August 29, 2012

Loyola to Join Patriot League in 2013-14 Season

from staff reports

Loyola coach Charley Toomey and the Greyhounds men's and women's lacrosse teams will join the Patriot League in 2013-14.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

The defending NCAA men's national champions will be on the move after next season, and the Loyola women's team is leaving the Big East.

Loyola University Maryland and the Patriot League announced Wednesday that Loyola has formally accepted an invitation to join the league in 17 of its 18 sports, including men's and women's lacrosse, on July 1, 2013, for the 2013-14 academic year.

"It is an honor to join the Patriot League's distinguished member institutions, all of which consistently demonstrate a profound commitment to excellence both in the classroom and on the field. That commitment is one we share at Loyola, and we see this move as a vital opportunity to continue to elevate our already outstanding athletics programs in keeping with our goal of becoming the nation's leading Catholic, comprehensive university," said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Loyola's president.

The Patriot League's full members are American University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, the College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy. Boston University will also join for 2013-14.

Loyola University will join the Patriot League in the following 17 sports; men and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men and women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men and women's soccer, men and women's swimming and diving, men and women's tennis, women's indoor and outdoor track and field and women's volleyball.

Loyola's departure in men's lacrosse will leave the Eastern College Athletic Conferece (ECAC) with member teams, Air Force, Bellarmine, Denver, Fairfield, Hobart, Michigan and Ohio St. The women's team will be leaving the powerful Big East conference, and teams like Syracuse, Notre Dame and Georgetown, behind.

The Greyhounds posted one of the school's finest seasons on the field in 2011-12, as the men's lacrosse team won the NCAA title, the women's lacrosse team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, the men's basketball team played in the NCAA Tournament and the men's golf team earned a spot in the NCAA Regional Tournament.

The Patriot League was formed as an all-sport conference in 1990-91 after beginning as a football only conference (Colonial League) in 1986. Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Lehigh are each founding members of the League. Navy joined the Patriot League for the 1991-92 academic year. Prior to the addition of BU in June, American was the last full member to join the Patriot League (2001-02).

"Loyola University Maryland is an outstanding addition to our membership as a private institution with an excellent academic reputation and rich athletic history," said Daniel H. Weiss, Ph.D., chair of the Patriot League's Council of Presidents and president of Lafayette College. "The decision to add Loyola reflects the presidents' commitment to the stability and long-term positioning of the league."

Since 1998, the Patriot League has ranked first among all Division I conferences in student-athlete graduation rates in the NCAA Graduation Rates report. In the most recent report, Loyola had 11 teams with perfect graduation rates. A total of 15 Patriot League sports are guaranteed advancement into NCAA postseason competition each year, and all Loyola teams currently eligible for automatic bids will have the same opportunity after the move in 2013.

"Loyola athletics' primary mission is to support the development of student-athletes who thrive academically, athletically, spiritually, and socially," said James Paquette, assistant vice president and director of athletics at Loyola. "The Patriot League embraces and supports those values, and we are thrilled to become partners with the league. Its members' histories of academic and athletic excellence are impressive, and consistent not only with Loyola's past achievements, but our future ambitions as well."

"We are delighted to expand the Patriot League membership to 10 full members with the addition of Loyola," Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich said. "Loyola further strengthens the league in the southern portion of our footprint. With the addition of both Boston University and Loyola University Maryland for the 2013-14 academic year, we believe that the Patriot League has enriched its future both on the field of play and in the classroom."

Currently, other than it's men's and women's lacrosse teams, 16 of Loyola's teams compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. All of Loyola's NCAA Division I athletics teams will make the conference move with the exception of men's rowing. The Patriot League does not conduct a championship in the sport, but Loyola will continue to row a regionally competitive schedule.


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