo University in Florida, where he helped the 2016 Lions to a 9-5 overall record and a final ranking just outside the top 20 in the coaches’ poll.

“I’m thankful that Newberry has given me the opportunity to come in and start the program from scratch,” said Cotter. “I look forward to contributing to the winning culture here and joining the Newberry family.” “We had an outstanding pool of applicants,” said Patterson, “and Nick's name kept coming up from people we had conversations with in our search. We're excited that he's joining the Newberry College family. We look forward to watching him build a great lacrosse program.”

Full Article

Wilmington University (D2 DE) Adds Men's Lacrosse

NEWARK, Del. - - The Wilmington University athletic department is proud to announce the addition of men's lacrosse to its expanding family starting competition in the spring of 2018.

The added sport will bring Wilmington's total up to 14 varsity programs. Men's lacrosse has long been a staple in the Mid-Atlantic and is a continuing trend in Delaware. Being located along the I-95 corridor, Wilmington University will look to add to the East Coast bias and help the expansion of already rapidly growing sport.

 "It's an exciting time for the athletic department with the addition of men's lacrosse," Director of Athletics Linda Van Drie-Andrzjewski said. "Not only does it mean growth within the department here at Wilmington, it means growth within the CACC and the sport of men's lacrosse in state of Delaware."

Full Article

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