COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams will compete in the Big Ten Conference beginning with the 2015 season, following an announcement from the conference office on Monday that the Big Ten has secured six men’s and six women’s lacrosse teams.
Earlier today, Johns Hopkins was accepted as a sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse only beginning with the 2014-15 academic year to give the Big Ten six men’s programs, joining Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers, which also field women’s programs and will be joined on the women’s side by Northwestern. Big Ten rules allow for a conference championship when six institutions sponsor a program in any given sport.
“The Big Ten is an outstanding conference and we’re thrilled that it will be able to be the conference home for two of our most successful programs in men’s and women’s lacrosse,” said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. “Lacrosse is important to our university and to our state and the addition of Johns Hopkins as a sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse shows that it is important to the Big Ten now and in the future.”
The six programs that will comprise Big Ten men’s lacrosse boast 56 national championships, with schools that have competed for more than a century. Johns Hopkins has been an independent since 1883 and leads all schools with 44 national championships. Maryland has claimed 11 national titles, while Rutgers has also won a national championship. The Scarlet Knights launched men’s lacrosse in 1887, followed by programs starting in 1913 for Penn State, 1924 for Maryland and 1953 for Ohio State. Michigan instituted a men’s lacrosse program in 2012. Maryland, Ohio State and Penn State each qualified for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship this season, with the Buckeyes advancing to the quarterfinals.
“This is an exciting development for the sport of lacrosse,” said Maryland men’s head coach John Tillman. “We’re looking forward to competing as a Big Ten program against Penn State, Ohio State, Rutgers, Michigan and Johns Hopkins and embrace the challenges that lie ahead in the future.”
Big Ten women’s lacrosse will feature teams that have won 23 national championships and 19 of the 32 NCAA championships, including eight of the last nine. Maryland has won 11 national championships, with 10 NCAA crowns, including seven straight from 1995 to 2001 and most recently in 2010. Northwestern has claimed seven NCAA titles, highlighted by five consecutive from 2005 to 2009 and most recently in 2012. Penn State has earned five national championships, including NCAA titles in 1987 and 1989. The Terrapins, Wildcats and Nittany Lions earned berths in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship this season. Penn State advanced to the quarterfinals, Northwestern reached the national semifinals and Maryland was edged in triple overtime in the national championship game.
“To be a part of a conference from the ground up is exciting for our program and we are anxious to put our thumbprint on Big Ten lacrosse,” said Maryland women’s head coach Cathy Reese. “It is going to be a highly competitive league and with former Terps coaching at five of the six institutions, I believe there is a lot to be excited about as we make this transition in 2014-15 and begin a new chapter in the rich history of Maryland women’s lacrosse.”
With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers in 2014, the broad-based athletic programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will sponsor nearly 350 teams in 42 different sports with almost 9,500 student-athletes, more than any other conference. The Big Ten currently features 25 official conference sports, 12 for men and 13 for women, but is set to add men’s ice hockey as the 26th conference sport in the fall. Men’s and women’s lacrosse will become the conference’s 27th and 28th official sports in 2014-15.