Last month, the Board of Trustees voted on and approved the addition of the 21st sport in CU’s Division I athletics program. Campbell will be the sixth Big South Conference member to field the sport for the 2013 season, joining current members High Point, Liberty and Presbyterian, plus Coastal Carolina and Winthrop – both of which have announced 2013 starting dates.
“We are excited about the addition of women’s lacrosse to our intercollegiate athletics program,” said Dr. Dennis Bazemore, interim Director of Athletics and Vice President for Student Life. “This is another opportunity for Campbell to reach out and to recruit more outstanding young women to the University.”
According to Dr. Bazemore, a head coach will be hired by September 1 in order to begin the recruiting process and to prepare for the program’s initial varsity season in the spring of 2013.
Currently, 91 NCAA Division I schools field women’s lacrosse teams, including four in North Carolina – Davidson, Duke, High Point and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Six North Carolina schools also participate at the Division II level – Belmont Abbey, Lees-McRae, Lenoir-Rhyne, Pfeiffer, Queens and St. Andrews.
In addition, 16 Division I members in South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia will have women’s lacrosse programs in 2013.
Sixty-three high schools in the state sponsor the sport, including 14 in neighboring Wake County.
Four full members must sponsor a sport for the Big South Conference to hold a championship in that sport, and five sponsoring member schools (where four of the five must be full members) must participate to receive Sasser Cup points in that sport from the league. Six teams are required for the Conference to be eligible for an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships. The Big South does not currently sponsor women’s lacrosse.
In its inaugural season, High Point won the 2011 National Lacrosse Conference Championship on Sunday with a 13-12 overtime decision over Jacksonville on Sunday at Davidson, N.C.
In addition to HPU and JU, the National Lacrosse Conference current membership includes Davidson, Detroit Mercy, Howard, Liberty, Longwood and Presbyterian.
The NCAA has sponsored a Division I women’s lacrosse championship since 1982. The University of Maryland won the 2010 national title, ending Northwestern University’s five-year championship run.
CampbellUniversitywill re-join the Big South Conference as a full member on July 1, 2011 after its 17-year tenure in the Atlantic Sun Conference. CU was a charter member of the Big South from 1983-94 before joining the A-Sun. Campbell will also continue to compete in the Pioneer Football League, Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association and NCAA East Region (wrestling).