Cleveland, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced today a historic addition to its sports lineup as women's lacrosse will be added beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, increasing the MAC's sponsored championships to 24, which is tied as the fifth-largest of the 32 NCAA Division I Conferences.
The MAC will begin the 2020-21 academic year with five programs competing in women's lacrosse as Akron, Central Michigan and Kent State will be joined by new affiliate members Detroit-Mercy and Youngstown State. The following year Eastern Michigan will add women's lacrosse to increase MAC membership to six teams for the 2021-22 academic year.
"I am pleased our membership is adding the sport of women's lacrosse to our offering of championships. Additionally, I want to welcome Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State as affiliate members," said MAC Commissioner, Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher. "This is truly a historic day as women's lacrosse has been a topic of conversation among our membership."
The addition of women's lacrosse as a Spring sponsored sport continues to enhance the MAC's stature as one of the leading Division I Conferences in the nation. The announcement of the 2020-21 regular season schedule and the postseason MAC Championship format will be announced at a future date.
"The addition of women's lacrosse adds to our already broad offering of championship opportunities for student-athletes. I am already looking forward to the inaugural season," added Steinbrecher.
Youngstown State announced the creation of the women's lacrosse program on Feb. 25, 2019, with the intent on its first season of competition in 2021. In July, former VCU assistant coach and Canisius standout Theresa Walton was named the program's first-ever head coach.
Walton and her staff have been working to recruit student-athletes that will become the first women's lacrosse team in school history when the 2020-21 academic year begins next August. Youngstown State will play it home games at Farmers National Bank Field at the Covelli Sports Complex.
Quote from Youngstown State, Director of Athletics, Ron Strollo:
"We are thrilled to begin our first season of women's lacrosse in 2021 as a member of the Mid-American Conference," said Strollo. "This league is a great fit geographically and we look forward to competing against some great programs. The facilities the schools offer for all of their sports are very impressive. Being part of the MAC in women's lacrosse will be very beneficial to YSU as well as all the other programs."
Quote from Youngstown State, Head Coach, Theresa Walton:
"We are very excited to be able to compete in the Mid-American Conference in our first year. To have a chance to compete for a league championship in our inaugural season will be a big help in our recruiting process and we can structure a non-conference schedule that will prepare us for conference play. Women's lacrosse is growing throughout the region and this will only help continue to grow those opportunities in the Midwest," said Walton.