Utah Men’s Lacrosse to Join NCAA as 1st Pac-12 Team

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Kiffer Creveling

The University of Utah Men’s Lacrosse program was added to the NCAA Division 1 sports circuit during a press conference with Utah Athletics Director Dr. Chris Hill (left) and Utah Lacrosse head coach Brian Holman (right) at the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center on Friday, June 16, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brittni Meservy

It was announced Friday that the University of Utah men’s club lacrosse team will be named an NCAA sport starting in the 2018-19 year. Approving the decision was the University of Utah Board of Trustees. A brand new NCAA sport has not been added to the college since women’s soccer in 1995.

“A lot of research and effort went into our decision to add men’s lacrosse,” said Utah director of athletics Chris Hill in a press release. “With several great club sports expressing an interest in achieving NCAA status, a working committee was formed to determine the parameters for adding a new sport. Among the factors considered were the potential impact on our other teams, financial self-sustainability, compliance with Title IX and popularity in our community. Men’s lacrosse met those criteria.”

The program — that will become the first NCAA men’s lacrosse team in the Pac-12 and the third DI team west of the Mississippi — received a $15.6 million gift. An anonymous lead donor and others that the donor had enlisted funded the gift according to the press release. No university or state funds will be used to help support the new NCAA team.

“It is the first endowed program for University of Utah athletics,” Hill said in a press release. “Nowadays, adding sports at the college level almost always requires an endowment, which resonated with the University-appointed committee.”

The addition of men’s lacrosse will up the schools NCAA athletic teams to 20. Men’s lacrosse will join as the eight men’s team. Baseball, basketball, football, golf, skiing, swimming and diving and tennis are the seven men represented sports at Utah right now. Utah plans to create a 40-man squad beginning in the first year it joins the NCAA.

Head coach Brian Holman, a former University of North Carolina assistant coach who was a part of the 2016 NCAA Championship, will stay at the helm when his club makes the move to Division I. Holman led his club to a 10-7 overall record this past season.

The Utah home games will continue to be played at Ute Soccer Field during the season that runs from February through May.

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University of Utah director of athletics Chris Hill and University of Utah club lacrosse head coach Brian Holman at the lacrosse press conference.