It Was Only A Question Of When Hopkins Would Try To Join A Conference
The news that Johns Hopkins would finally say goodbye to its status as a Division I lacrosse independent and pursue affiliation with a conference came as no surprise. It was not a question of if, but when the university would announce its intention to join a league.
It was pretty apparent that, once Hopkins put together an internal committee to study the idea earlier this year, the school was serious about making such a historic move. But this shift has been coming for quite some time.
For the past decade, as the sport has gained so much parity -- thanks to so much growth at the recreation and high school levels, as opposed to such slow growth at the collegiate level -- outside forces have been pushing Hopkins to make this change.
As the automatic qualifiers have increased over the years for NCAA tournament participation, the amount of at-large berths have been slowly shrinking. This year, with eight conference AQs and just eight at-large berths available, the margin of error finally caught up with the Blue Jays, who narrowly avoided missing the NCAAs in 2010.
But in 2013, Hopkins ran out of at-large wiggle room, with a talented team that came up short on the bubble and missed the tournament for the first time since 1971. In the near future, Hopkins will find a conference home and will know that an AQ is a viable option to get the school into the postseason. This move simply had to happen.