University of Utah adds men's lacrosse to list of Division I NCAA Sports in 2019

University of Utah Athletic Director, Chris Hill announces that the University of Utah will add men's lacrosse as a division 1 sport in a news conference at the Spence and Cleone Eccles Center, Friday, June 16, 2017. (Photo by Rick Egan, Salt Lake Tribune)

(KUTV) The University of Utah's men's lacrosse team will join the National Collegiate Athletic Association beginning in the 2018-2019 academic school year.

The university's Board of Trustees approved the decision, and Utah director of athletics Chris Hill made the announcement Friday.

“A lot of research and effort went into our decision to add men’s lacrosse,” said Hill. “With several great club sports expressing an interest in achieving NCAA status, a working committee was formed to determine the parameters for adding a new sport. Among the factors considered were the potential impact on our other teams, financial self sustainability, compliance with Title IX and popularity in our community. Men’s lacrosse met those criteria. It is the first endowed program for University of Utah athletics. Nowadays, adding sports at the college level almost always requires an endowment, which resonated with the University-appointed committee.”

The current lacrosse head coach, Brian Holman, will remain with the team as it transitions. Beginning in 2018, the team will play its home games at Ute Soccer Field and will hold practices on the infield of the McCarthey Family Track & Field Complex.

According to a press release sent by the university Friday, the program will be funded by a $15.6 million anonymous donation. No university or state funds will go toward the program.

The lacrosse season, which is expected to consist of 15 games, will run February through May. Season tickets will go on sale in the spring of 2018.

The current men's lacrosse team will continue to play as a club sport in the 2017-2018 academic school year.

Utah will be the first PAC-12 school with an NCAA men’s lacrosse team and, according to the press release, plans to pursue a conference affiliation for its newest sport.

The last sport Utah added to the NCAA was women's soccer in 1995. With the recent addition of men’s lacrosse, Utah will support eight men’s and 12 women’s NCAA sports.

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