Radford Adding Division I Women's Lacrosse for 2016
Radford University in Virginia announced Tuesday that it is adding a NCAA Division I women's lacrosse program for the spring 2016 season, and it will play in the Big South Conference.
The addition was announced as part of what the school called "a realignment" of its athletic department. While women's lacrosse is being added, field hockey, swimming and diving, men's indoor track and field, and men's outdoor track and field programs will be eliminated at the conclusion of their 2013-14 seasons.
"[The] assessment involved more than a year of extensive study and strategic analysis which considered many factors, including competitive success, high school and college sports participation rates, and resource requirements," Radford director of athletics Robert Lineburg said in a statement. "The analysis also evaluated the Athletics budget, its ongoing expectations for support, the facilities needs for the entire department, and the costs associated with providing appropriate venues for competition in each sports program."
The Big South sponsored women's lacrosse for the first time in 2012-13. The Roanoke (Va.) Times quoted Lineburg as saying there was a sense of excitement adding women's lacrosse. Virginia Commonwealth will add women's lacrosse for the spring 2016 as well, meaning Radford would be the only NCAA Division I school in Virginia without a women's lacrosse program.
The Times said the university hopes to hire a coach this spring and there was a change the team could play in 2015, but 2016 it the most likely starting season. The plan is to build gradually to nine funded scholarships with 50 percent used the first season, 75 percent the next season and the full 100 percent thereafter. At that point, the lacrosse program is expected to have a roughly $430,000 annual budget.
Campbell, Coastal Carolina, Davidson, High Point, Liberty, Longwood, Pesbyterian and Withrop currently play in the Big South.