June 11, 2008
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 today 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.
"It's exciting for all of lacrosse to have a conference with the profile of the BIG EAST to be actively involved in the sport," says Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "For Notre Dame in particular, we are thrilled with the advantages it'll give us with the quality of schedule and strength of schedule. It'll also allow us to play in the areas where lacrosse is a hotbed."
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 (GWLL). 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," states Commissioner Tranghese. "We have schools with established and successful programs, which want to come together and compete under the BIG EAST brand."
Notre Dame fell to Syracuse, 11-9, in the quarterfinals of this season's NCAA Tournament. That marked the third meeting all-time between the Irish and the Orange. Earlier in the 2008 campaign, Notre Dame topped Villanova, 16-6. The Irish have faced the Wildcats each of the past four seasons and 12 times overall.
The Fighting Irish have squared off against Georgetown on nine occasions with the last meeting coming in 1999. Notre Dame has faced Rutgers four times and most recently in 2002. The Irish have never faced Providence or St. John's in varsity play.
Men's lacrosse will be the BIG EAST's 11th men's sport while the Conference conducts 13 women's sports.
Notre Dame has been a member of the GWLL since 1994. The Fighting Irish have captured 11 regular-season GWLL titles in addition to winning the inaugural GWLL Tournament this past season.
"This decision puts us under the umbrella of the BIG EAST along with the majority of our other sports here at Notre Dame," adds Corrigan. "The GWLL has done a lot for us over the past 15 years. It has helped us build and grow as a program."
-- ND --