June 11, 2008
from press releases
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Big East Conference will formally begin sponsoring the sport of men's lacrosse beginning in the spring of 2010. The announcement about the conference adding its 24th sport was made Wednesday by commissioner Michael Tranghese following a unanimous vote by the league's 16 directors of athletics during their recent annual spring meeting.
The seven conference schools that will participate in the newly formed league are Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse and Villanova. The teams will play a six-game, single round-robin regular season schedule. The Big East will apply for an automatic bid to the 16-team NCAA championship field.
Syracuse won the 2008 NCAA men's lacrosse national title, the program's 10th, after earning an at-large bid as a Division I independent. Notre Dame also garnered a berth into the national tournament as an automatic qualifier from the Great Western Lacrosse League. Currently, Georgetown, Rutgers and St. John's are part of the ECAC, Providence is a member of the MAAC and Villanova plays in the Colonial Athletic Association.
"We are looking forward to the excitement that men's lacrosse will bring to the Big East Conference," said Tranghese. "We have schools with established and successful programs, which want to come together and compete under the Big East brand."
Men's lacrosse will be the Big East's 11th men's sport, while the conference conducts 13 women's sports, including women's lacrosse.
Villanova women's lacrosse will also join the Big East effective in the 2009-10 academic year. The Wildcats will become the ninth women's lacrosse program under the auspices of the Big East Conference - joining Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Syracuse and associate member Loyola (Md.). Cincinnati and Louisville are scheduled to begin competing in the spring of 2009. The Villanova lacrosse program has been a varsity sport since 1990. It was an associate member of the Patriot League from 1999-2006 and has played the last two seasons as a Division I independent. The Wildcats are led by head coach Jebb Chagan, who just completed his third season at the helm.
"We are excited that our women's lacrosse program will be part of the Big East beginning in 2009-10," adds Villanova Director of Athletics Vince Nicastro. "The Big East is one of the nation's elite lacrosse conferences and our student-athletes and coaches are energized by the challenges and opportunities it presents."