LakePoint, Ga. - The ASUN Conference and Southern Conference are pleased to announce a women's lacrosse partnership that will provide the student-athletes of both leagues increased participation in both conference championship and NCAA Championship play.
The ASUN Conference has been at the forefront in the growth of women's lacrosse since first sponsoring the sport in the 2012-13 academic year. The ASUN is no stranger to innovative partnerships, having built an alliance with the Big South Conference in football announced September 12, 2016. In the sport of women's lacrosse, the ASUN assumed sponsorship for the surviving National Lacrosse Conference members in 2012-13. Since that season, membership has grown from five schools to a record 11 this year. With Wofford College's addition of women's lacrosse for the 2017-18 academic year, the ASUN and SoCon agreed to a partnership allowing each to sponsor the sport and offering two championship opportunities to the participating student-athletes.
Under the arrangement, all current ASUN affiliate members will continue to have access to a women's lacrosse championship, both conferences will be NCAA AQ eligible, and cross-over scheduling allows all teams to maintain a balanced home/away schedule coordinated to minimize missed class time and travel expense.
The ASUN Conference women's lacrosse participants will consist of the three full ASUN members who sponsor the sport, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State and Stetson, plus affiliate members Coastal Carolina, Howard and Old Dominion.
The Southern Conference group will feature three full SoCon members in Furman, Mercer and Wofford, plus former ASUN affiliate members Central Michigan, Delaware State and Detroit Mercy.
"The ASUN is extremely excited and proud to participate in what we consider another hallmark step in conference collaboration," ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. "To be able to increase participation, increase conference championship opportunities, and coordinate not only conference scheduling, but a portion of non-conference contests for the benefit of the entire group - with really no downside - fits our commitment to the student-athletes. Needless to say, partnerships take cooperation and this would not have happened without the support of SoCon Commissioner John Iamarino and all of our affiliate members. We look forward to a great future for both ASUN and SoCon women's lacrosse."
"Obviously, access to automatic qualification to the NCAA championship was an important piece in putting this together," SoCon Commissioner John Iamarino said. "I can't overstate the high level of cooperation we have received from Commissioner Gumbart and his staff at the ASUN Conference in bringing this about. Both conferences try to place their student-athletes' experiences at the top of their priorities. We've now given two sets of six teams much better opportunities to compete in NCAA postseason play."
Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Stetson and Howard have played in every season since the ASUN began women's lacrosse in 2012-13. Old Dominion joined the league in 2014-15, while Coastal Carolina begins play in ASUN women's lacrosse in 2016-17. Jacksonville and Old Dominion are the only two schools of the 11 to win an ASUN Championship and advance to the NCAA Championship.
The ASUN Conference is a NCAA Division I league with eight member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the ASUN footprint reaches into seven of the top 50 media markets in the nation. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University. The University of North Alabama will join the league for the 2018-19 season bringing the membership total to nine.