The VCU Board of Visitors voted to approve the addition of women’s lacrosse to the university’s intercollegiate athletics program last week.
Starting with the 2015-16 season, women’s lacrosse will join the other 16 athletics programs currently competing in the Atlantic 10. The presence of women’s lacrosse already in the A-10 meant the school wouldn’t have to find another conference to compete in.
The addition will give women’s sports a nine to eight edge in number of programs at VCU. To ensure compliance with Title IX, adding another women’s athletic program was necessary.
Before VCU decided to add women’s lacrosse there were seven men’s sports teams and seven women’s teams.
VCU women’s club lacrosse captain, Solange Duong, says the addition of her sport to the varsity level is something she’s been waiting a long time for.
“Originally I was going to go the Naval Academy to play lacrosse and things just kind of fell through,” Duong said. “When I came to VCU, I heard about the club team and ever since I joined, I’ve wanted a varsity team.”
As U.S. Lacrosse reports, women’s lacrosse is the fastest growing sport for girls in high school, as well as at the collegiate level.
“When I first started playing, my family members would always ask me what I did in high school and I told them I play lacrosse. They’d ask me, ‘What’s that?’ and I would tell them ‘You play with a stick and a ball’,” Duong said. “Nowadays when I talk to people, they actually know what the sport is. It’s expanding pretty rapidly.”
Duong is excited for her sport’s inclusion in VCU’s athletics program, but wishes it would’ve come sooner.
VCU Athletic Director, Ed McLaughlin, is looking forward to the benefits women’s lacrosse will have on the school in terms of recruiting and increase in admissions. In a release, he called the move a “natural fit” and said it “makes a whole lot of sense.”
Women’s lacrosse is expected to carry 25-30 athletes on the roster each season and is estimated to have operating costs around $745,000, once it reaches its potential in about three years.