EMU to Add Women's Lacrosse in 2021
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – Eastern Michigan University announced today, Nov. 6, that the EMU Department of Athletics will add women's lacrosse as a varsity sport. The program will play its inaugural season against NCAA Division I competition in the 2021-22 academic year.
The announcement takes place at the same time the Mid-American Conference announced that it will be adding the sport as a conference championship beginning with the 2021 season. Eastern will be the fourth full-time MAC institution to sponsor the sport at the NCAA Division I level. Central Michigan added the sport in 2016, Kent State began playing in 2019, while Akron is set to field a team for the first time in 2020. Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State are also joining as MAC affiliate members.
"Women's lacrosse is growing at an incredible pace and we are excited to expand opportunities for Michigan high school women to participate in a Division I sport and the academic experiences that Eastern Michigan provides," said EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee. "We are committed to providing more athletic and academic opportunities for women and we believe the sport is a strong fit for our athletic program. We are very excited about the addition and I am certain the team will contribute to our legacy of athletic success."
The program will include the NCAA maximum of 12 scholarships and a target roster of 35. The team will play its games at a yet to be determined location.
The addition of women's lacrosse will increase Eastern's sport total to 19, including 12 women's programs. It marks the first addition of a new varsity sport at the University since women's rowing began competition in the 2001-02 academic year.
EMU has the goal of hiring the first lacrosse head coach in the spring of 2020. Additional coaching and support staff will be added in 2020 and 2021.
"I am pleased our membership is adding the sport of women's lacrosse to our offering of championships," said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher. "This is truly a historic day as women's lacrosse has been a topic of conversation among our membership. The addition of women's lacrosse adds to our already broad offering of championship opportunities for student-athletes. I am already looking forward to the inaugural season."
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in America. At the NCAA Division I level, individual participation in women's lacrosse increased by more than 46 percent from 2012-18. During that same time period, collegiate sponsorship of the sport grew by more than 34 percent.
The lacrosse season, which typically consists of around 17 contests (approximately half of which are home games), begins in February and runs through May. The 2020 NCAA Women's Lacrosse National Championship will be held May 22-24, at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md.
From EMU Release
Women's Lacrosse to Join Mid-American Conference in 2020-21
CLEVELAND (11/6/2019) -- The University of Detroit Mercy women's lacrosse program is set to join the Mid-American Conference next school year in 2020-21, it was announced by the Cleveland-based league office Wednesday morning. The Titans join their fourth conference in the 12-year history of women's lacrosse at the University.
"We are extremely grateful for our current and past conference affiliations in women's lacrosse," Detroit Mercy Director of Athletics Robert C. Vowels, Jr. said. "However, we could not pass up an opportunity to join the Mid-American Conference. We are excited about becoming a member of the Mid-American Conference in the sport of women's lacrosse. The factors that made the move attractive are partnering with a conference that continues to look to the future and invest in women's sports, geographic location of conference members, academic similarities and continuing to grow the sport of women's lacrosse in this region of the country."
"I am pleased our membership is adding the sport of women's lacrosse to our offering of championships. Additionally, I want to welcome Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State as affiliate members," said MAC Commissioner, Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, in a press release. "This is truly a historic day as women's lacrosse has been a topic of conversation among our membership."
Detroit Mercy is joined in the MAC by Akron, Central Michigan, Kent State and another affiliate member in Youngstown State for the 2020-21 school year with MAC member Eastern Michigan adding women's lacrosse and competing the following academic year in 2021-22.
The Titans have been in the same conference as the rival Chippewas throughout their entire history (first in the ASUN Conference and then as members of the Southern Conference) and are joined by another Horizon League school in the Penguins as an affiliate member. Kent State is entering its second year as a program in 2019, Akron is set to debut in 2020, while Youngstown State will follow with its first season in 2021. Eastern Michigan will then join the other five teams for the 2022 campaign.
The Titans, the first Division I program in the state of Michigan, are currently entering their third season as members of the Southern Conference (2018-20) having earned two-straight co-regular season championships in the league. Detroit Mercy has also been part of the ASUN Conference (2013-17) as well as the National Lacrosse Conference (2009-12) in its history. Detroit Mercy's first season as a women's lacrosse program was in 2008-09, when the University competed in both men's and women's lacrosse for the first time.
"We are very excited to be joining the Mid-American Conference," Titan women's lacrosse head coach Megan Callahan '13 said. "It will enhance our student-athlete's experience with it being such a good and known conference and centralized to our location, so it will help with travel and academics. I do want to thank the administration at the Mid-American Conference and here at Detroit Mercy for pushing this and allowing us to be a part of the next big thing in Midwest lacrosse."
The red, white and blue are coming off consecutive 4-1 marks in Southern Conference play to share two-straight regular-season crowns in the league. Detroit Mercy reached four-straight championship games (2013-16) as members of the ASUN Conference and in the past five seasons, have three 10-win campaigns, 46 total wins and a school-record 12 victories in 2016. The Titans swept the postseason awards during the first season of Southern Conference women's lacrosse in 2018, earning Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year honors.
About the Mid-American Conference (MAC)
Founded in 1946, the Mid-American Conference is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships, and will increase to 24 championships in 2020-21, and is one of ten (10) members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in five (5) states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. Current full member institutions and the year they joined are -- East Division: University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947). The conference office is based in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information visit www.GetSomeMACtion.com.
From Detroit and MAC Press Releases