RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In their first year of existence, the University of Richmond men's lacrosse team will get a chance for a conference championship, and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The Spiders will join the Atlantic Sun as an affiliate member when the squad begins Division I play in the spring of 2014, the athletic department announced on Monday.
The Atlantic Sun Conference will debut men's lacrosse as an NCAA Division I championship sport in the spring of 2014, adding its third new sport in as many years and the 20th sport overall to its roster.
The A-Sun will coordinate conference competition for the following group of men's lacrosse programs: Jacksonville, Mercer, Furman (affiliate), High Point (affiliate), Richmond (affiliate) and VMI (affiliate). Furman and Richmond will play their inaugural seasons in 2013-14.
The A-Sun becomes the 10th conference in NCAA Division I to sponsor men's lacrosse as a championship sport, joining the America East, Atlantic Coast, Big East, Colonial Athletic Association, ECAC Lacrosse League, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Northeast Conference, and the Patriot League, in addition to a group of independent schools. For the 2012-13 academic year, there are 63 NCAA-sanctioned Division I men's lacrosse teams.
The six teams will play a single round robin schedule, along with the championship to be scheduled in May of 2014. As a multi-sport conference, the A-Sun is immediately eligible for automatic qualification into the NCAA championship. The NCAA Championships Cabinet determines the format for NCAA championships.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun 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 A-Sun footprint reaches into seven of the top media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.