Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has announced the addition of women’s lacrosse as the Conference’s 22nd sport beginning in 2019. The six-team league will be comprised of current conference members University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, East Carolina University and Temple University, as well as the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University as affiliate members.
The American will be the third conference that the Gators have competed in, after spending 2010-2014 in the American Lacrosse Conference and 2015-present in the BIG EAST. Florida is currently riding a streak of seven consecutive conference championships dating back to 2011.
“The American Athletic Conference will be a great new challenge for this program,” said Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary. “We faced a high level of competition in the BIG EAST, and are thrilled to carry that over into The American. We’re very excited to build on the tradition of success we’ve created in the past eight years.”
The American becomes the 16th Division I conference to sponsor women’s lacrosse.
Cincinnati, UConn, Temple, Florida and Vanderbilt are current members of the BIG EAST Conference in women’s lacrosse, while ECU begins its first season of intercollegiate competition in 2018 after the addition of women’s lacrosse to its sports roster in March 2016.
Women’s lacrosse is the first sport addition to the conference since its reinvention in 2013. The American will now sponsor 10 men’s and 12 women’s sports.
The conference will conduct its first women’s lacrosse championship in 2019 at a site and dates still to be determined. The American will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship.
Florida has posted a 21-3 record all-time against teams it will compete against in the American Athletic Conference.
“We are extremely pleased to be adding women’s lacrosse as a conference sport,” Aresco said. “The development of the sport has been impressive over the last decade and its popularity continues to grow. Our decision to sponsor women’s lacrosse will be of great benefit to our membership and will provide our student-athletes with additional competitive opportunities and will enhance our conference’s brand. I also want to take this opportunity to welcome Florida and Vanderbilt as affiliate members. These are two programs which have been highly successful at the national level. I look forward to watching our women’s lacrosse league develop and achieve great success over the next several years.”
THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
The American Athletic Conference (The American), a member of the NCAA, was reconstituted in 2013. With the conference office in Providence, Rhode Island, The American is comprised of the following institutions: UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy (in football only), USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa. Wichita State (basketball and Olympic sports) joined the Conference on July 1, 2017. Under the leadership of Commissioner Mike Aresco, The American sponsors 21 championships – 10 for men and 11 for women; is a member of the College Football Playoff; began new television partnerships with ESPN and CBS Sports in 2014; and has a marketing partnership with IMG College. For more information, please visit www.TheAmerican.org<http://www.TheAmerican.org>.